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Showing my support

I'm voting for Chris Huhne.

There's not much to choose between the three candidates, to be honest. All three appear to have the same basic approach to policy; all three are professional politicians, with all the ups and downs of that approach. But I think Huhne will be able to give the party more of a feeling of a fresh start after a traumatic period. He is smart and looks cuddly. He also performed marginally better on last night's Any Questions (entertainingly written up here by Nick Barlow). He has problems with fluency and soundbites, but so do the other two, and he is more likely to be taught new tricks than they are.

Another factor is that when I look at the lists of supporters published on each candidate's website, I find more people who I feel closer to in the party supporting Huhne than either of the other two. It's not a question of being impressed by Big Names supporting the candidate - if it were, I'd be backing Campbell. It's people who I have worked with in the past and respect, and who have remained active in the party where I have been less so. I take their views very seriously.

It is also interesting that the blog count which I have been maintaining is heavily in favour of Huhne. He has picked up and extra ten in the last few days, more than the other two put together (four for Campbell, five for Hughes). It is also very noticeable that the bloggers backing Huhne are more heavyweight (in the sense of higher numbers of other people linking to them as tallied by Icerocket and Technorati) than for the other two: Jonathan Calder, James Graham, Richard Huzzey, Nick Barlow, Will Howells, and Lynne Featherstone MP, all score better (in that order) on Icerocket than any pro-Campbell blogger (best is Tim Hicks) and than any pro-Hughes blogger except Peter Black AM. (I'm omitting livejournal users from that tally, firstly because we tend to score much better on Icerocket because of the social nature of Livejournal, second because if I did include them, the best scoring blogger would be, er, me.)

Sir Menȝies Campbell will get my second preference. He is clearly a "safe pair of hands" rather than a risky choice. I feel about him rather like I did about Alan Beith in the 1988 leadership election: worthy but ever so slightly dull. He nearly slipped to third place on my list on the basis of last night's unimpressive performance on Any Questions - too many answers which slightly distorted history, eg saying (in full contradiction of the facts) that Charles Kennedy resigned with dignity, and while it was wrong to go to war on Iraq without a UN resolution the fact is that we did so as well in Kosovo - rightly, in my view, but it was a hole in his argument. I don't take the age question very seriously, though it is a factor. I don't take the "He sounds like a Tory" argument at all seriously; it doesn't seem to have stopped people voting for Blair!

Simon Hughes will get my third preference. He did OK on the radio last night, though noticeably floundered towards the end when it got a bit more technical, but well enough that I was considering giving him my second preference ahead of Ming. His reputation for muddle is now drastically reinforced by today's interview with the Sun apparently contradicting his statements about his own sexuality to the Guardian and the Independent. I have no problem with voting for a gay or bisexual party leader (though he should have got this over with years ago, as Michael Portillo did), but I would like someone who can make up their mind.

In brutal summary: Ming too dull; Simon too disorganised; Chris is neither so he gets my vote.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 26th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
Curious, isn't it. The sudden media interest in uncovering dirt on the LibDems comes after years in which they didn't seem to have the least interest. Couldn't be anything to do with a revived Tory party, could it?

As for the next election, I'm expecting a drop in LibDem fortunes partly because of the Cameron effect on the tories. But we should revive by the election after that.
Jan. 26th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
I'm with Iain Sharpe and James Graham. These are disturbing and unfortunate events but not exactly the end!
Jan. 26th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
Hughes also told Alice Thomson and Rachel Sylvester of the Telegraph that he was not gay.
Jan. 26th, 2006 03:57 pm (UTC)
Funnily enough, that's the way my thoughts have been turning. Ming is very sound and a hero over Iraq, but he hasn't exactly shone in parliament lately when he had a real opportunity to make a mark. Hughes has always seemed disorganised (and the more LibDems I know the more disorganised he appears), but he seems muddled in his thinking and his presentation as much as in his actual day to day handling of matters. He was always going to be bottom of my list, and he's done nothing to change that. Huhne (and how I wish his name did not remind me so much of Hoon) remains an unknown quantity, which is disturbing at this stage, but he seems to have the respect of others whose views I respect, and right now we need someone young, fresh and dynamic - and of the three he is clearly our best hope.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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