Monday, December 03, 2007

Making My Mind Up -

I have a consistent record of supporting unsuccessful candidates in national elections - whether for parliament or for party leadership. I wanted Ted Heath to be Prime Minister twice in 1974, and then switched my allegiance to the yellow rosette for all elections thereafter. I've also managed to support a losing candidate in every Lib Dem leadership election - Beith, Ballard (I used her bathroom once and I liked her) and Huhne.
So basically,my endorsement isn't worth having. But anyway...

My original thoughts on trying to decide how to vote were that I like what Chris Huhne says about policies, but Nick Clegg seems to have more personal warmth. Reading Cicero's blog yesterday has reconfirmed these feelings.

Cicero himself, a Huhne supporter, says:

Certainly Nick Clegg, one-on-one is attractive and charismatic....
....Several people have said to me that "of course Chris can be a bit of a bast*rd sometimes". This is not, however a popularity contest, it is a test of leadership, and an element of ruthlessness is clearly part of the job description.

To which I would say Charles Kennedy was a great leader for us without being a bit of a bast*ard. Maybe I shoudl vote Clegg.

Meanwhile in the comments to that post , Bullseye (a Clegg supporter) writes:

The point is not so much that Chris is a statist, having spoken to him privately at some length I don't believe he is - he is a localist first & foremost. Which is better than nothing but is not the ame as being an 'ideological liberal'

However, what really worries me is that Chris's campaign has pandered so blatantly to the statist tendencies which have so hampered our party. he has run an anti-chice , pro-status quo campaign that says the only reform needed to public services is to devolve them to local authorities.

That's not a liberal revolution that's social democratic managerialism.

To which my reaction is, I'm a localist with a few social democratic tendencies myself.... Maybe I should vote Huhne.

So I'm still unsure.... I'm tipping towards Clegg.For me the final deciding question now is : Which leader will be more effective at increasing our membership? Mmm, I wonder what the membership figures are in each candidates constituency...


Joe Otten said...

Sheffield Hallam is in the 300 to 350 range.

Tristan said...

There's a problem with the current form of localism - its great in as far as it goes, but there's far too big a tendency to see local government as the solution to everything and to see it as empowerment.

Local government is subject to many of the failures of central government, it is unresponsive, remote from many many people and politicians follow their own agenda - especially in safe seats.
It does little to empower the individual, which is the core of liberalism.

Of course, electoral reform, smaller local authorities and other reforms can go some way to address these concerns, but they still don't address the empowerment of the individual.

We have rightly embraced localism, but we need to go further to give individuals more power over their own lives in many areas.

Trevor said...

Mmmm... not sure what the membership figures in each candidates constituency would tell you as they both took over from sitting Liberal Democrat MPs who presumably will have had a significant influence.

Eastleigh won the Penhaligon Award in 2004 but how much credit Chris Huhne (then MEP) can take I have no idea.

Linda Jack said...

If it is about increasing membership and connecting with the electorate it has to be Nick. As a party we are really not at all representative - we need a leader who will increase our appeal to those outside our tent. As my daughter (whose political involvement up to now has only been in the anti war campaign) said last week after the hustings "I felt Chris was speaking to the audience, Nick was speaking to me". Her test was who could she take to talk to her friends living on a deprived estate, not working, thinking Jeremy Kyle could do more for them than politicians.........that person was clearly Nick.

Anonymous said...

Eastleigh membership is currently 365, Sheffield Hallam 359.

I think Linda asks the right question but comes to the wrong answer.

The key question for me is which of them can demonstarted that they can convince the wider electorate.

The only evidence I am aware of on this is the MORI poll data on key issues which shows that under Chris we have increased our standing on the Environment by 6% while under Nick our ratings on Crime have dropped.

Tristan said...

Unfortunately, if we are going to be a principled party, poll data like that doesn't help us.

There has been a big push on the environment, most of this hasn't been Chris speaking to the public (as far as I've seen).
On crime, Nick is being fairly liberal, that doesn't go down well amongst a lot of the public who are fed hang 'em' and flog 'em' by much of the media and the other two parties. Its far more difficult to sell.

Roger Green said...

Apropos of nothing, I've voted 9 times in US Presidential elections and have picked one winner.

Chris expresses his own views on this weblog.

I write this blog in a private capacity , but just in case I mention any elections here is a Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by Ron Oatham, 8 Brixham Close , Rayleigh Essex on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 8 Brixham Close.