Thursday, December 15, 2005
Will he, won't he?
If Kennedy goes will this be good news or bad news for local Lib Dems in Torbay?
A week is a long time in politics, it hardly seems possible that just a few weeks ago my party was leaderless and drifting while the Lib Dems confidently predicted replacing the Conservatives as the major opposition party.
One way ot another Kennedy looks like damaged goods having been apparently described by Ming Campbell -his own deputy- as 'holed below the waterline' it must only be a question of when he goes, not if he goes.
Could this be a lifeline for Bay Lib Dems? Famously Kennedy refused to take sides over the whole question of the councillors allowances leaving some in his local party stranded and causing a very great deal of bad feeling and concern amongst local Liberals.
Could a new leader represent a 'clean start' for the Bays Lib Dems and give them an opportunity to dump many of the councillors they now so revile?
On the other hand is there a danger that a leaderhip contest could cause a damaging split between those traditional Liberals who are to the right of the party who want to continue to challenge the Tories head-on, and the mainstream Lib Dems who are desperate to take up the vacant space to the left of Tony Blair and try to pick up support from disillusioned socialist and old-Labour supporters in seats like Torbay; but more importantly in dozens of Labour held seats where the Lib dems are now the main challengers?
It will be a make or break decision for the Lib Dems which those of us in the Conservative party will be watching very closely.