miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I wasn't going to blog about the whole leadership thing, because what good would it do? I am desperately, desperately sad that the party's response to our disastrous showing in the recent elections has been to turn inwards and fight each other, but it's not like I can't recognise the symptoms of self-harm, and I realise that trying to tell a self-harmer to stop doesn't make a lick of difference if you can't do something to stop the pain that self-harm is a response to.

So why did I decide to blog about it after all? Because Matthew Oakeshott has fallen on his sword, and the mainstream media* have leapt to the conclusion that the leadership crisis is now over.

There's a few inconvenient facts that fly in the face of that conclusion:
  1. Oakeshott going does not stop the various local parties who have already scheduled EGMs under 10.2(f) from having those meetings. I am aware of nine, so far**. That's nine local parties who have actually scheduled EGMs. I have heard rumours of many, many more who might be doing so. This is way more serious than some bloke who nobody took seriously anyway wasting money on some polling.

  2. LDs4Change may have views coincidental with Oakeshott's - and they may have gone about things in a similarly half-arsed, stupid, and unconstitutional way to the methods he uses - but that does not mean that they are, or were, run by him; or that because he is gone, they are gone. As Nick Barlow said on twitter: LDs do not need an agent provocateur to be angry with the leadership***.

  3. Oakeshott going does not solve the quite legitimate concerns that many have about Clegg's leadership. If anything, it makes Clegg feel vindicated, makes him dig his heels in, and thus makes change from his various problematic positions less likely.

If the party is to survive this without being seriously damaged, this boil needs lancing, and it needs lancing NOW before things get even more pus-filled and manky. And I can only see one way for that to happen. Clegg needs to call a leadership election himself, and then stand in it. Do the John Major option. Tell the party to back him or sack him. If the recent poll for Lib Dem Voice is accurate then the party will back him and all this will go away. If the poll's not accurate then all this, and Clegg, will go away.

Either way, we cannot afford to let this fester for much longer. The poison is seeping into all sorts of places, and I, for one, do not wish to see people I love tearing each other apart any longer.



* and several of Clegg's more ardent supporters...
** although only Cambridge have announced it publicly.
*** and lets face it, even those who agree with Oakeshott think he's a prize arse who nobody listens to, and who is the kiss of death for any campaign he gets involved in.

Date: Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 02:22 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
Agreed. Of course, Major was a lot more confident because he knew all his electorate personally, but it's still the most sensible suggestion. I've been trying very hard to stay out of the public discussion, because it is not helping, on either side, but this autoimmune disease tearing up the party needs to stop one way or the other. I have opinions as to *which* way it should stop, but those aren't as important as that the issue be settled as quickly and decisively as possible.

Date: Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 02:42 pm (UTC)
sir_guinglain: (UKPolitics)
From: [personal profile] sir_guinglain
I'm glad that Oakeshott is gone; he has been a poisonous presence for some time, and has not done his friends any favours. Not sure about the idea of a Clegg-called leadership election, though; its 1990s Conservative parallel enabled John Major to repress grumblers rather than extinguish them.

Date: Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC)
sir_guinglain: (UKPolitics)
From: [personal profile] sir_guinglain
I wonder if it might be better to have one or two of the constituency meetings go ahead anyway before such an option... but would there be an opponent found from among the MPs other than the unelectable awkwards?

Date: Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
But for a leadership election you need two candidates, and who in their right mind would volunteer to lead the Liberal Democrats right at the moment?

Anyone sensible who wants to lead the party for more then eleven months is going to be keeping their heads down now so they can come in and pick up the pieces after what is going to be a wholesale slaughter with or without Clegg at the helm.

I wonder how much boil-lacing it would do for Clegg to resign and then be re-elected unopposed...

Date: Thursday, May 29th, 2014 07:54 am (UTC)
ext_390810: (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/
The problem is that our rules don't include a RON option, and there's enough rules lawyers in the party that any attempt to include one will cause a huge amount of problems.

It'd also put Clegg up against the same problem Major faced - the big opponents won't take the risk of putting up, so he'll be left facing whoever our equivalent of John Redwood is (Hemming?). That's where the current Tory system gets it right - it has a stage of 'is the current leader any good and do you want to keep them?' without conflating it with 'and who would you replace him with?'

The problem for Clegg is that he's going to fall foul of Alistair Campbell's nine days rule as the story's not going anywhere (especially with the EGMs called) and he doesn't have any way of lancing the boil. He's also not helped by the behaviour of some of his supporters (though not officially sanctioned) who are just stoking the flames.

Date: Thursday, May 29th, 2014 11:14 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Because Matthew Oakeshott has fallen on his sword, and the mainstream media* have leapt to the conclusion that the leadership crisis is now over

You must be reading different mainstream media from me: everything I saw and read took the Oakeshott departure as an opportunity to step up speculation about how insecure Clegg's position is. The BBC certainly did.

Date: Thursday, May 29th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This all seems of a piece with the leadership attitude to the members: they’ve seen off the elite plot, so it’s over, right? The leaflet delivery drones can’t possibly have valid points or a means to do anything about it, can they? Which is why Clegg won’t take your (excellent) suggestion – he doesn’t believe our opinions have any value.

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