Bookies In Quandry : Ming Backers Demand Pay-Out

Political punters who put money on Ming being “The Next Leader” are demanding a pay-out on their bets. He is the acting-leader, but nevertheless he is legally the leader of the LibDems and is to be installed in the leader’s office in parliament and will lead the LibDems on Wednesday at PMQs.

Betfair’s rules state “The market will be settled based on the first official announcement of the next Liberal Democrat Party leader.” Guido called Cowley Street LibDem HQ this morning and asked, “Who is the leader of the Liberal Democrat party?” The press office replied that Menzies Campbell was indeed their leader.

Unless the Bookies claim the LibDems are leaderless, then the punters have a good point. Michael Howard signalled he was stepping down six months in advance, a very different situation, Charlie Kennedy actually stepped down as leader and Ming Campbell took his place. Morally, if the parliamentary authorities accept Ming as LibDem leader how can the bookies not follow suit?

UPDATE: Betfair has suspended the market.

UPDATE: “For the avoidance of doubt, this market will be settled on the first official announcement of the next Liberal Democrat leader as selected in the next Liberal Democrat leadership contest.”
Betfair moves the goalposts! Well this is not only unsporting, but leaves them with a potential problem if Ming is crowned and a leadership contest is forgone. This could result in the market being out of play for years…

Cameron is LibDem Leadership Contest Winner

Any way you look at the options, Cameron can only profit from the LibDem disarray. Obviously he is the political cause of Kennedy’s demise, the MPs were prepared to tolerate Charlie’s personal failings, but not his political failings in the face of the Cameron threat. Hence the LibDems self-decapitation strategy.

Ming will be 68 come the election – the LibDems think they can turn this into a strength – did they see the panto Tory Toff outfit he was wearing when he announced he was standing? He will be a joy to caricature. Oaten as leader would potentially bring about Liberal / Tory tactical alliances. Simon Hughes as leader will bring disaffected LibDem voters back to the Tory fold.

As Cameron crunches his cornflakes, he can only laugh at his luck.

Only Flash Can Save Us

So Ming the Briefer, is set to become Emperor Ming, the unelected ruler of the Liberal Democrats. That will be beyond satire.

Will there be a Flash to save us? Oaten? A slaphead who most mothers would feel uneasy seeing near a playground. Hughes, the darling of the backroom boys and beardie-weirdie, sandal wearers. Or John Hemming MP, a man who probably does believe he is Flash – aaaaah – saviour of the universe.

Hemming is an attention seeking nutcase, who claims to have the support of another MP for his leadership bid and is soliciting the required rank and file nominations. He was the only LibDem MP to not sign Kennedy’s formal nomination papers in May, he says because of his concerns. Hard to say how to describe Hemming, but bonkers does spring to mind. Guido will of course be endorsing him (since he is a reader of this blog) and I urge you all to answer his call for volunteers. Email john.hemming@jhc.co.uk.

It’s Ming for Me

I hate to tell LibDem Bloggers this, but that T-shirt idea has a flaw and a bad recent precedent…

How Much Time Has Charlie Left?

Difficult to say with any certainty – will Charlie Kennedy last until next week or until after the May local elections? He is clearly perceived to be a busted flush – after securing the biggest parliamentary representation for the Liberals since whenever.

Guido doesn’t ‘get’ Ming Campbell, he looks like a LibDem version of Malcolm Rifkind, how could he be an improvement on Kennedy? He certainly would look like a retro step to the public in the face of young Dave. With Simon Hughes apparently ruling himself out of the running, a cynic might think that the job isn’t worth having for a couple of years. So best keep Kennedy at the helm, presiding not leading, as someone stingingly described. Better the liberal you know.



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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