Sunday, March 12, 2006

If there were ever a candidate for 'traitor of the week'

The Liberal Democrats will continue to be a heterogeneous group who confound the expectations of stupid Grauniad writers after Menzies Campbell was elected leader, beating both Chris Huhne AND Simon Hughes.

The votes of non-active members who hadn't had time to get to know Chris H. but had seen Menzies on the TV allowed the 64-year-old acting leader to secure 29,697 (58%) of the votes ahead of Mr Huhne's 21,628 (42%).

But his promise to modernise the Lib Dems and make them "the party of ideas and innovation" raised the spectre of a shift to 'the right' in the Grauniad offices and sent them looking for some disaffected party members. They found that some people someplace for reasons unknown were trying to remove a... debate on the Royal Mail from the agenda of the spring conference in Harrogate.

Gordon Brown's jibe - that the party had been in search of a leader, and now the leader was in search of a party... was a complete load of balderdash that fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the Lib Dems.

Many of those backing Sir Menzies are from the economically liberal Orange Book wing whereas Chris Huhne whom the 'activists' supported was actually from the Orange Book wing himself. Simon Hughes, who was the allegedly 'left-wing' candidate was roundly trounced... but why let the facts get in the way of a good story.

They [the Orange Bookers] have been getting the party to think more radically about issues such as public service provision and the environment for some time and, in fact, the Libs policy on green taxation and cap and trade is derived from Susan Kramer's chapter in the Orange Book.

"Let me make it clear now that caution and consolidation will not do," the new leader warned colleagues who had gathered at Westminster to hear the results. "A safe pair of hands, yes, but ready to take risks, ready to challenge orthodoxy and ready to challenge the party too."

All Lib Dem policy is made at the party's twice yearly conferences. All leaders can do is encourage activists to back change [paragraph included because at least the first line is unquestionably correct].

[The] motion - which [called] for the sale of almost half the Royal Mail to shareholders - [was] seen as a move to the right by Tony Greaves. Critics say it [would] provoke furious debate about the details, as a similar proposal did at the autumn conference because people felt it wasn't thought through carefully enough at that time.

After some searching for someone who could back up the Grauniad's story about Lib Dems moving to the right (if the Libs moved to the right everytime the Grauniad thought they were then they'd be acquiring plaudits from the Ayn Rand appreciation society by now), the Grauniad writers realised they'd have to go to press soon and were running out of time. So they went looking for Tony Greaves who they knew would back up their story. In fact, he'd probably think the Libs were moving to the right if Menzies wanted to organise the UK public into agricultural collectives and called people 'comrade liberal'.

"It's very much a first step for the Orange Bookers," said Lord Greaves, described as a veteran activist but actually a member of the House of Lords. It's the Lord bit that gives it away. This does make him a veteran activist... so long as the Grauniad starts acknowledging that great veteran activist, Sir Menzies Campbell "There's a suspicion that under Ming's leadership they will be promoted to high places." he said, confirming that he'd been living on Mars for the past few years since there have been Orange Bookers in the Shadow cabinet for a while. "The word 'modernisation' in British politics means the Blairite agenda." Confirming he'd picked up some of the local culture whilst there.

But Norman Lamb, the trade and industry spokesman, insisted the motion would save thousands of post offices and said the party needed a policy on a service in crisis... Blah... Blah... Blah... In ChampagneTrot-land there aren't local post offices so it's understandable that the Grauniad writer in question had never seen a Focus and claimed that as well as discussing saving post offices... Sir Menzies [also] focused on core Lib Dem issues...

His predecessor Charles Kennedy, who pledged his full backing, said something that contradicted the rest of the article: "I think the centre of gravity of the party, philosophically and politically, is very clear. I don't think that is going to change much at all."

[Slightly belated... but I couldn't resist... and so much more amusing now I've attended the debate and seen the outcome]


  • At 12:02 pm , Blogger Joe Taylor said...

    I think it's marvellous watching Grauniad readers and columnists quiver with injustice about Iraq, only to realise their mob were the ones that did it...

    It's funny, really - Labour were a party without a paper, and now the Grauniad is a paper without a party! ;-)

  • At 1:45 pm , Blogger Linda Jack said...

    Interesting piece, great art! But I am still puzzling about the point you are making?

  • At 2:41 pm , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I was trying to fisk the Grauniad article :#/

    Not sure the best way of going about this. Quoting and commenting seems clumsy so I've taken to copying the article and then rewriting it inserting snarky comments.

    This obviously doesn't work too well and I'll need to rethink :#/ Wrists duly slapped :#/

  • At 1:47 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    No! The format was good. The entry was hilarious.

  • At 1:48 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    ""The word 'modernisation' in British politics means the Blairite agenda." Confirming he'd picked up some of the local culture whilst there." literally made me 'laugh out loud'.


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