Thursday, March 02, 2006

And the winner is...

A safe choice in the election of Sir Menzies Campbell as leader of the Lib Dems today. I think it's an interesting choice by the party members, and I wonder how much of the selection is based on a desire to have a leader unlike the other two. That being said, Campbell has proved himself plenty of times with his consistence views on Iraq and ID cards, surely things which have appealed to the electorate. He may not set the sky alight, but I'm sure it will be a good move for the party, at least in the short term in order to capitalise as soon as possible on the good election results and the need to pick up the pieces after the election.

He has already gone on record as saying that he will take risks in his party leadership though. I'm guessing he has to say this considering his age (which shouldn't be an issue, but it is), but if it is more than just expediency, Campbell could really move the party in the right direction. He does have the experience, he does have party trust, and he will give Cameron and Blair a hard time over the big issues.

The spring conference this weekend will surely tell us more. I'll see what Campbell has in store then, and see how well he manages to stick to this over the coming months. Again, action not words will be the true test, although considering Campbell said this himself on Spotlight (South West BBC news) tonight, I think he realises this and will hopefully distance himself from Labour and the Conservatives in doing his best to deliver it.


Toque said...

Excellent, a Lib Dem leader that is on record as supporting an English constitutional convention. I look forward to the upcoming policy briefings on this.

jonn said...

I'm not convinced that picking Campbell is that smart a move: he's the nice, cuddly consensus candidate who says the things Liberals like to hear but won't ever really go on the attack. He he, in some ways, just a more sober, older version of Charles Kennedy: I don't see the party actually sorting out what it stands for and getting rid of the "all things to all men" problem with him in charge.

Also, age could be a factor. I wasted a chunk of today trying to work out which counted for more in British politics, youth or experience. The results weren't particularly surprising... but they don't bode well for a party leader with neither youthful dynamism or governmental experience on his side.

(Yes, that was an entirely shameless act of self-promotion. But I told Matt about the Guardian thing so it's allowed, okay?)