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These are the current levels of support for the likely Lib Dem candidates on Facebook.

Nick Clegg for Lib Dem Leader: 299
The Nick Clegg Appreciation Society: 97.
Nick Clegg is more of a hottie than David Cameron any day: 24.
Nick Clegg for Lib Dem Leader [duplicate title]: 2.

Chris Huhne This Time: 125.
Im [sic] Backing Chris Huhne for leader: 72.

Steve Webb for Lib Dem Leader: 97.
The Steve Webb Appreciation Society: 82.
Steve Webb for liberal leader: 9.

Charles Kennedy for Prime Minister: 79.
(A satirical group on the same lines): 15.
Bring Back Charles Kennedy: 2.

John Hemming for Lib Dem Leader: 12.
John Hemming for Lib Dem Leader!: 11.

Vince Cable deserves to be Prime Minister: 16.

Donald Kennedy for leader: 8.

NB the following important points:
  • Some of these groups may not be entirely serious.
  • Many people will be in more than one group (possibly even supporting more than one candidate).
  • As far as I can see, there are no declared groups supporting any of the other candidates whose names have been mentioned.
  • Charles Kennedy says it is "highly unlikely" that he will stand.
  • Vince Cable has ruled himself out.
  • Donald Kennedy, Charles Kennedy's two-year-old son, is not eligible.
It is interesting that a) the front-runner is already so clearly established, despite the fact that we are in very early days yet, and b) that Steve Webb is so close behind Chris Huhne for second place.

Myself, I haven't made my mind up yet. I voted for Huhne last time, but the two other likely serious candidates (Clegg and Webb, not Hemming) both seem to me to share his strengths, weaknesses and policy preferences. I'm willing to be educated, of course.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
loveandgarbage
Oct. 17th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)
NOthing for Julia Goldsworthy?

Rumours around various lib dem and political sites suggest she'll stand as a marker for next time (or the time after). While very young promoting her within the Shadow cabinet team (or for media appearances generally via her treasury role) would be wise.

I'm not sure what the activist motivation should be here? There is a risk (hinted at by Iain Dale today) that Clegg might come across as Cameron-lite (although is Dale pointing this out because his vested interest in politics doesn't want a challenge to the Lib Dem voters that have left for the Tories?) but as burkesworks pointed out the other day Huhne is worthy but can appear quite dull on the telly. Like it or not, we're in a televisual age where appearance, articulacy, and the impression of bonhomie count for a lot in winning coverage (which for the third party is half the battle). I liked Campbell but he had a cadaverous look of the Douglas Homes about him (the matter for the media was not his age but his physical appearance itself affected by his illness some years ago). I'd like to be worthy and vote on policies, but as you say the policy differences do not seem substantial - and consequently for me the media factor comes into play. Unless persuaded otherwise (and Webb ups his TV performances substantially) it's Clegg for me (although with the voting system I think Huhne may pick up more of Webb's scond preferences and might sneak in).
nwhyte
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:34 am (UTC)
NOthing for Julia Goldsworthy?

No, and she'd me crazy to stand, frankly. Clegg waited until he had turned 40. She isn't even 30! Impressive though she may be, a candidate who turned 29 last month is not a serious candidate.

I'm leaning Clegg, largely for the resons you mention - fundamentally, a better presenter than Huhne; I don't discern any serious policy differences - but still persuadable, if a) Clegg screws up in public and Huhne doesn't, or b) there do turn out to be policy differences between them where Clegg is on the wrong side and Huhne on the right side.
matgb
Oct. 17th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
Webb is ahead because he's been playing around with Facebook and researching how to use it for ages, wrote some articles on it over the summer. His appreciation society was set up ages ago.

Huhne this time was set up last few days, getawaywithit invited me, I've not joined it, nor the equivalend for Nick that andershanson_fd invited me to.

Nick's supporters have been actively preparing for this for ages. so I reckon they hada bigger head start. They weren't endoresed by him, but I know some of the briefing has come from the Clegg camp, some of it going back months :-(
nwhyte
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:35 am (UTC)
Webb's out of it now, I see, which makes it effectively a two-horse race; do we think Hemming will even get a nomination?
matgb
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:41 am (UTC)
Hemming was out of it before he even started canvassing. Rules change to mean you can only nominate one candidate scuppered him completely, from what I hear he got one backer.

Shame, would've been good to see an alternate candidate--preferably Teather to Hemming, but someone a little loopy would've given it more character.

I lean to Huhne, but only just,it'll be interesting to watch, should be some good debates out of it.
nwhyte
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:43 am (UTC)
someone a little loopy would've given it more character

No, I completely disagree. Someone even a little loopy would dominate media coverage and make the party look foolish. That's why Hemming won't get nominated!
matgb
Oct. 18th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC)
You are of course right, I think I mean 'different'--a female candidate, someone that isn't the well dressed well educated well spoken bloke in a suit.

They're identikit in so many ways, and while they're my preferences, we're not supposed to be a conformist party. Ah well.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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