March 3, 2006


New Lib Dem leader to greet party (BBC, 3/03/06)

New Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell is to make his first appearance in front of his party, a day after his leadership election victory.

Sir Menzies, who has vowed to be more than "a safe pair of hands", will address a rally at the start of the party's spring conference in Harrogate.

The 64-year-old says he is ready to take risks to modernise the party.

Campbell's triumph is a victory for muddle (Daily Telegraph, 03/03/2006)
[S]ir Menzies has an unspun integrity that contrasts well with the slickness we are so used to from Tony Blair, and are becoming used to from David Cameron.

But Sir Menzies also said he would be "courageous". Certainly, his distinctly aged appearance and old-world manner do need leavening with youth. We can expect to see more of the "Orange Book" generation - notably the avowedly modern liberals David Laws and Nick Clegg.

It is heartening that these men profess a belief in localism and free markets. Yet they are swimming against a strong current in their party, and it is unclear if the new leader has the strength, or the inclination, to support them.

His election demonstrates that Sir Menzies commands respect on both wings of the party - which is to say, he represents the terminal muddle that is Liberal Democracy.

His campaign slogan ("fairness, freedom and environmental protection") merely strings together three concepts which, to the Lib Dem mind, militate against each other. In the interests of "fairness", for example, he intimated yesterday that he will vote against the "freedom" enshrined in the current Schools Bill.

An unspun terminally third party is pointless.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2006 7:30 AM
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