Monday, January 23, 2006

Gunning 4 Chris

You'll note that I've just put a 'Bloggers4Chris' box up on the blog.

I've blogged at length about why my first and second choices are going to be Chris and Menzies but in summary...

The Lib Dems are portrayed by our opponents as ideologically woolly and not to be trusted on the economy. The other parties are competing on the basis of being the best manager. We need to set ourselves apart and take on our critics by showing that we are 'the ideas party' and that we have a clear and coherent vision of what we want a future liberal Britain to be like.

Chris has excellent credentials both as an economist and also devising some of the party's most innovative and liberal ideas (e.g. the Huhne report). He also has experience as a journalist and can communicate our ideas to the media - a third party is not guaranteed to be listened to by the press.

He's said very sensible things about the fallacy of the endless media debates on our left/right positioning:

"I don't think it's useful to be talking in left/right terms when you are looking at liberal issues where we are very distinct from both the Conservatives and from Labour..."

About avoiding increasing absolute taxation and the environment:

"Of course, if we put green taxes up, other taxes can and should come down."

And about the highly centralised state.

The rest is further down the blog...



  • At 7:01 pm , Anonymous Valerie said...

    While I think Huhne has credentials which will most definitely be an asset to the party in whatever scenario, I still think Ming is some distance ahead when it comes to articulating values and 'instinctive Liberalism'. Chris' Meeting the Challenge speech - which I found a bit disappointing, in view of what I knew about him - did make me worry somewhat about his leadership style; it was slightly shopping-listy, and I wasn't sold on his environmental ideas, which I'd be worried about him imposing.

    Most of all, though, I worry about the size of his majority. I know there are incumbency/leadership bounces, but the prospect of having a leader with a 568 majority keeps me awake at night...

  • At 7:14 pm , Blogger Richard said...

    I don't think it'll be a problem, Valerie. Chris was taking over a seat last time, which meant he had less name recognition. And if winning the leadership won't increase that, then our problems are wider than his majority! ;-)

  • At 7:48 pm , Anonymous Valerie said...

    I know, I know, I know...I just think it's way too great a risk. We can't afford to not *think* it'll be a problem. Yes, there are risks we need to take, but this isn't one of them.

    The Tories are going to see it as an opportunity to pile into Eastleigh - in those circumstances, he might lose his seat whatever goes on nationwide...We need him on the front benches, so I don't even want him to run the risk of losing his seat by making himself particularly open to decapitation.

  • At 9:29 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    valerie - the Tories piled into eastleugh this time to try and stop Chris. It was their third highest spend in the country after Folkestone & Hythe and South West Surrey.

    They blitzed the place with posted leaflets and hammered Chris for a) not being local, b) being a europhile, and c) everything else they threw at us in all the marginals.

    They bussed people in to a far greater degree than we did.

    If Chris could hold the seat in those circumstances, and works the seat in the way Davey, Lamb, Webb etc. do, he is sound as a pound.

  • At 11:44 pm , Anonymous Valerie said...

    So they'll blitz it again, and since they're likely to be riding higher in the polls nationwide next time than last, there's a chance they'll succeed. I'm not saying they will, but the danger's just too great.

    The other thing is that with all the recent events, choosing someone with a 568 majority and eight months in parliament is going to look like panic on our part, when looking panicky is the last thing we need. We have to choose someone who's better-known to the electorate than Chris, otherwise the effect in the minds of the general public will be similar to that when the Tories chose William Hague and we all wondered - who's he?

    (David Cameron wasn't well-known either, but his rise was accompanied by a much heavier and more sustained media focus than we'd be likely to have with Chris.)

  • At 12:14 am , Blogger Nick said...

    On Chris' majority, I read somewhere - maybe in the comments at Quaequam or Political Betting - that the swing against Chris in Eastleigh last year was half the usual average swing against us when a sitting MP stands down. And the leadership effect shouldn't be dismissed - we put a lot into Folkestone this time round only to see Howard's majority go up.

  • At 12:54 am , Anonymous Valerie said...

    Nick - that's good, but the numbers are still very small.

    I can deal with the things that have happened over the last few weeks, but I can't contemplate the idea of deliberately electing a leader who doesn't have at least a safeish seat. Since when has it been normal practice in any party? I like Chris, but there are plenty of others who'd be less of a liability.

  • At 12:56 am , Anonymous yolly said...

    Respectfully, I find it bizarre that anyone thinks that either Chris or Ming, both worthy gentlemen, no doubt, have anything like the popular appeal of Simon in the country.

    Simon is passionate, articulate, and credible. More to the point, he has a distinct and oft-repeated position for the LDs in mind, which should excite and invigorate the party as well.

    Hughes will do best for us at the next election. For that reason above all others we should back him.

  • At 7:02 am , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    We've got a huge media focus at the moment... albeit for the wrong reasons but the tabloid-reading public have heard of at least 1 of our (ex) leadership candidates.

    Simon is probably unknown outside of London. My parents' (who are not Lib Dems and not politicky) knew Menzies. They remembered a Lib Dem talking about foreign affairs during the Iraq War who had a funny name.


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