Sunday, 30 September 2012

Danny Alexander for leader - and it's not Hallowe'en

One of the most risible pieces of speculative journalism in recent days has been the identification of a "Stop Vince" candidate for the inevitable Liberal Democrat leadership bloodbath when Clegg's insipid inanities finally cause even the herbivores to circle menacingly.  Whatever Cable's inadequacies, he is about the only hope that the Liberals have to maintain a token parliamentary presence and reconstruct a vaguely progressive agenda.

So the right have been touting David Laws, whose resurrection to the role of principal poodle to the chinless Gove has been spectacular, and, now, Beaker himself.  Mr Alexander is about the only politician who makes Gideon look mature, well-adjusted and in touch with the people, and therefore is the clear choice of many people in the Liberal Democrat hierarchy who are really rather enjoying the shrivelling of the party's presence for some perverse, masochistic reason.

The territory for social liberals to carve out will become much clearer over the next couple of weeks, as the Labour party starts being held to account and Mister Ed will find that fences are removed before he can sit on them, and while the Tories will spend their week slavering over Euro-sceptic bones being tossed to them by Cameron, who has now revealed the true scale of his Farage tribute act.  Whether this means that the Liberal Democrats follow remains to be seen.

Touting Alexander as a suitable candidate, when most of the party's supporters consider that the Coalition junkies have sold out for far too little reward, is mad - and would undoubtedly be cheered by caricaturists.  What the country needs from the Liberal Democrats is a little less pro-Tory windiness and a lot more principle, with the clear message that however bad things are now the Tories on their own would have made things much worse (hard though it is to credit)...

Personally, if we are to have a second Muppet in succession at the Liberal helm the Swedish Chef would get my vote.

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