Simon on Ming: “must do better”

by Stephen Tall on October 12, 2007

Lib Dem President Simon Hughes, interviewed for GMTV’s programme on Sunday, has this to say about the party leadership, according to the BBC:

“The leadership is always an issue in all of the parties, we live in a presidential system and therefore the leader has to continually do well and better and he had a good conference,” he said.
“He did a very good speech, it was meant to be the best conference speech he’s made since being leader, and Ming knows that and there’s no sign that he’s not up for that as a task.”
Asked if that meant Sir Menzies had to do better, Mr Hughes said: “Well, of course, because he started, everybody accepts that it wasn’t a great start, that he’s improved considerably.
“This conference speech went really well and he knows all the time that the party has to do better, that’s my job, collectively, and the leader obviously has to do better, get better at getting the message across, better at getting the policy out, better at making sure that out there people understand that Labour and Tory are often the same on policy, we offer a difference.
“Now, he will do that, I’m confident he’ll do that.”

I’m sure he meant well, but I’ve heard more ringing endorsements.

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Angus, whatever the rights and wrongs of the different viewpoints on this, people do have a right to disagree with you. Perhaps you should post a last comment in this section summarising your position and leave it at that.

by Anon on October 14, 2007 at 7:56 pm. Reply #

Only 4 weeks ago we were at 20% in the polls and people were saying how brilliant Ming’s speech was. I voted for hom and think he would have come out well in a snap general election. But we have got probably another 18 months to go until the next election and the press will run with this story all the way through to polling day. I’m not sure we can survive that to be honest.

by David McBride on October 14, 2007 at 7:56 pm. Reply #

Big Mak wrote: “Really I have many more important things in my life then wasting time arguing with you about exact poll ratings, where the votes came from & to and what fools we all are and how you are the only true Lid Dem amongst us.”

Great! Then the above will be your final contribution on the subject?

By the way, how many of the Ming-bashers posting on this site actually are Lib Dems?

Is Big Mak a Lib Dem, for instance, or a Tory troll masquerading as a Lib Dem?

Anon wrote: “Perhaps you should post a last comment in this section summarising your position and leave it at that.”

I will write whatever I like, provided it is acceptable to the moderator. I don’t take orders from Tory trolls.

by Angus Huck on October 14, 2007 at 8:20 pm. Reply #

The fire has erupted and it seems that any form of critique concerning the leader is met with insult. There is an aboslute reality that we must all face which is the poor poll ratings and the media’s obsession with Ming and the age factor. We must ensure that whilst debate or indeed argument takes place there should be a confirmed position at the end of it.

Central to the survival and growth of the party and broader appeal of liberal democrats is the leader. Sir Ming must either silence the critics and bring the turks into line or leave with grace.

If bloggers, activists and opinion formers are engaging in written/ verbal combat then the parliamentary party, hq, spectators, associations and the general public across the UK must also have their own thoughts.

The underlying feature here is that of serious frustration arising from a lack of progress and direction. Fighting amongst ourselves can be healthy to provoke debate but the blame is with the powers that be and the team that surrounds the leader.

Sir Ming is respectable, honest and knowledgeble but nothing in the presentation of him as a leader reflects any of those qualities. It is easy to blame him but the greater problem revolves around the issues relevent to the media today.

by Warrior on October 14, 2007 at 8:38 pm. Reply #

Warrior: 2 questions:-

(1) What is your real name?

(2) Why do you attack Chris Rennard?

by Angus Huck on October 14, 2007 at 8:52 pm. Reply #

Ming is great. He is going to take the Lib Dems to our best ever performance in 2009. Lets have no more attacks on Ming.

( Tories for Ming )

by Will on October 14, 2007 at 9:20 pm. Reply #

I’m critical of Ming’s leadership of the party.

No, I am not a Tory troll – a google search on Crewe +Gwyn +Liberal will probably clarify that.

It’s not his age.

It’s his style and the shape of the party under his leadership.

And, as far as I am aware, I am not mentally deficient.

by crewegwyn on October 14, 2007 at 10:38 pm. Reply #

“I will write whatever I like, provided it is acceptable to the moderator. I don’t take orders from Tory trolls.”

First of all the fact that I started my comment (51) with the word, “perhaps”, indicates clearly that I was not attempting to issue orders. You have, Angus, mocked others for their poor spelling, perhaps I should mock you for your poor comprehension skills.

I am not a Tory, troll or otherwise. I am a Liberal Democrat member of many years standing. I very much doubt that a Tory would advise you to cool this debate down, which is what I was suggesting. Perhaps your logic skills are lacking too.

Your repeated comments only help to fuel this debate and encourage others to post anti-Ming comments. Is that what you want? Because that is what you are causing to happen. Comments 54 and 56 have been posted because you haven’t shut up – more will undoubtedly follow if you continue to post angry responses to anything critical of Ming.

Now, so you can understand, let me state clearly that this is not an order, it is merely an observation: the more you post, the more anti-Ming comments seem to get posted, ergo perhaps you should engage some logic, stop posting, and what you want (i.e. no more anti-Ming posts and an end to this debate) might actually happen.

No doubt however what will happen is you will post some fuming comment in response. More fool you.

by Anon on October 14, 2007 at 10:44 pm. Reply #

…and from out of the morass will come a true leader to set an example worthy of the name!

Come on everybody – there is a question here that must be faced and must be answered definitively.

It is not precisely about Sir Menzies, but it is about liberal politics and leadership. It is the issue which rove a division through the last liberal government and it remains the problem which confronts any liberal party as it strives to make the break-through from opposition and back into government. It is about how we relate with the public through our ideas and philosophy.

Can liberty must be reconciled with the realities of everyday practical existence? Can freedom take the initiative away from the vacuum and provide a tangible vision? Can we create a turn in opinion without starting to spin? Can we look at out percieved weaknesses and turn them into strengths?

For Ming it is about his age, not his beliefs or principles and nor his abilities. It is also about our society. It is about whether he is the person whom the country can accept as Prime Minister: does British society think it is ok for a man his age to reach office and can we see him continuing to lead us into the future as our rallying figurehead and totem? The same question was asked of women, of catholics, of minorities and of figures stained by previous experience, and will always be asked so that assumptions may be broken and the real benefits of ultimate equality established. So, how open are we? How liberal is good?

Because we are forgetting that all this backbiting isn’t really about him, it is about us as a party and a nation – it is a challenge for our party and we must pass it before we are true candidates for power – and the closer we get to holding national office the more relevant it becomes: do we want to govern?

We must ask ourselves what sacrifices we are prepared to accept in order to get there and what compromises are necessary as the means to the end: are we prepared for government?

We must prove we can set an example worthy of being followed and we shouldn’t be daunted (Ming should use the inspiration of his namesake Campbell-Bannerman) to draw comparisons wherever they apply to show what is possible.

And as for the polls, well, ask yourself how this will change your choices, how they will change you and what difference they make to your complaints and the basis of your criticisms: do we practice what we preach?

Yes, the taking part is as important as the winning, but take one away from the other and we are left with nothing because the two are indivisible linked.

Yes, we want to be good and we want to be in government; yes, we want good government; yes, we think we would be good at government by being good in government.

So, are we resolved? Or not?

by James S on October 14, 2007 at 10:44 pm. Reply #

ref: Simon Hughes – can always do better, can always do more.

by James S on October 14, 2007 at 10:53 pm. Reply #

Angus once again anyone that disagrees with your postion “must not be a member or a tory troll”, what an ass you are!
Plenty of people know exactly who I am, accept that I am both a long standing member and still want Ming out.
What a strange world you live in when anyone who disagrees with you can’t be from the party.
Your attarude stinks and while you think you may be defending Ming your probably doing a better job than me turning people off him…who needs enamies with frinds like you Angus!!

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 12:32 am. Reply #

1.David Cameron supporters club
2.He is the CEO and must bear responsibility, i presume angus is not your name either

by Warrior on October 15, 2007 at 2:28 am. Reply #

61. I am amazed, but having checked, I find you are indeed a member. So I withdraw my accusation of you being a tory plant. You remain however, an idiot to be posting this sort of unrepresentative crap on a site that you know will be picked up in the media.

I can only presume that as well as being an idiot you are also hoping to be viewed by the media as someone who can be relied on to rubbish the leadership to order, much to the enjoyment of the enemies of Liberalism. So I would add an inflated sense of your own importance to idiocy – I call it Iain Dale-ism. Of course Dale-ism has the other defining characteristic of always being wrong, eg. “I’m definitely going to win North Norfolk. My canvassing shows me well ahead”.

by ColinW on October 15, 2007 at 2:48 am. Reply #

This debate is generating more heat than light, as it has done in previous discussions we have had on this.
Instead of making personal accusations, why can’t both sides accept that their ambitions are for the Liberal Democrats to improve at the next general election?
Some sincerely believe that their ambitions can only be realised if the party stops squabbling about the leadership. Others sincerely believe their ambitions can only be realised if we have a new leadership.
So we have an impasse, and in the debate both sides are talking past each other. This is no doubt entertaining to our opponents and the media.
So what is to be done?
Ming was elected by the membership of the party and is entitled to contest the next general election as our leader and to do so without any public sniping. In public he will say he is totally committed to contesting the next general election as leader of the party.
He is also a Liberal Democrat and he shares our ambitions that we do well at the next general election.
Now if their is a case that it is not in the interests of the party that he leads the Liberal Democrats into the next general election, he will have to listen to that argument and act accordingly.
So whether you are for or against, my advice is that the best thing you can do is contact him my email and let him know what you think. See
If you want to take part in a debate on this, there is a very good debate in the private members section where we are not anonymous.

by Geoffrey Payne on October 15, 2007 at 8:10 am. Reply #

ColinW anyone viewing this forum would obviously be loving your comments. Name calling for someone with an opinion just because you disagree with it.
Get a grip, get a life and get a new line.
You my frined need some serious help, the hatred that spills from you is something that maybe some medacine could control.
Otherwise please do not post back to me again, you really don’t want to get me angry(as the Hulk would say)…and really post something that the press would be interested in. In short if you have nothing civil to say just shut your mouth.

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 10:12 am. Reply #

While I’m not one to promote censorship, I still don’t think being thoughtful, careful and considerate in one’s comments is incompatible with a dose of liberal restraint.

by Jimmy on October 15, 2007 at 10:27 am. Reply #

Otherwise please do not post back to me again, you really don’t want to get me angry(as the Hulk would say)

hahahahahahaha. Fool.

by ColinW on October 15, 2007 at 12:27 pm. Reply #

Or just trying to inject a bit of humor in to the venom you spout…as for being a “fool” defending a leader such as Mind so blindly when he has done so little to move us forward, who is the real fool Colin?

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 12:55 pm. Reply #

That should have been “Ming” but hey who will notice the difference?!

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 1:02 pm. Reply #

” Sir Menzies Campbell’s position as Lib Dem leader is “under discussion” his deputy Vincent Cable has told the BBC. ”

by Will on October 15, 2007 at 2:03 pm. Reply #

Well, at least we are second lead on BBC News 24. Presumably if Ming stands down, Vince Cable is no longer Deputy Leader?

by Martin Land on October 15, 2007 at 3:02 pm. Reply #

Hell has opened its doors !

by Warrior on October 15, 2007 at 3:03 pm. Reply #

ColinW, Angus, et al get yourselves on the news and “big up” Ming, go on he’s on his way up, grab on to that star and away you go!

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 3:15 pm. Reply #

Sounds as though you’ve had one too many, Big Mak.

by Sobriety Police on October 15, 2007 at 3:20 pm. Reply #

Now Vince is weighing in. Ming’s office has clearly lost control. Declarations of support are offered with so many provisos and quid pro quo’s that they become meaningless. What is needed is for the entire parliamentary party to sign a letter stating that Ming is their leader and that’s that, or Ming should resign immediately.

by mindstar on October 15, 2007 at 3:21 pm. Reply #

What is the matter with these people. Do Simon and Vince actualy think they are helping the party by feeding this frenzy?
Please remember the bitterness and dis-unity caused when CK was “removed” (I never see Ms Tether without thinking of her justifying that!). It will be much worse if Ming (who ought to be entitled to our loyalty as an elected leader getting on with te job) is destroyed before the cameras. I think we can hold the Southern seats even against a strong Tory challenge- but not if we engage in this kind of civil war.

by John Crowthorne on October 15, 2007 at 3:52 pm. Reply #

John, you are deluded beyond belief. Worse if Ming goes, onlt if Vince gets the top job!
Mad, mad, mad to think that all is ok.
Yet again I ask when the polls say we are on 24% everyone is sliding off their seats with joy. When we are at 11% everyone calls the polls a joke and that we are still doing well.
Some of you come across so desperate it’s hard to take it in unless I had red it myself.

by Big Mak on October 15, 2007 at 4:12 pm. Reply #

You assume that changing the leader will produce a bounce automatically. Ask the Tories how much of a boost Haugue/IDS/Howard gave them. Also you assume this type of coup could be bloodless. It will not be. It will be bloody, unpleasant and make us look like opportunists. Ming is entitled to our support (he has earned it for gods sake after all these years) and the alternative of more introspection and another leadership contest is best avoided. Am I alone in questioning the integrity of MPs like Mr Clegg who allow themeselves to be touted and do nothing to deny they covet the leaders job. Dispicable!

by John Crowthorne on October 15, 2007 at 4:27 pm. Reply #

I sat ion a traion home to herefordshire last Spriung wsith two strangers. All three of us had been Lib Dem members. The three of us had cancelled our membership. Reason? Ming’s inability to represent our fury at Government policy towards terroism and the Iraq War. I spoke with Ming at a visit to Malvern. He argued that he believed that he had been “most robust”. Robust for God’s sake. What century does he belong to? With whom is he attempting to communicate?

by Simon Gandolfi on October 15, 2007 at 5:07 pm. Reply #

Simon Gandolfi: What is Ming supposed to do? Impersonate George Galloway?

by "Patrick Brennan" on October 15, 2007 at 5:16 pm. Reply #

Amazing – this is turning into another media saga, where the true protagonist is the media itself.

If Ming was in the media-defined publicly acceptable age range for a potential Prime Minister there wouldn’t be a story here.

I think I’d prefer it if we returned to picking holes in the real enemies, Brown and Cameron – far more satisfying and much more productive.

by James S on October 15, 2007 at 5:27 pm. Reply #

Sorry but we need a Leader now and not a Manager. Post the Charles Kennedy dabacle it was the other way round. A Party Leader has to fulfill the role the party needs at the time. Our needs have changed – so must the Leader

by Ian Osborne on October 15, 2007 at 6:16 pm. Reply #

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