I’ve been at a lecture and a dinner this evening but before leaving the office I made a mental note to blog about how magnanimous it was of the Lib Dem shadow cabinet, after a “calm and thoughtful meeting” to promise to stop briefing against Charles Kennedy. This was in response to the article posted on the BBC site at around 4pm (some of which can be found here).
Imagine my surprise to learn therefore, via Jonathan Calder, that in the time I’ve been away from my desk, the BBC story has completely changed. The solemn pledge to stop anonymous briefings appears to have lasted precisely 30 whole minutes.
I was going to declare the old story as being Kennedy’s own personal “Pants of Power” moment (notwithstanding the PM’s daily Pants-wearing incidents). Now, however, that all looks rather redundant.
Seriously though, this has gone on for far too long. It’s time to put up or shut up. Making Kennedy damaged goods is all very well, but if you aren’t prepared to stand up and be counted now, you are simply arseing about. The problem, I suspect, is that no-one wants to be another Heseltine – caught holding the bloodied knife and thus rendering themselves unelectable as a future leader. But all this isn’t damaging Kennedy; it’s damaging the party.
UPDATE: Predicably, the Times has done a right number on Kennedy on this issue, even listing the runners and riders for an expected leadership contest. Personally I think they are looking at too narrow a field. And Mark Oaten has “youthful appeal”?! Having bald leaders didn’t exactly do the Tories much good in the recent past.