Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can silence be construed as consent?

There is something disturbingly illiberal about a liberal party where elements of the great and the good......alongside elements of the not quite so great and not quite so good........appear gagged.

This was effectively demonstrated earlier this week (as picked up by Pandora in the Indy Monday) with Charles Kennedy's surrogate endorsement of Lembit. Now, for reasons that may or may not become clear, he has felt unable to openly endorse Lembit, so in a move, perhaps calculated to be interpreted as such, his brother-in-law, the rather dashing James Gurling, has done the deed for him.

Now yesterday I was doing a bit of ringing around. Simon Hughes refuses to even hint who he will support because he is outgoing Pressie (I did try, honest!) so join me in guessing........ And I am waiting to hear back from Mssrs Laws and Foster. Today I will try and ask Paul Keetch and others.

And then there are the swathes of other Lib Dem MPs who remain in purdah. Hmmm, that shy Ms Burt, that enigmatic Mark Williams, ..... Are we to truly believe NONE of them have made their minds up?

Mark my words, there is more to this than meets the eye. The powers that be appear scared witless. Yes, a Lembit presidency may be a risky roller coaster ride - but at least it would be a ride......we would be going somewhere! And Nick Clegg rightly made much of the fact that as a party we had to be more radical and take more risks in his successful leadership campaign.

My fear above all is that in the emerging political landscape our party becomes an irrelevance. A party rather like the pristine copper kettle, cleaned and polished and kept on the back shelf for only a few to admire. Perfect in every way, but of only ornamental use. I want a kettle that is battered and dirty from frequent use, fulfilling its purpose, not to sit on the shelf and look perfect with all its committees aligned and its rules expertly compiled, but to go do what it was made to do, refresh and sustain!

I am backing Lembit, not because I don’t think Ros won’t do a brilliant job of smartening up and polishing the kettle, but because I believe he has the edge in communicating with the people we seek to represent. He also has the strategy to underpin what we want to do, engaging and motivating the public, connecting with them at grass roots level, linking with their real concerns

And Lembit will not be a one man band. I understand he is already assembling a post election team, utilising talent from across the party, including those who have backed other candidates but would be prepared to support and work with him as President.

So, to those genuinely undecided, to those hiding in the shadows, to all those who want our party to be far more outward have a choice.

Choose wisely.


John said...

Thing is Linda Lembit can and has done this anyway. We're electing a President not a party spokesman/woman - in any case can we really say that he sticks to the issues rather it seems he just talks about himself and love life and loves (I'm not caring about those) but I've yet to hear him voluntarily talk about policies.

Linda Jack said...

Actually John, I have heard him voluntarily talk about policies a lot. He is a serious politician and takes politics seriously. And whether we like it or not the President IS the party spokesperson! This is why I think policy is important, they invariably end up having to talk about it in the media. Watch out for my next piece!