Sunday, January 22, 2006

"Don't Turn Your Back on the Liberals"

Mark Oaten, who just two weeks ago was a candidate for the leadership of the UK Liberal party, resigned following his acknowledgement of a newspaper story that he had an affair with a "rent boy".

This is all in the tradition of the UK Liberal Party. Many years ago, Jeremy Thorpe was a charismatic leader of the party and he too had an affair with a rent boy. But he was smart, he hired someone to kill him. They took the boy and his dog out on the moorlands and shot the dog, but missed the boy. The boy sued and Thorpe was in court.

At the very time this was happening a massive poster campaign ran throughout Britain. The poster said "Don't Turn Your Back on the Liberals" - a gift to all comedians, especially the late Dave Allen...who added "especially if you are a young boy walking around Kings Cross late at night!".

The leadership election has been caused by the resignation of Charles Kennedy, the best leader they have had in many a year. He resigned due to the impact his drinking was having on his ability to lead. Sometimes he didn't show up. Sometimes, when he did people wished he hadn't. Sometimes the drink really helped him give outstanding speeches, such as his admission that he had a drink problem.

The front runner is Sir Menzies Campbell - another Scottish MP (Kennedy was Scottish, Joe Grimmond who was also a leader many years ago was Scottish). A genial old buffer, he is as unlikely to want to bugger a young boy as he is to get drunk with some ladies of the night. Boring, dull and a safe pair of hands who will confidently lose many of the seats Charles Kennedy successfully helped to win since 1999.

The real choice is Simon Hughes. He doesn't have the kind of support amongst his peers that is needed to win. The reason: he is a gifted, natural leader. So this leaves those who aren't jealous.

There is another candidate. His name is Chris Huhne. A brand new MP, elected at the last general election in May 2005. A fellow journalist, he is more boring than Sir all he is doing is positioning himself for status within the party.

I hope they do the right thing by Charles Kennedy - a peerage (a knighthood certainly) and a significant strategy role. Oh, and a bottle of Scotch..

1 comment:

Stephen Murgatroyd said...

Since I wrote this, Simon Hughes has admitted that he had homsexual relationships some years ago - something he has repeatedly denied. The Liberal Party is in free-fall.