Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

It all worked our rather well in the end

What a roller coaster ride the Liberal Democrats have enjoyed/suffered over the last nine months! First there was that high of the 62 seats last May- the highest number since the days of Lloyd George. Then came the dog days of not sustaining the momentum, with old Charles not behaving like a leader and the associated whispering campaign by those who thought toper Charles should move over and let someone else take over. Then came the high of the conference and the emergence of the 'Orange Bookists' who favoured a more market led economic strategy. But this did not cause the whispering to cease- rather it increased as now it was clear the party had two factions- especially when Charles was less than up to scratch in the Commons. It all began to go pearshaped then from the autumn onwards with meetings, drama, denials and then finally Kennedy's admission he had a drinking problem and that the demon drink had been given up some time previously- which he naively thought would solve the problem. It didn't.

Next came Charles' resignation- dignified and honest- but still a bit humiliating for the party. Then came the rush to compete for the job. First Oaten came and went- grounded by a rentboy or possibly two. Then Simon Hughes had to own up about his bisexuality. It was delicious for lovers of political gossip and the bloggers had a field day. We waited for more dirt on Ming and this new boy Huhne but sadly, nothing happened. The polls showed the Lib Dems had slumped to the mid teens - but then came Dunfurmline and all of a sudden, the future seemed Orange. Huhne fought a lively campaign and many thought he'd win but the vote in the end saw him fall 8000 votes shy of Ming's total after Simon's second preferences had been distributed.

So where now? Ming in charge of 63 MPs with a new star-and continuing possible rival- born for his front bench plus poll ratings back up to 21. Many experts predict a hung parliament in 2009-10 so Ming might well hold the key to who sits in Number 10. Which party will he swing his votes behind? Labour seems exhausted and on its last legs but somehow I can't see Lib Dem members-on display when the result was announced- agreeing to a coalition with Cameron, however sweet smeling, touchy feely, liberal and lovely he might appear to be. But come the next election day results, the chances are the force will lie with the Magnificent, if 64 year old Ming. Yes, it's all worked out rather well in the end.

Comments:
So it's time for the LibDems to go back to their constituencies and prepare for [a share in] government then is it? Looks rather more like go home and prepare for a major split to me (but I'm probably as guilty of wishful thinking as your post suggests you might be!).....
 
If I'm guilty of wishful thinking then so are a fair number of psephologists and the bookies offering odds on a hung parliament. I would think a split unlikely now a new leader is installed.
 
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