Did you see the look of guilt-fuelled panic on the face of Simon Hughes, President of the Lib Dems on Newsnight last night. At least the impressive Vince Cable managed to look innocent - even if he wasn't. Both were desperately trying to persuade us that it was all Ming's own decision to resign. How stupid they must think we are. Kirsty Wark has a job keeping a straight face as she read our their own quotes back to them.
Politics has its own language. When a political party's President says on the BBC (as Simon Hughes did on Sunday) that the Leader 'must do better', it is a yellow card, verging on the red. When a political party's Deputy Leader says on the BBC (as Vince Cable did yesterday) that the Leader's position is 'under discussion', its a red card, verging on an invitation for a buyer to come in. These two men made Ming's position completely untenable. There is nothing wrong with this of course. Their job is to do what is right for their party. But let's not pretend that they did not systematically and deliberately push out the honourable and respected (by me anyway) Ming Campbell.
Ming's problem was that he is not a beautiful man. He has a great intellect, capacity for reason and is hugely impressive in calm debate. But he looks gaunt, old and old fashioned. Today's politics insists that the Lib Dems new leader will have to be pretty. So even though the best candidate by a mile is Vince the Vicious, he has no chance. Clegg or Huhne it must be.