Is this becoming a bit of a habit?
Two years or so ago the local Lib Dem council group had a spectacular falling out, first deputy leader Andrea Colbourne quit and then leader and Lib Dem wunderkind Chris Harris was ousted in what turned out to be a very acrimonious coup. Later the ill feeling spilled over into accusations and counter accusations between councillors and MP over who was to blame.
At the time I pointed out that in politics there is very firm a link between morale and performance. Parties who are looking forward to losses inevitably become fractious and bad-tempered- as members either fight for their survival or play the blame game.
Sure enough, a year or so later the local Lib Dems were humiliated in the mayoral elections and then went on to be almost obliterated in the local elections in May this year.
Now the national Lib Dems seem to be headed in the same direction, with a series of poor poll results causing a very great deal of bad tempered behavior at Westminster by MP's who annoyed their activist base intensely by their move against the very popular Charles Kennedy.
Now poor Ming has joined the redundancy queue because once again the LD's have fallen out with each other over their flatlining poll results.
Having lived through a long period of this kind of thing in the Conservative party I can say with all honesty that the worst is probably not over the for the Lib Dems, for whoever takes over will have to cope with several factions all riven with resentment and anger, with a Parliamentary party half of whom are concerned about their jobs and futures and a dwindling activist base bewildered and confused by the behaviour of their MP's.
Therein lies the problem. If the LD's go left of Labour they risk losing their seats in the South and South West; if they go right of the Conservatives they will lose their seats and potential gains from Labour in the cities of the North.