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.