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(News/Politics) LibDem Leadership

Kennedy Told To Improve or Resign (BBC News Online; Tuesday 13th December 2005)

Strangely enough I was having a conversation with Delphine earlier this evening along very similiar lines.

Now that the Tories have got David Cameron as their ledaer and Gordon brown is likely to be the Labour leader by the next General Elecrtion I think the LibDems are going to be in a bit of trouble. Especially if Charles Kennedy remains as there leader. The only problem is finding someone charismatic and forceful enough to take the reigns and move the party forward.

Cameron will attract a lot of people back to the Conservative party and added to that will be the continued negative feeling towards the Labour party - not least because of Blair - but also just because they will have been in government for so long that people will start wanting a change. When Labour came to power anyone could have been leading the party as Britain had just 'had enough' of the Tories. It just happened to be a young, charismatic leader called Tony Blair. The same will soon be true of Labours exit. People will have just 'had enough' of this government and its policies. Having the Tories run by a 'young, charismatic' leader is just a bonus and will attract a lot of voters, especially if the Tories policies start moving into the centre ground too.

Brown will also win back some support to the Labour party that has drifted over to the LibDems. He will be a change from Blair and a number of people who've moved to the LibDems have partially done so because of their dislike for Blair in particular.

These two things ARE going to pose problems to not least the growth of LibDem MPs ion the next Parliament but more worryingly keeping the number they have already there.

This last General Election was a time when the LibDems could really have stamped their mark firmly on British Politics. Sure, they did good. They are the strongest third party Britain has seen since 1921 near the start of the Labour movement. But with the anti-War/anti-Blair/anti-Tory feeling they could, and should, have done a lot better. Kennedy has been a good leader but he is not the man to take the party yet another step further up the political ladder. Sure he can be very charismatic if you meet him personally (so I've been told) but little of that really comes over in interviews and reports. I wish we still had Paddy Ashdown personally. I've no idea who in the party could replace Charles Kennedy at the moment. The 'Big Two' name sin the pot would be Simon Hughes (who I find immensely grey - always have done - he just strikes me as dull although I know he can be very witty - but perception and image unfortunately count a lot these days with the voting public) and Sir Menzies Campbell who in my mind is one of the best MP's in the whole Parliament. The only problem with Sir Campbell is that he is getting on in years (he's currently 64). I'd love to see him as a 'stop-gap' leader whilst the party looks for someone younger and as charismatic as him but I can't see that really happening.

Anyway, all speculation as Kennedy hasn't made any signal he'll be stepping down at any point soon, despite grumblings within not only parts of the party but also his own Front Bench.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
angusabranson
Dec. 14th, 2005 12:32 am (UTC)
The UK parliament currently has ten different parties represented in it plus two Independent MPs.

The main three are Labour (356 Seats), Conservatives (aka Tories - 198 Seats) and the Liberal Democrats (aka LibDems - 62 Seats). Most of the other parties are regional parties based in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales and make up a total of 30 Seats.

The Conservatives and the Liberals used to be the major players until the early 1920's when the Labour Party was formed and soon took the Liberals place as one of the 'Big Two'. For decades the Liberals were in the political wilderness with only a handful of seats at best but in the last 10-20 years they have really managed to build themselves up into the position of a very viable alternative third party.

I agree that a multi-party system - with atleast three strong parties - is much better than a two-party one. Only problem we have is that alot of the Labour policies (traditionally left-wing) have become more centre right in the last decade which has pushed the Conservatives (traditionally right-wing) further to the right. Now under the new Conservative leader they sound like they'll be moving more central again which basically means the two big guns are going to be arguing over what will essentially be the same thing.

This may open the way for the LibDems (trandionally the centralist party but these days more centre left) but they will need a strong leader to do so.
mrmmarc
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:16 am (UTC)
Mind you- as someone pointed out- last election the policies of the three main parties were SO close it was terrifying.
As I said above- the Tories will be making all the headlines in the next few years as ameron will try and take 'em more centre and the local party will fight it.
Modernisers v the traditionalists.
They should hire Kinnock!
exmoor_cat
Dec. 13th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC)
I still think his office staff need a big slapping for being so complacent during the tory leadership election.
mrmmarc
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:13 am (UTC)
Me? I am seriously NOT convinced Cameron is enough to win back the Tories the votes they need.
Many in Conservative ranks are still worried- on the grounds that if he FAILS to make an impact the Tories are truely and utterly screwed!
Poll's have the Tories very high- but polls have had the Tories high often during NON-ELECTION years. In the end Cameron has to put out at election time or go the way of the other FOUR Tory leaders who Blair and Co has seen off.

Tory policies CANNOT move to the centre. Cameron only got elected on a mandate of being ANTI-Europe (hence the pull out of the main centre-right faction in the EP); many moderate Tories are unhappy and word is that several will defect to Labour if Cameron pursues this line (if he doesn't of course the Tories lose votes to the UKIP etc).
The fundamental issue remains- MOST of the Tory party remains firmly to the right. Cameron will have to do a whole 'New Labour' purge of the Tories to have them really compete with Labour- and if that's the case, then he won't take office the same way Kinnock didn't but Blair did. It will take YEARS (he's started I notice- the new rule for many more female candidates- which is VERY unpopular in local Conservative HQ's... the Tory party has voted in four no hopers in a row; unless he can turn them around Cemeron will look cool, but his party will tear themselves apart.

The 'we're bored of Tony' factor won't materialise as it seems Brown has managed to maintain quite a bit of respect- and Cameron's main job right now is to a- create some policies for the Tories which voters will like (voters are automatically ignoring Tory views- hence why he started by calling for 'consensus'- Tory policies are just ignored by the voters, so he's agreeing with Labour ones); and b- prove he is up to the fight with Brown- who is a huge political figure whose ready, waiting and more than able to take out Cameron.

Kennedy DID screw up last election- put too much faith in the 'anti-war' stance. It was NOT the issue folks thought it would be. Kennedy focused on grabbing Labour votes- he should have gone after moderate Tories.
He screwed up last election. Big time. The brakthrough never came. It will be at least two elections before they get another such chance.

Lets face it- Labour has not won because their policies were universally popular. They won because their political foes have been seriously disorganised.
(Deleted comment)
mrmmarc
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
Ian Paisley?
:)
mrmmarc
Dec. 14th, 2005 04:44 pm (UTC)
Hmmmmn.
VERY interesting:
http://blogs.bbc.co.uk/nickrobinson/
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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