Oaten to pull out tomorrow?

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Oaten has now declared his nominators. They are: Bob Russell, Mike Hancock, Paul Rowen, John Hemming, John Leech, Paul Keetch and Lembit Opik.

Hancock, Rowan and Hemming are all declared “nomination tarts” who have said they will nominate anyone who asks, and while I’m quite open to be corrected, “Bingo” Bob Russell comes from a similar mould. I’d be quite surprised if he turned out to be actively supporting Oaten.

That means that Oaten is only actively supported by 3-4 MPs, derisory given his long declared ambitions. The question must therefore follow: is he really going to stand, or will he eventually pull?

A time honoured tradition in NUS circles is for candidates to stand for election and then, at the hustings, pull out in favour of a particular candidate, once an appropriate pact has been secured. Lembit Opik, Mark’s campaign manager, has a background in NUS. Indeed, one of the more memorable bits of advice he once gave a friend of mine about the Lib Dems’ NUS strategy is as follows (I only slightly paraphrase slightly due to haziness of memory): “Deals. Do deals. Deals, deals, deals.”

Is this the advice he is now gently whispering into Mark Oaten’s shell-like? At tomorrow’s Meeting the Challenge conference we shall see.

UPDATE: Eek! Could I be eating my words already? Oaten has released a webcast – still no website though. I’ve tried this on Firefox, Safari and Explorer on a Mac, with no success. Can anyone else get it to work? I assume it contains warm endorsments from all his supporters (sarcasm aside, this doesn’t change anything since this webcast was clearly commissioned before it became apparent to what degree the wheels were coming off his campaign).

11 thoughts on “Oaten to pull out tomorrow?

  1. Quite neat technology.
    2 minutes 22 seconds of a talking head, but with the distraction of what looks like a Powerpoint presentation to the right.
    For some indecipherable reason the title across the top says “Welcome to the T Rose Price Online Presentation”.

  2. Seen it now – it appears to work but takes an inordinately long time to download. Doesn’t appear to stream.

    Mark’s bit isn’t too bad, but Lembit just looks pissed off.

  3. It’s “T Rowe Price”. When googled, it comes up as an investment management firm in Baltimore.

    No, I don’t understand it either.

  4. Odd that Mark should be using the term “Liberal” (with a big L) so freely these days.

    In 1988, he joined Owen’s “continuing” SDP, who took the view that “liberalism” and “social democracy” are irreconcilable.

  5. Got it to work fine myself. Mark against a white backdrop.

    He mentioned he wants to have fun in the campaign I’m waiting for someone to Max Headroom-ise he webcast. It’s just cr-cr-cr-crying out for it.

  6. From Paul Keetch’s website (Keetch has been listed in press reports as supporting candidates other than Ming; the following explains why):

    1.19.14pm GMT Thu 12th Jan 2006

    Hereford Lib Dem MP, Paul Keetch today opened up nominations for the Lib Dem leadership to local party members.

    Commenting Mr Keetch said

    “Although, I have already declared my own personal support for Sir Ming Campbell as party leader, I have had much feedback from local party members showing there is a clear desire for an open and democratic leadership contest.

    “At a Parliamentary Party Meeting last night, I and other MPs offered to sign the nomination papers of any candidates, to consent to them standing. This will ensure that our party members who took no part in removing Charles Kennedy will have an opportunity to elect a new leader.”

    Nomination papers will be open to all Hereford Lib Dem members from today at 39 Widemarsh Street, Hereford to register their preference for any of the candidates. Nominations will close on 20th January 2006.

    “Our party has always had a long tradition of direct democracy, and I encourage all local party members to sign the nomination papers for their preferred choice of Leader.” Mr Keetch added.

  7. Mark Oaten, “It’s not over 100 years since the Liberal Democrats were in government.”

    Hmmm, well presumably he means since Liberals were in government (but that’s by the bye). Is he:
    (a) trying to distance him self from the new liberals of the 20th century by ignoring the nearly 13 years of Prime Ministers Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and Lloyd-George; or
    (b) a bit of a thicko?

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