...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 2869: Congratulations, Baron Ros; Commiserations, Mr Lembit; Erm, thanks for taking part, Mr The Other One.


And I, for one, welcome our new Baroness Overlord

This was quite an INTERESTING campaign for once, seeming to me to be a debate between people who believe that the President of the Liberal Democrats is a CONSOLATION PRIZE (not looking at anyone in particular, Mr Hugs) and those who think that it is a PROPER JOB, and one that ought to be quite different from the job of I'm-on-the-Telly-because-the-Leader-is-in-Canada-today.

But, along with everyone else, I cannot help but be AMAZED at just how CRUSHING a victory it was. And I cannot help but feel sorry for Mr Lembit.

I actually felt that the result in the Leadership election last year was very good all round. Rather than being DIVISIVE, the closeness of it meant that both candidates were shown as STRONG. It is quite healthy for Mr Clogg to get a kick up the fluffy bottom against any tendency to complancy and it's good for Mr Huhney-Monster to know that he was only marginally less great!

Poor old Mr Lembit doesn't even get that reassurance.

Not that "I've had a rubbish year" is a good reason to give him an important party position; and perhaps a man who has problems steering his SegWay isn't the best beast for a Steering Committee.

Mr Lembit is a jolly clever person, whose only flaw seems to be that he has never quite realised that student politics is best practised by students. When you compare him to some of the MPs, those who are selfish or mean or greedy, it seems VERY UNFAIR to criticise him for being "a bit silly". (Not mentioning any editors of Private Eye in particular, but that seems a very CHEAP shot.) He adds to the "gaiety of the nation" and we'd all be worse off without him.

What I hope is that we find the RIGHT role for him. THIS clearly wasn't it; being President is about making the Party workings work, and for that you need a tough-minded negotiator and organiser, not someone who'll play the ukulele in a bathtub filled with beans if asked (important though that skill is!).

So good luck to Lord Ros (and Lady Mark), but good luck to Mr Lembit too!

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