Skip to main content

Decisions, Decisions

I am quite upbeat about the choice that faces the Liberal Democrats this leadership election. I am also pleasantly impressed with the choices on offer for the European Parliament candidates list and more provincially,the Mayor and Assembly for London.

Talented, successful, interesting people.

As for the leadership:

Chris Huhne is a successful businessman with a brain. As an economics journalist he was an insightful commentator for The Independent. The way that he set up what has become Fitch IBCA- the rating agency- reveals a clear business brain. He is internationally aware- in addition to having been a MEP, his wife is Greek. He is also thoughtful about the issue of Land tax, which I believe is an area that merits substantial investigation by our policy wonks. Chris has been highly impressive in promoting the green agenda inside the Party and outside.

His downsides? Well, relatively small. Arguably his name Chris Who-he? would probably be the joke of the cartoonists and his slightly grey appearance. The only really substantive issues seem to be that he can be abrasive and appear arrogant, but I do not think that these are necessarily disadvantages in a politician, but Chris is certainly not a "lovable" figure. Some have said that Eastleigh is a tricky seat to defend, but to be honest I think that this is a certain amount of wishful talk from Conservatives. They argue that while Labour would find Huhne more to their taste, Conservatives would not be attracted to Huhne- obvious nonsense but which could become conventional wisdom.

Nick Clegg is a high flying civil servant who came to the Liberal Democrats on a point of principle. He has both a high IQ and a high EQ- and this wins him substantial personal loyalty. He comes from a cosmopolitan and international background- Russian and Dutch family and a a Spanish wife mean Nick famously speaks five languages. As Home affairs spokesman he put forward a genuinely Liberal agenda for immigration in a way that will deliver the best outcome for our country. Though the Express and Mail chose only to focus on the amnesty for some illegals, in fact it was a masterly exposition of principled policy that I particularly applaud.

His downsides? Well, probably and paradoxically, the fact that he is reasonably attractive and relatively young. The cartoonists will probably try to label him as "Cameron lite". The fact that so many figures in the rather sheltered elite of the party have rallied to try to crown him king also makes me slightly uneasy. His constituency is safer, and some have said that he wins in the North but appeals to the South. However, though I will happily take support from any of the other parties, in my opinion, we need to make a stronger effort to increase the gains we make from Labour, while of course continuing our progress against the Tories. Can Clegg deliver?

So, I am genuinely undecided, but impressed with both candidates- indeed delighted.

Nevertheless, I will wait to see the substance from both camps before I commit to either.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hedging elegantly as ever!

MW
Bishop Hill said…
Are either of them liberals?
Anonymous said…
Bishop Hill, define "liberal".
Bishop Hill said…
The "classical" definition.
No Bishop they don't live in the 19th century
Bishop Hill said…
They're statists then?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Cicero ReDux

By Special Request of Baroness Scott and Mark Valladares... Cicero's Songs returns: bigger, longer and uncut.
October 1st marked the half way point of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union.  Perhaps for many people such an anniversary is of passing interest at best.  Yet the conduct of the Estonian Presidency is reinforcing just how forward looking and innovative the most northerly of the Baltic States has become.
Estonia is a country that wants to live in the future, and with its openness and innovation, that future seems a lot closer than almost anywhere else in Europe
It is not that Estonia does not “do” the past: the picturesque cobbled streets of old Tallinn have tourist crowds a-plenty enjoying the mediaeval architecture in an Indian summer of sunshine and blue skies.  The real point is that Estonia refuses to be a prisoner of its past. Lennart Meri, Estonia’s President in the 1990s- who spent years of his childhood in Siberia- once told me that the country had to conc…

The American National nightmare becomes a global nightmare

It is a basic contention of this blog that Donald J Trump is not fit for office.

A crooked real estate developer with a dubious past and highly questionable finances. he has systematically lied his way into financial or other advantage. His personal qualities include vulgarity, sexual assault allegations and fraudulent statements on almost every subject. 

He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes.

He has, of course, been under criminal investigation practically since before he took the oath of office. The indictment of some of closest advisers is just the beginning. His track record suggests that in due course there is no action he will not take, whether illegal or unconstitutional in order to derail his own inevitable impeachment and the indictments that must surely follow the successful investigation of Robert Mueller into his connections with Russia.

However, all of that is a matter for the American people. 

It is also a matter for the American people that Trump is cheating…

In praise of off-shore tax havens

The last few years has seen a spate of "scandals" about the use of off-shore tax havens. The hacking and subsequent leaking of data about who does and does not hold assets in off-shore jurisdictions has become an old perennial in the British press, rather like the "COLD weather happens in winter and QUITE HOT weather happens in summer", whose alarmist capital letter laced headlines are such a lazy part of contemporary "journalism". 

The increasing sophistication of the hackers, whether Russian-inspired or not, has resulted in a steady trickle of information becoming a torrent. After the relatively filleted release of data in the so-called "Panama Papers", the data release of the "Paradise Papers" is even larger.  Of course, just natural curiosity dictates that the off-shore ownership, or even just "ownership", of assets is of general public interest.  Celebrities, from the Royal family to the cast of Mrs Brown's Boys, are …