I am encouraged by some of the comments that people have been expressing about my early thoughts about the UK Liberal Democrats, post the Euro-massacre. I am rather less than encouraged by those self-indulgent folk who have decreed that the Liberal Democrats problems can be solved by an early change of leadership. Especially since it is self-evidently not the case.
I say self-indulgent because, actually, I think Nick Clegg has actually come very close to quitting. I think he has taken this defeat extremely personally. I would like to ask those who are open enough to front the #libdems4change what they hell they think they are going to gain by replacing Clegg with Cable?
Its not as if we have not been here before. The short-run sugar hit of the attention of a leadership change would soon lead to the media doing to Vince what they did to Ming Campbell under unfortunately similar circumstances. Change must come in time, but it has to be measured and intelligent, not the force majeure that allegedly perennial rent-a-critic Matthew Oakeshott and John Hemming seem to think is required. Incidentally, Hemming has clearly not consulted with Parliamentary colleagues, who would tell him in no uncertain terms that he is making a complete balls up of things.
So Clegg is safe, and probably rightly so.
The problem is that this is now a very difficult chess game, and making decisions in the heat of the moment will bring about precisely the massacre that the #libdems4change say they want to avoid. The fault is in the image of the party at least as much as the image of the leader. So I earnestly entreat my friends and colleagues across the party to take a time out and reflect about the faults of the party as a whole and how we can re-establish our message based on our core values, rather than the tactics of short-run policy making or stabbing Nick Clegg in the back.
This is about portraying our values, creating trust, remaining true to Liberalism.
It is not about the media narrative of leadership crisis, treachery and party splits.
So enough already, or we will be headed back to our constituencies and preparing for unemployment and a Britain which will be massively worse off as Liberalism is eclipsed for who knows how long.