Tuesday, December 18, 2007

LibDems vote for a calamity ... just!

The 511 vote margin of victory for Nick Clegg in today's LibDem Leadership vote will no doubt occupy vast reams of blog pages, so I will just stick to a few key points.

Firstly, just over 40,000 people voted - down on those that turned out to elect Sir Ming and a worrying sign for the membership of the LibDems generally.

Secondly the slim margin of victory may cause a headache for Clegg everytime he has a party showdown. He actually got, if you include spoilt ballot papers and those with the inevitable Cable write-ins, less than 50% of the vote. No prize to the first LibDem to throw that back at him when me makes an unpopular decision.

Thirdly, the LibDems will now have a leader for whom the word "calamity" will forever be linked. Again, no prizes for the first use of that at PMQs, Question Time etc. It's a tag he won't be able to shift.

Lastly is the problem with what to do with Huhne. Chris must be gutted ; but the frontbench reshuffle would be easier if it were Huhne shuffling Nick (remaining as Home Affairs Spokesman is a no-brianer) but less easy to know what Nick should do with Chris. Sticking at Environment plays down his important and the fact he was a handful of votes away from being party leader, but can he have somebody who personally dislikes him so much in one of the key jobs? Vince is guaranteed Deputy Leadership and the Treasury. What can Nick do that doesn't look bad?

I always said - to some derision - that the Tories would fear Huhne more and I stick by that. This is the wrong decision for the LibDems and, as so, Cameron must be laughing tonight. Huhne was capable of leading them forward in terms of media and intellectually. Lightweight Clegg - Calamity Man - hasn't had a good leadership contest.

So well done, Mr Clegg. We all look forward, with interest, to what you do now.


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe they've voted for Clegg. The same reasons I could never vote for Cameron apply to Clegg. Labour are useless so it'll have to be that nice young greenies for me next time!

Anonymous said...

The chances of me voting Lib Dem with Campbell was zero percent. I am now twice as likely to vote for them with Clegg.