Seriously, why are the wheels on the Oaten bus coming off so quickly? While I’ve never had that much regard for Oaten himself, I have some regard for Opik as someone who understands both campaigning and communication. And I never dreamt that we would reach this stage with Oaten unable to claim more than one actual supporter.
Indeed, his campaign is starting to sound distinctly Orwellian:
- He claims to be the loyalty candidate, yet was the first to launch his campaign (in the Telegraph before Christmas);
- He claims to be the unity candidate, yet only one MP actually supports him;
- He claims to be the media-friendly candidate, yet his campaign has lunged from one PR disaster to the next;
- He claims to be the 21st century candidate yet is the only one without a campaign website (oh, and I checked the other day and could find no evidence that anyone has been buying URLs along the lines of mark2win, mark4leader, oatentowin, oatenforleader or any other variations);
- He claims to be the liberal candidate, yet admits to only having discovered liberalism four years ago (5 years after being elected as a Liberal Democrat MP) and more than any other candidate his actual commitment to liberalism is questioned, with serious examples cited.
Last week I said he had a moral duty to stand; he’s organised for it long enough. Now, it looks so bad that I would be inclined to release him from his moral obligation. But I genuinely don’t understand why it has gone so bad for him. Perhaps I bought the hype more than I thought I did. More to the point, perhaps he did too.