Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chris Huhne poised to stand

Chris Huhne definitely appears to be about to declare. I recall him speaking at the Oxford Young European Society but it was several years ago now (my first year at Oxford and I'm now writing up a thesis at Bristol) so I don't recall much about him except his steel-grey hair. Definitely requires some more investigation but I like what I hear, although since Menzies will be known far more amongst the armchair members I think Chris is probably a second preference.

He's supported by Stephen Williams (our MP in Bristol West) and his campaign is being run by David Howarth (MP for Cambridge). I've encountered David Howarth quite a bit and from what I've seen I have a great deal of respect for him; he also seems to have a memorable taste in one-liners, e.g. from the CULD beginning-of-term rally "A state in which its police get all the powers they ask for is... a police state!"



  • At 9:57 am , Blogger Richard said...


    I quite agree that Chris Huhne is the man to watch, and I'll be giving him first preference. Menzies would be an excellent leader, but I think Chris genuinely has an edge on economic and environmental issues that entitle him to his own shot at the leadership.

    Hope you're well!


  • At 10:34 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I would... but I'm currently a bit worried that Chris splits the Menzies vote and we end up with Mark Oaten. If I start having the feeling that Chris Huhne is the Lib Dem's Cameron (with Menzies as its David Davis) then I'll probably give Chris my first preference.

    Nick is still young so I guess we'll have an excellent post-Chris leader in the wings :)

  • At 11:53 am , Blogger Richard said...

    Huhne for a decade, followed by Clegg. Sounds great to me. :)

    Vote splitting can't be a problem under our electoral rules, as I understand them, can it?

  • At 12:14 pm , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I admit to not really understanding STV TBH :#/

    I'm hoping Jon (who volunteered to co-blog with me) will pop up in due course and that whilst he's there he might be able to say something intelligent about this since he's counted STV elections.

    Alternatively, if Will "no geek is an island" Howells is reading this he knows more about it than I do.

    I think that after the first round the candidate with the lowest score drops out and their second preferences are redistributed... unless one candidate goes over quota and none of the others do. This carries on until one candidate goes over quota. Thus, it depends on who is likely to drop out first, where their votes redistribute to and whether anyone has a major advantage. I think first out is going to be either Huhne or Oaten (unless Huhne does a Cameron and rapidly improves his profile). If I'm correct and I vote Huhne first and one of Oaten or Hughes goes over quota then there will be no redistribution of second preferences. If I vote Menzies first then I don't help Huhne but I could help Menzies go over quota first round... I think...

  • At 12:14 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hi there Viviene,
    It's been a long time - hope you are keeping well. I was wondering if you could reiterate for me why you're so worried about Mark Oaten. I'm still floating, but I think Ming, Mark or Chris would all be good for the party.

    Anthony Fairclough

  • At 12:18 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    On splitting votes, with STV I guess Chris could split the Menzies first preference votes - this could be important as Viviene says, if someone else goes over quota in the first round. As the quota is 50% this is quite unlikely to happen in the first round of an election with 3 or 4 decent/serious candidates. If Chris gets the fewest first prefs, then any second prefs from him will be counted when he's eliminated. So voting Chris first and Ming second should be okay . . .

  • At 12:48 pm , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    Ok, several things:

    a) He doesn't seem like a 'gut' liberal (as per my post)

    b) He doesn't seem like an intellectual liberal either (as demonstrated by his coming late to ideology and reinforced by the albeit-to-pedants-only-gaffes in his declaration speech)

    These things are a problem because as a party we're regarded as being the dumping ground for discontents from the other two parties but without any real ideology of our own. Given the other parties are very 'style-over-substance' I think we need a leader who can communicate an alternative vision of the Britain they'd like to see. I think there are MPs far more suited to doing this in the party (e.g. Huhne or Nick Clegg).

  • At 1:12 pm , Blogger yolly said...

    If politics is a greasy pole, as Charles Kennedy has sadly discovered, then his obvious successor, Simon Hughes, now needs to seize that pole with a very firm grip.

    Hughes is respected in all quarters as decent, compassionate, urbane, witty, intelligent, principled and also vastly experienced.

    More to the point, for the future of the Lib Dems, he is hugely popular with the public.

    For all his personal qualities, that easy affection which people from all walks of life offer him is the most significant reason why he is the right man to lead them into a share of Government later this year.

    After half a generation of a "New Labour" experiment that has ended up looking as clueless and lacklustre as the dying and dreary Conservative administration it replaced, Britain is long overdue the freshness and vitality that has always characterised the bulk of the Liberal Democrat policy canon.

    That's why the Lib Dem membership owe it to the country to choose the man whose electability offers them the best chance of a serious role in Government that has beckoned many times but hitherto remained tantalisingly just out of reach.

    In short: cometh the hour, cometh Mr Hughes.

  • At 3:04 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hate to say this, but Mr Hughes' 'electability' didn't help him in the London Mayoral elections, did it?

  • At 11:37 pm , Anonymous Alex said...

    Will bloody 'Yolly' stop jeopardising Hughes' campaign by posting the same comment on every Lib Dem blog? Spam's not going to persuade anyone.

  • At 11:44 pm , Blogger MatGB said...

    Vivienne, there is no chance of a vote split in a one winner only AV election.

    If one candidate gets over half the votes, they win, if they don't, then the lowest is dropped and redistributed. So if you vote for Huhne and Oaten or Hughes goes over quota, they would have won anyway as they've got 50%.

    Alternately, if you think not voting Ming would deny him 50%, also not a problem, as your vote goes to him 2nd or 3rd, the only way he doesn't get in is if someone else goes over.

    Vote with your heart first, a bit of both second, and brain 3rd. I've run and counted enough elections using preferential ballots to know that one.

    My only decision is whether to respond to Rennard's email and rejoin before the 25th. Reading the blogs is at least giving me a much better perspective on the candidates than when I voted for Kennedy.


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