Should each LD contender be tested here?

Should each LD contender be tested here?

cable pmqs.JPG

    Who’d do better – Huhne or Clegg?

The picture above is a screen shot of Vince Cable handling yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions when the country’s third party is always guaranteed two questions.

It’s a key moment in the parliamentary week because the Lib Dems often find it difficult at any time getting heard above the Con/Lab babble and the Wednesday slot is always an opportunity to be heard.

When Charles Kennedy finally agreed to step down on January 7th 2006 I was a great supporter of Ming until precisely 1215pm on Wednesday January 10th – just after he had sat down after his first performance at PMQs in the acting leader role.

It will be recalled that this was a disaster. It was clear from his first hesitant few seconds that he simply did not have what it takes to read the mood of the house and then stand up to put his points against a barrage of shouting. Within minutes his betting price started to move out and this paved the way for Simon Hughes to became favourite.

The weekly PMQ appearance is a very tough thing to do and is something for which most MPs of all parties are totally unprepared for. Even as experienced a parliamentarian as Brown has yet to get the hang of it fully. For Lib Dem MPs the chance to talk to a full chamber hardly ever happens.

So here’s my plan for the coming leadership contest. Let each of the candidates take it in turn on Wednesdays to act in the Lib Dem leader slot. A bit unfair – yes – but whoever wins the election will be judged instantly on their performance in this arena and why not see how they do?

Now with the election looking like a straight fight between Huhne and Clegg there won’t be the problem of having too many nominated candidates to fill the available slots. The order in which they would do it could be determined by drawing lots.

A side benefit of this proposal is that it would take some of the media attention away from the weekly Gord-Dave confrontations which in itself is a benefit for the Lib Dems.

Why does Gord always get the name of the Lib Dems wrong? Maybe it’s just me but I get very irritated by Brown’s apparent inability to remember the name of the Liberal Democratic party. Yesterday he called it the “Liberals” on half a dozen occasions.

Is this a “senior moment” by the PM like his describing William Hague yesterday as “Foreign Secretary” or is he trying to make a political point? If the latter then what is it? Can anybody enlighten us?

Lib Dem leadership betting is here.

Mike Smithson

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