Monday, November 03, 2008

Lib Dems lighten the gloomy mood.

My main political opponents have always been the Liberal Democrats. That's because I live in Montgomeryshire, which has voted in a Liberal Democrat/Liberal MP for most of the last century - except between 1979-1983, when the Conservatives nipped in for a four year stint. I've known and greatly respected two of these MPs, Emlyn (now Lord) Hooson and Alex (now Lord) Carlile. Before Emlyn was the hugely respected Clement Davies, whom I never met nor heard speak. This long record of success, combined with the requirement for an 11.4% swing, suggests that my ambition to win Montgomeryshire for the Conservatives at the next General Election is a tall order. But there are straws in the wind which I can firmly grasp, as someone once nearly said.

The Conservatives easily beat the Liberal Democrats in Montgomeryshire at the last Euro-elections. The Conservatives also easily beat the Liberal Democrats in the 'regional' vote at the last Assembly Election - when many people in Montgomeryshire thought they were voting for me, (not fully understanding the Additional Member System). And at the recent Powys Council elections, Conservative candidates performed hugely better than anyone could have reasonably expected, winning six of the Montgomeryshire seats, including the three we contested in Newtown, which had been thought to be a Lib Dem stronghold. Clearly it isn't any longer.

Anyway, this post is about other elections, where the Liberal Democrats are fighting each other. The first contest is for the Presidency of the UK Liberal Democrat Party. I had thought this to be a shoe-in for the MP that I hope to replace in Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik. But I've read reports that the leadership of the party have organised a campaign to prevent Lembit winning. I've also read the weirdest reports of him trying to reassure party members that he's not a 'joker' or a 'political lightweight'. And I heard him last week on the Politics Show claim that this election is not an election at all - but a referendum on himself. Nothing to do with the virtues or otherwise of his opponents. Now that would get right up my nose, if I was a Lib Dem member. Most of the leading Liberal Democrats seem to be favouring a lady named Baroness Ros Scott. I still think it would be an extraordinary rebuff, if someone so well-known is defeated by someone that we don't know at all. We find out on Saturday.

And the other contest is for the position of Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the National Assembly. Jenny Randerson has launched her campaign today, taking on Kirsty Williams, who is currently reported to be the favourite. I must admit that Jenny was one of the opposition AMs that I had a lot of respect for when I was an AM. So that's her chances gone - sunk by the combined weight of my respect and Lembit's support. This result won't be known until December 8th. Too close to call at the moment in my opinion. Its great to have some entertainment in the midst of all this depression.


Anonymous said...

Yes, isn't it delicious to watch Opik STILL not getting it. He really is an example of the fact that there IS such a thing as the wrong kind of pulicity. People have had enough of him and his antics. Because he's now been dumped twice in a row by celebrity, he thinks he can go back to politics and everyone will pat him on the head and be grateful to him for being soo high profile. Sorry, Lembit, it doesn't work like that....We've all had enough of you and your pathetic stunts and lifestyle issues. I'm a Liberal and will vote for Ros. Come the election, I will vote for you Glyn

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Well Glyn, you should be here in DC metro area. I was going with my mum tomorrow and the guys from work to celebrate her new US citizenship status at her favourite restaurant in Shirlington Village in/near Arlington, about 8 miles west of Washington, DC.

But we forgot it was Election Day. Can you believe that? Goes to show how much my work buddies and me have switched off to the whole thing. If people call I decided to tell them I'm voting for Obama. As it turned out we had some Obama supporter call the office number on our sales line, so we tried to sell him a patent! Have you got any inventive ideas? Yes, VOTE OBAMA. We don't think that's patentable - anything else? Yes, VOTE OBAMA. I wasn't at the office, but give the guy credit, at least he supports the democratic process. It's going to be a big turnout, so I plan to vote just after lunchtime - maybe the lines will be shorter. Later it will likely be a jamboree.

Who will win? Don't know, but glad when it is all over, roll on 2010 then 2012 then 2014 then 2016 (next Presidential election will be in 2012, but Congress is re-elected very two years along with 1/3rd of the Senate). So it's a 2 year cycle with a peak every 4 years.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I'm not going to approve comments that are grutuitously offensive to my opponent - but you raise an intersting question. Is it possible for 'celebrity' to be a negative force in an election? I genuinely don't know. Personally, I do not like celebrity politics, but I do know that its usually electorally helpful. Anyway, the contrast will make Montgomeryshire interesting - I hope.

Christopher - I too did find the US election very intersting, but have become bored by the overkill. And the result has become a forgone conclusion. And I don't mind who wins. Instictively I'm a McCain man, but it would be a wonderful statement about the US if a non-white man were to win. I'm in the unusual position that I would vote McCain, but would like Obama to win - if you can follow that.

Paul said...

There is no way that Anon (11:53) is real, they are claiming to be a paid up Lib Dem member (as they can vote in an internal party election) and claim to live in Montgomeryshire as they are offering to vote for Glyn.

Why am I starting to think that this blog is full of comments from the same old tory cronies?

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I'm in two minds about it too Glyn. I want to vote what's best for Europe/UK/Wales and what's best for the blue collar workers here in the USA desperate for their to have their jobs back, and yes, it would be great to have Obama win too. So I'm still split, I want a universal health care system or at least some system that deals with the 40 million plus Americans who simply don't have access to a doctor as a Brit understands access. But on this score I think both Presidential hopefuls want to see a better serving health care system. What I definitely don't want to see are super-majority wins for either side in Congress. This could well spell disaster for the world/Europe/UK/Wales.

A filibuster/Presidential Veto proof Congress would essentially put Pelosi and Reid in charge of running the country. Obama might well turn out to be a moderating influence on them! Pelosi is off the scale; she wants to nationalize the 401K-pension system. I won't blame her if she works with Reid to alter the Federal Tax Code to strongly favour blue-collar workers in the swing states. If Congress doesn't deliver on this score the Democrats will suffer some come 2010 and more so in 2012.

The temporary loss of two checks/balances could prove disastrous. It's too scary having one party dominating both the Legislature and Executive branches of US government.

Anonymous said...

u can read the whole email on Iain Dale's blog. hes lost the plot

Glyn Davies said...

Paul - I would be disappointed if the comment was not genuine - but I have no way of knowing. It does chime with comments that I've heard, so I've no reason to think as you seem to. But perhaps you are right.

Christopher - What's the position re vetos?

anon - I read it on Valley's Mam's blog. It really was a very odd thing to do.

Chris Wood, Esq., PhD (Chemistry) said...

Glyn> looks like President Obama will retain the Presidential veto power, and filibusters can still be mounted in the Senate, but only just. It’s important that these two checks and balances remain in play. Also, there’s another whole new election come 2010 when 435 (from memory) Representatives and one third of the Senate will face re-election. One thing about Congress – it feels the heat of the electorate every two years.

Re: Lembit - if you recall Glyn I predicted that Lembit would be ground into dust, and then some time after that he will come back and be one of the greatest political leaders this country has seen - and quite a few people really hated it when I wrote that.

Well, Lembit is getting ground down by 'whatever means necessary', but 'mark you', he has something special, and despite all the current angst mounting against him - he will come back genuinely wanting to serve the public good (as a politician naturally); my bones tell me he will come back and be one of this country's greatest politicians ... 'time' is very much on Lembit's side even though it looks like it isn't right now. Sorry if this upsets a few folks, 'but there it is'.

Whatever God's plan is for Lembit, I don't think it's going to upset your apple cart. So 'no worries'.