No Liberal Democrat can have enjoyed the spectacle of Charles Kennedy's removal. As is often the way, few things became his leadership like the leaving of it: dignified, thoughtful, calm. This contrasted with the rather brutal manner of his defenestration- yet it underlines that Lib Dems are "in it to win it"- and perhaps this might give some of our political opponents some pause in their ill disguised gloating.
The question now is going to be a more open debate about how Liberalism can be advanced. I do not believe that Cameron can continue his attempts to be all things to all men without either alienating many in his party, or making the wider electorate think that he will say anything to be elected. I do believe that the positions of Tory and Labour on a wide range of issues have converged, and that the Liberal ideas of "Peace, Retrenchment and Reform", now mark out a distinctive political voice. The media take on the Liberal policy debates: right-left splits or social vs economic Liberals, misses the point. Political Liberalism provides substantial common ground- localism, political reform, consumer protection, environmental issues, human rights, international law- in huge areas Political Liberalism unites all of the party and is creating a distinctive policy platform. I am excited by the growing intellectual energy of the Liberal Democrats- an energy I do not see at all in any of the alternatives. I relish the coming debates- and I believe that fair minded observers will be pleasantly surprised to see the maturity and breadth of our ideas.