I wonder why the Lib Dems chose Charles Kennedy over Simon Hughes as party leader? They must have serious doubts about Simons ability, as there was no way the LD's were going to make any real progress with Charles as leader.
If Simon Hughes wasn't good enough for party leader, there must be some doubt about his credentials as a mayoral candidate.
PS. I have always voted for Simon Hughes as he strikes me as a genuine, honest, hardworking person. So what am I missing?.
>I wonder why the Lib Dems chose Charles Kennedy over Simon >Hughes as party leader?
I think it was the same problem that the US democrats have been having - Kennedy, with his SDP background, was seen to be more middle of the road, and less likely to frighten former Tories in key marginal seats. The activists were divided between Hughes and other "radical" candidates.
AFAIK, Hughes (like Shirley Williams) also suffered from a reputation for appalling time management - many party members having been kept waiting over the years for his arrival as a guest speaker at various events.
Quite a few radical liberals of 1970s vintage were gobsmacked when Kennedy came out with his anti-war stance, having previously written him off a Lib-Labber.
Since that defeat, and his subsequent front bench roles, I think Simon has recognised that he needed to get himself better organised, and allow his diary to be managed. This is why we are seeing less of him in Southwark, because his staff are no longer lettting him commit to being at three places at once - just two!
As a Liberal Democrat Councillor at the time of their leadership election, I can say that the reasons Simon wasn't elected as Leader was not because we know something mysterious and sinister about him that other people don't, but
1)For the reason Lang Rabbie gave - he was seen as less 'safe' and middle of the road
2)Because it was a nationwide ballot of Party Members, and LibDems have a lot of members in Scotland and country districts, where Simon isn't as well known and where he doesn't speak much on their issues.
3)and, possibly, it also might have been partly because Simon didn't get his campaign going so quickly - another reason it's good to see the new (slightly) improved less late version. May it continue....
Elections ought not be single-issue events but, oddly, I find myself in vague agreement with michael s. Ken does need to be reminded by friends and foes that objection to rampant development is not just nimbyism. There are better ways to provide affordable housing than clogging up what otherwise would be superb public spaces available to all. Never the less, he will get my vote because, basically, he's the best mayor this town has had since Dick Whittington. (cue the pedants).
If Simon Hughes wants to be BOTH Mayor of London & MP for Bermondsey (as he claims), he won't just need the slightly better time-keeping that ex-councillor Hilary now says he has. He'll need to set up his own time zone. It's unbelievable that anyone could think they could do both jobs. Or is it just that Simon's now bored with Bermondsey?