Is Ming right to get rid of his Jaguar?

Is Ming right to get rid of his Jaguar?

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    Will there be votes in selling the gas-guzzler?

Whatever your politics you cannot but feel a touch of sympathy for new Lib Dem leader, Ming Campbell, who has felt it necessary to put his five litre 20 year old Jaguar XJS onto the market.

With green issues suddenly accelerating up the political agenda it must have been quite a hard call for Campbell to know what to do about what was clearly his pride and joy. But why should he have to give up the car?

There’s a danger that such a gesture just looks artificial and contrived. It also could make him look weak as he appears to be bowing to public opinion – a sharp contrast with the multi-Jaguared John Prescott.

    Clearly the ex-international sprinter is not going to follow David Cameron and get a bike and clearly he is is still going to have to travel – presumably not in a carbon neutral fashion. So what is the point?

The strength of the imagery of Cameron’s cycling is that he has used his bike to get to work for years. It is not something that has just been done for publicity which is where Labour’s “Dave the chameleon” approach lose some of its potency.

An issue that must be worrying for Campbell is the low personal poll ratings he is getting. The latest YouGov poll had him rated at 29-24 to the question of whether he was doing well or badly. This five point lead compared with the eight points that Charles Kennedy had in December and the 34% margin that he enjoyed ahead of the General Election.

Meanwhile punters are rating his chances of survival in the job a little better. The Sporting Index off-shoot, BetHilo, has a market on how many months Ming will serve. It opened at 23-25 months – that’s now moved up to 25-27.

Mike Smithson

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