Extraordinary rant from Fiyaz Mughal

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Fiyaz Mughal posted this extraordinary rant at 2.15am on Wednesday morning:

Come on! Don’t get taken in by ‘Big’ Names, Look at the Experience in Front of You

2.15.00am BST (GMT +0100) Wed 19th Sep 2007

Tomorrow is the first hustings of the mayoral candidacy for the Party and the past few days have shown me that British politics is being corroded by a desire to see ‘big names,’ rather than individuals who have experience and Party know how as basic skills. Ken and Boris need to be ‘matched’ in name value, yet I hear very little about having the skills and political capital to do so being part of the equation here at conference!

The strategy of the Party is to mark and carve out a niche that is different and anti-establishment. Enter into that strategy someone the Party believes fits into that role. The basic wisdom is that someone who knows the Party structures, the culture of it and the policies should through their experience, be the natural candidate. It is not only the storm clouds brewing in Brighton, I am afraid that the dark arts of supporting a candidate in subtle ways is taking place for the sake of the ‘anti-establishment’ figurehead.

Let’s hope that figurehead manages to traverse the many icebergs out there and there are many! The largest of this will be Ken, an ardent politico who has managed to develop 110 lives within his political career. “Icebergs ahead captain,” for I am steering a course that is true to the people of London and valid to the vast majority who want safety and security, better life chances and the ease to travel within the Capital.

I’ll leave to one side this stuff about icebergs (why is it that Lib Dems keep alluding to the Titanic at the moment? Is it because they’re looking forward to the Doctor Who Christmas Special? Yes, that’s the reason!). The Lib Dems should indeed choose a candidate with experience over and above a ‘name’ – that’s why, all things being equal, a former Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner would appear to have an advantage. And what’s this about the natural choice being someone “who knows the Party structures, the culture of it and the policies should through their experience”? That makes me the IDEAL candidate. It is normally a safe bet that if I’m the answer, you are asking the wrong question (unless the question is “who is blogger of the year?” of course. Hem hem).

What about someone with decades of experience working in London, across London, and in the service of London? Doesn’t that count for anything? Brian Paddick isn’t some career politician or dilettante who achieve celebrity status through appearing on Have I Got News For You? and thought he might give it a go. He’s someone with a serious level of credibility. Attacking him because his seniority in the police force granted him a certain level of fame is simply ridiculous.

This sort of petulant rant does nothing to help Mughal’s cause. In the past I’ve criticised the office of London Mayor on the basis that the lack of a London-wide demos leads parties to approach celebrity figures to be their candidate. Brian Paddick is one of just a handful of people in the city who manages to straddle both fame and authority. The fact that the party has attracted someone like Brian should be a cause of celebration. I’m sorry if that thwarts Mughal’s ambitions, but that’s life. If he was that serious he would surely have published a manifesto on his website at least before laying into the competition.

5 thoughts on “Extraordinary rant from Fiyaz Mughal

  1. There are different arguments and styles of campaigning, Fiyaz Mughal is just showing what are his arguments style. If the Lib Dems in London are convinced that these are the arguments and style with which the London mayoral election will be won, they should select Mughal for candidate.

    Personally I don’t believe that the Londoners will choose for Mayor the candidate with most experience and knowledge about Party structures, the culture of it and the policies, but each and everyone of course judges for him- or herself.

  2. James, we’ve seen ‘extraordinary rants’, recently from MPs, during the Leadership contest, its nothing new. Its always going to be hard for ordinary party members to compete against individuals perceived as ‘big names’ trailed by the Party to the media for months. Its good and healthy that people like Chamali and Fiyaz have come forward. This is not an easy contest and not for the faint hearted (I’ve lost count of the number of poeple who were urging me to stand- I resisted for personal reasons) We have an excellent and diverse shortlist for London Mayor- unlike the other parties.

  3. I have no problem whatsoever with Chamali or Fiyaz’s candidacy. My issue is with Fiyaz’s decision to lay into Brian in this way and the specific criticisms he has made. Brian isn’t merely a “big name” – he’s someone who has decades of policing experience and was deputy to London’s policy commissioner. We aren’t talking about another Boris Johnson or even Simon Hughes here: we’re talking about someone whose experience is directly relevant to the office of London Mayor.

    For my sins, I supported Donnachadh McCarthy for the candidacy for both the 2000 and 2004 contests. I did so because he brought relevant experience to the table and because he had something unique to say. I wasn’t intimidated by the relative fame of Simon Hughes (or, lest we forget, Keith Kerr). And while I think the party made the right decision in selecting Susan Kramer, it was wrong to back Simon. You should know me well enough to know that I don’t support people who are perceived as “establishment” lightly.

    Either way, is it really too much to expect Fiyaz to conduct himself with a little more dignity?

  4. Salem, I attended most of the mayoral hustings and I think that the mayor of London should have an experience in politics. The mayor should know what policies are all about, because he is running a whole city and has loads of powers. And if this wasn’t true then the liberal democrat members wouldn’t have raised the issue of policies in their questions to the candidates at the mayoral hustings. Moreover, in order to win over Ken & Boris, we should fight for The Liberal Democrat policies and be more politicians than they are.

    Rob F, I attended the first hustings, and it was really like a birthday party, I don’t think that running for the mayoral seat is funny but a serious issue, where we as a party have to show that we are strong enough to stand for that.

    Meral, I agree with what you say. Ethnic minorities should integrate more and more.

    James, Fiyaz didn’t state that Brian isn’t experienced, because no one can take away from Brian his policing experience. We all know that Brian has got the profile as a Deputy Police Commissioner. But that doesn’t take away or cover up on Fiyaz’s experience in politics.

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