Sky Hustings – the verdict

Very brief, but in order of performance…

  • 1st, Chris: good interventions, best on policy. Absolutely creamed Oaten on his attempts to claim the Liberal crown. Delighted to hear him critical of road user charging (preferring higher fuel duties) and his general candidness about environmental policy. Also, by far the strongest on public sector reform.
  • 2nd, Ming: came across very well. Articulate, to the point. Not clear what he was saying about the Lib Dem’s current policy on getting more women MPs, describing it as a complete failure yet opposing all women shortlists. I would humbly suggest that the failure was in the lack of senior political support, not the current GBTF policy itself which has been a modest success.
  • 3rd, Oaten: came across as the most bullying and least consensual. His pontificating about Cameron not being a real liberal was a joke given his own latter-day damascene conversion. On environmental issues he was appalling, claiming that we should simply financially reward good behaviour rather than punish bad behaviour (with what? Fairy dust?), and waxing about bioethanol which is a complete environmental blind alley. But at least he participated, unlike…
  • 4th, Hughes: the most reserved of the four and all but disappeared as the debate went on. Genial and consensual, and what he said was fine, but he allowed the others to dominate which is not what you want to see in a leader.

Conclusion: on this type of format, Huhne could do very well indeed. Roll on Any Questions (and Question Time?).

Oh, and Rob Fenwick – you are very cheeky! 🙂


  1. Ming was worse than that on women. he said we had failed and then went on to say that we had got excellent young women elected.

    Someone should tell Chris that he is the underdog – he clearly doesn’t know;-)

  2. Mark Oaten obviously doesn’t watch the West Wing 😉
    I take your point about Ming and women candidates, but I thought the worst answer to that question was Simon’s – something about taking action after May 4th in time for conference. Surely, he’s the one candidate who, as President, is already in a position to do something about the problem. Huhne was the only candidate who was sufficiently bothered about this issue to emntion it on Saturday.

  3. James et al, be under no illusion whatsoever as to what road user pricing is really about: satellite surveillance of motor vehicles.

    It has nothing whatsoever to do with reducing fuel consumption. It’s about putting bugging devices in our cars. (The precursor to the microchipping of our brains.)

    The fairest (and least Orwellian) way to push down fuel consumption is surely to penalise people who drive big cars (though exceptions would have to be made for farmers and others with a special need for such vehicles). Why do people have to swan around urban areas in four-wheels drives? Can’t they make do with Peugeots and Fiats?

    Do I have “something to hide” in wishing to conceal from the state where I go in my car?

    Yes! It’s none of their bloody business!

  4. I believe that using the price system via tax is the most efficient & most liberal way to go. I would like to see much more of our tax taken from things which are socially undesireable such as alcohol, tobacco, petrol (& advertising & cannabis & fat people) so long as it is revenue neutral. This is more efficient than raising more tax money & then having government spending it on the environmental cause de jour.

    It is also more liberal in that while it exerts pressure for change it doesn’t force. Thus I support higher tobacco prices but not banning smoking in pubs.

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