Sunday, March 05, 2006

Menzies tells Lib Dems "I'm a little teapot"...

... or you can add your own caption.

My general impressions of Menzies speech were that he was very clear and succinct on each point, very statesmanlike and in charge of his material. He could have done to be five to ten minutes shorter but overly long speech-making is a common hazard of politics.

The speech didn't say anything new or unexpected. It didn't strike out a radically different direction for the party. Interestingly, it didn't seem aimed at the press - more 'stroking' the audience by hitting all the issues that really get Lib activists going. After he'd done the obligatory 'Charles Kennedy was the daddy, I love the other leadership contenders lots and lots and we won in Dumfermline - NEERRRRR' and insulted Cameron (always popular), he rattled on about civil liberties for so long that I thought that was all he was going to talk about. It wasn't - he went through through a shopping list of issues from social justice to Europe to democratic reform. All very much activist-tickling - one of the better ways of bringing a group of Libs to a state of near-orgasmic excitement is shouting 'proportional representation' in a crowded room.

My only major concern with the speech was this line:

Over the next 6 months, and before we meet again in Brighton, I intend to set out in more detail key challenges and policy directions on the major issues of British politics

We already have quite a lot of perfectly good policy so I'm not sure what he's intending here.

After the dangers of speech-induced repetitive strain injury (nearly every line break in Menzies pre-release speech was an opportunity for at least 1 minute of applause), my final challenge was avoiding being crushed to death whilst getting onto the homeward train. The platform was absolutely packed with departing Lib Dems including some of our parliamentarians and I wasn't entirely sure that we were all going to get onto the incoming train without anyone suffering serious injury. I was imagining the headlines "Frenzied Lib Dems whipped up by Menzies trample Lib Dem MPs" or (the Mail headline) "Lib Dem yobbos in Harrogate platform brawl". I'm delighted to say that my fears were unfounded...


  • At 9:14 pm , Blogger John Locke's Ghost said...

    Well, give him a chance. There is always room for improvements, and you don't know yet how good new policies he might come up with.

  • At 9:29 pm , Blogger Joe Taylor said...

    "You have to be at least this tall to be leader of the Lib Dems?"

  • At 10:39 pm , Blogger James said...

    The saddest thing about that photo is that I can recognise so many people just from the back of their heads. Right to left, the second row is clearly Norman Lamb, Navnit Dholakia and Ann Dholakia.


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