Andrew Allison

Archive for the ‘Ming Campbell’ Category

What does the future hold for Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems?

In Blair, Brown, Cameron, Chris Huhne, Conservatives, labour, LibDems, Ming Campbell, Nick Clegg on October 16, 2007 at 4:39 pm

The past two and a half weeks have been the most politically volatile anyone can remember for a long time. The opinion polls are not to be trusted. They are jumping everywhere and yesterday we saw the first casualty of Brown’s ‘non-election.’

Now is a good time to pause and think. This is what the Lib Dems will have to do to make sure their new leader is the right one, and this will give them a problem.

When John Major became Foreign Secretary after the departure of Geoffrey Howe, the country said, ‘John who?’ He was in the cabinet, but the post of Chief Secretary to the Treasury is not a prominent job, but by the time he became Chancellor of the Exchequer a few months later he was a household political name. This gave him the springboard he needed to go for the leadership after Thatcher was pushed out.

Tony Blair was a leading light in the Labour Party long before he became leader. He had made quite a name for himself as Shadow Home Secretary. The electorate – at least those even with a passing interest in politics – knew who he was.

The same can also be said for Ming Campbell. We should not forget his performances in the House of Commons as Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesman. He has a fine grasp of world affairs and he made a name for himself before, during and after the invasion of Iraq.

When it comes to Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg, the same cannot be said of them. They are known to people who are actively involved in politics; but not to the public at large. If you are not well known, you have to be a natural leader, good at getting your point of view across. You have to be able to command a stage. David Cameron wasn’t really known when he became leader of the Conservative Party, but he is proving himself to be strong, cool under fire and has built a very strong team around him who look and sound like ministers; not shadows.

The future of the Liberal Democrats relies on either Huhne or Clegg doing a Cameron. From what I have seen, I don’t think they have it in them. They are both ambitious – which is not a sin – but they don’t stand out from the crowd. For the first time in over ten years the government has real opposition from the Conservative Party. Gordon Brown is right to be worried. What goes through his mind when he looks at his ministers and how they perform, and then looks across at the opposition front bench? Brown has to shoulder the responsibility though.

If he had allowed his ministers more than a few minutes to speak at the party conference, instead of pouring all the attention on his very dull speech, one or two of them may have shone. He didn’t and they didn’t which gave George Osborne, Liam Fox, David Davis, et al, a head start. And they took advantage of this with devastating effect. It was a coming of age for many of the Conservative front bench team and the public can also see that David Cameron isn’t threatened by the talent he has around him; unlike Gordon Brown, who would rather be surrounded by ‘yes’ men. You can see this by his choice of Chancellor of the Exchequer and how he performed last week. We know who is in charge at the Treasury and his name isn’t Alistair Darling.

When all the dust settles and the Lib Dems have their new leader, we will see three party leaders who will lead their respective parties into a general election. David Cameron and his team are the strongest now and I can’t envisage that changing. Gordon Brown’s dithering has cost him dearly and judging by his body language of late, he knows it better than anyone.

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Ming Campbell to resign.

In LibDems, Ming Campbell on October 15, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Sky News is reporting that Sir Menzies Campbell is about to resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

This is not a surprise. It had to come – and this should see a bounce in the fortune of the LibDems. By what I can gather he seems to have been forced out.

More news when I hear it. A formal announcement is due at 6.30pm.

A week is a long time in politics

In Brown, Cameron, Ming Campbell on October 9, 2007 at 6:50 pm

A week is a long time in politics. Just over a week ago the Conservative Party looked dead and buried. We were well behind in every opinion poll and it looked like Gordon Brown would call a snap general election and increase the Labour majority.

Since then George Osborne announced very popular tax measures. The Conservative front bench spokesmen all gave good speeches attacking government policies. Liam Fox gave a blistering attack on Gordon Brown’s visit to Basra when he used out troops as political footballs. David Cameron gave the speech of his life. The Conservatives enjoyed a poll lead in marginal constituencies and then Brown calls off the election. Then today the Chancellor of the Exchequer passes off Conservative policies as his own.

Yes, all of this has happened in just over a week and today the Conservative Party is once again seen as a party of government. Our polices have proven popular and we have the government on the back foot. When asked by a reporter yesterday whether he would have called an election if the polls had predicted a Labour 100-seat majority, he said no. He is either so deluded that he really believes his own spin, or he thinks he can lie his way out of anything and everything.

The Conservative Party needs to keep on going the way it has been for the past week. The Liberal Democrats need a new leader. If Ming Campbell remains in his job they will soon be polling in single figures. In the south of England this meltdown is likely to benefit the Tories and in the north, Labour. This could make the results in marginal constituencies very interesting, but we are going to have to wait at least another 18 months for a general election and LibDem fortunes may – and probably will – improve by then.

I have been critical of David Cameron of late. I have said on my blog I feel duped by him. After his performance last week and the revival of – what I would call – traditional Tory policies, I now feel reassured we are getting back on track and preparing for government. Gordon Brown dithered for too long and missed his opportunity to get another five years. We have to capitalise on that as if our lives depend on it, otherwise we will be out of government for the best part of twenty years.