Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Flambe Goose a la Loo


Never knowingly been one to shirk from the temptation to poke my head over the was no exception. It appears I have been vilified and praised in equal measure (well OK, maybe more vilified, but I am sure my fans amongst you will leap to my defence???!)

Some clearly view my decision to talk to World at One as inexcusable. But, it was a decision taken with a great deal of thought and soul searching. As Leo helpfully points out on Lib Dem Voice this could well scupper any ambitions I may have for a winnable seat, or keeping my seat on FPC. Don't think I didn't think of that. Of course, World at One only used my comments because they were perceived as somewhat critical, I am not so stupid as to think it was due to my scintillating wit and awesome powers of analysis, but I am frankly sick to death of the party trying to pretend all is well in the state of Denmark.........

As I hope I have made clear my first commitment is to the party, because I firmly believe in the values and (most of) the policies of our party. Because I believe our party can really change people's lives and their futures not only in this country but in the wider world. Because, fundamentally I am a Liberal Democrat! So, I would have kept my mouth firmly shut had I thought my comments would be more damaging to the party than continuing the current pretence. Frankly burying our heads in the sand helps only our political opponents.

To those who attribute my decision to a desire to "be on the radio" please, get a life! I think that's what is politely called "projection". I have done my fair share of national and local TV and radio in my time, both as a Lib Dem and a national Unison activist, and believe me, if I wanted to get myself noticed (as was noted in my last work appraisal) I am well able to do so!!!!

So apologies to those I have upset, anyone who knows me knows that as much as I hate making myself unpopular (I do like being loved!) I hate hypocrisy, duplicity and lilyliveredness more. The general public, typified by the London taxi drivers I encounter on a regular basis agree..........we are being disingenuous by pretending we have the right leader. I was once asked on an interview on ITN what I thought of Charles (in the height of the is he a chair or a leader debate), my response was that I thought he was a great leader but that at the next general election we may need someone with different skills, he was perhaps the Moses who had seen the promised land when what we needed was a Joshua to lead us into it........................sadly we have ended up with............well Biblical scholars amongst you will have an idea of who I am thinking of....................


Paul Walter said...


Suffolk and Essex Online

a radical writes said...

Lucky for Ming I think you've been a little ignored (although this is the world at one of course!).

Jeremy Hargreaves said...

Dear Linda

I'm not going to attack you for going on radio to say this, and I respect your point that you only did so after considerable thought.

But I'm sure you'll also respect my right to say I think you were wrong to do so.

If you think things are going badly wrong, then if you have a coherent and proper plan for doing something about that, which attacking Ming on the radio would help take forward, then I think that would be a reasonable thing to do.

But I don't think there is any such plan. Do you want another leadership election? I don't think that's what you're arguing for, but that's what the comments you made argue for.

It's not enough to say that you think all is not right in the state of Denmark (very Ming, all this Shakesperean quoting!) and so you feel honour-bound to go and tell the world that. As I say, if you have a plan which would make things better, which this helps achieve, then I think speaking up publicly would be a rational thing to do. But if not, I think it allows you to say what you think, but apart from that (despite your intentions, I accept), all it does is stand up a 'Ming must go' story. And as you said, I don't think that's what you want.

For what it's worth my own view, as often stated before, is that things are going fine. Ming has sorted out all sorts of things, including reinvigorating party democracy - and crucially I believe that people who think that if our poll ratings ever do anything other than rise, we should ditch the leader, are living in cloud-cuckoo land. Party poll ratings can go down as well as up, and turning that mundane reality into a catastrophe is not very clever.

In fact the trajectory of our poll ratings over the last year or two seems to me very similar to (a) its trajectory following most general elections and during the following Parliament, and (b) following both our previous new leaders, including Ashdown and Kennedy. Stunning breakthrough? No. Disaster? Equally, hardly.

Anonymous said...


Again thank you for voicing the despair many ordinary members feel.

Thank you too for voicing the frustration of many activists.

I wish there was some way that the party would open dialogue with the members who hve grievances. Ming has said he will talk to his critics openly but not to fire at him anonymously. I don't actually believe from the evidence to date that he means it. I think Ming is quite happy to pretend that all is well with the Liberal Democrat world just as it is, and therefore he doesn't want to hear any genuine grievances. Perhaps if he responded and entered into dialogue more then there would be less backstabbing.

So Jeremy, please do explain to us what you think the 'right way' to deal with grievances is in the current state of affairs. Because people who try and do it the quiet and 'right' way are being ignored, and those who shout are being ostracised. Oh and vice versa.

So explain the process to get heard and listened to. Because you know there might just be people outside the westminster bubble who have a genuine point to make from the 'real world'.

Disgruntled Radical said...

Dear Linda,

I think you made the right decision. It is always hard to know whether going public will produce change or entrench resistance. As a committed and devout atheist, I pride myself on my knowledge of the bible but may have missed your reference. I can only say, "If the trumpet gives forth an uncertain sound, who then will follow ?" Also as Christmas crackers used to say, "Why is it commonly supposed that Moses wore a wig ?". Answer: "Because sometimes he was seen with Aaron and sometimes without Aaron."

Norfolk Blogger said...

Linda, I got cirtisied a tony bit the other week for saying something similar about Ming also on the World at One. I think you have to have the courage to say that if you are prepared to write something on your blog then you are prepared to say it out loud.

It would have been cowardly to and two faced not to have repeated your views to Radio 4 and for people to suggest you should have done that is out of order.

Barrie Wood said...

Spot on Linda ! Ming is personally wooden and unconvincing [on matters other than foreign affairs].

Can I see him campaigning and engaging well with voters in, say, a Rochdale council estate or areas like I live in, such as central Torquay ? Absolutely not !

If I'm not enthused or energised as a party activist then that bodes ill for his probable impact with the wider public.

Policy wise, other seniour figures seem to be making all the running and the shifts in our policy positions {especially on tax] are not huge vote winners in my opinion.

However, let's judge him - like a football manager - on 'results'. It is too near to the end of the 'political season' to make changes at the top. And, if Ming was to go who'd replace him ? The Blair-like Clegg, the worthy but dull Huhne or the competent but rather right wing [economically speaking] Cable.

In conclusion, it's a case of 'hope for the best' with Ming I'm afraid.

Finally, as a committed trade unionist myself, can I ask if you are a member of ALDTU ?! If not, I'd hope you'd consider joining !