Had an interesting YouGov poll today, which seemed to be most concerned about whether potential Lib Dem leadership contender John Hemming was up to the job. Now, I wonder… who could have possibly paid them to run that poll…? Perhaps a national newspaper has decided to champion his cause. Or else it could be an eccentric millionaire. Such a mystery, such a mystery.
Whoever you are, thanks for my 50p!
For all Mark Oaten’s PR background and promise of an energetic campaign, as of now (5.30pm), he hasn’t updated his website since the beginning of December, despite launching his campaign earlier today (correction: actually, I’ve just spotted that the site was updated yesterday. Nothing about the leadership though, let alone a link to a campaign website).
Compare that to the slick launch of David Cameron, who he claims to be the Lib Dems’ answer to.
UPDATE: According to my referrals, I discover that I am the 5th Google result for Mark Oaten leadership campaign. Mate, if you’re depending on me to do your PR for you give up now. It gets worse from here on.
Some PR wag might want to consider sending a job lot of this to the Lib Dem Parliamentary Party to clear the air.
The Times, rightly, point out that the latest Populus poll makes grim reading for the Lib Dems. The results are Labour 39% (+1), Conservative 36% (+1), Lib Dem 16% (-3). But hang on a second… it is also saying that a month into Cameron’s leadership he has entirely failed to narrow the gap between the Tories and Labour.
The Lib Dems have had their worst month in recent memory. The Tories have had their best month in recent memory. Is it really the Lib Dems who should be crestfallen by these figures? Cameron is going to have to do more than ape Labour’s agenda if he is to start looking dangerous, and over the next couple of months the Lib Dems can expect a good media spotlight followed by a new leader. If this is the best you can do, Dave, you’re screwed.
Dave Wetzel of the Labour Land Campaign alerts me to an article by Peter Snow on the murky details around who owns UK land (in the print edition, this is directly below an interview with Nicholas van Hoogstraten ironically enough). This is also the subject of a BBC2 programme tomorrow (9pm).
Apparently all this draws heavily from Kevin Cahill’s book Who Owns Britain? (mental note to self: this has come down in price hugely – didn’t know they did a paperback. Purchase next time you have any money), but has been largely uncredited.
There is a real debate to be had in this country about how conservation policies have effectively kept land out of the hands of the masses, leading to a huge increase in property prices and what looks like a form of neo-feudalism emerging. Hopefully, this will help bring that debate into the public arena. On the other hand, Mark Thomas was shouting about all this in the 90s and didn’t get anywhere.