Monday, January 09, 2006

Thinking On...

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.


frvfvsdvdsv said...

Excellent blogging, Cicero.

Any clues as to who Cicero's favoured candidate would be?

yolly said...

If politics is a greasy pole, as Charles Kennedy has sadly discovered, then his obvious successor, Simon Hughes, now needs to seize that pole with a very firm grip.

Hughes is respected in all quarters as decent, compassionate, urbane, witty, intelligent, principled and also vastly experienced.

More to the point, for the future of the Lib Dems, he is hugely popular with the public.

For all his personal qualities, that easy affection which people from all walks of life offer him is the most significant reason why he is the right man to lead them into a share of Government later this year.

After half a generation of a "New Labour" experiment that has ended up looking as clueless and lacklustre as the dying and dreary Conservative administration it replaced, Britain is long overdue the freshness and vitality that has always characterised the bulk of the Liberal Democrat policy canon.

That's why the Lib Dem membership owe it to the country to choose the man whose electability offers them the best chance of a serious role in Government that has beckoned many times but hitherto remained tantalisingly just out of reach.

In short: cometh the hour, cometh Mr Hughes.