Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Ming’s Dignified Departure

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 15th October, 2007

ming-campbell-3.jpgI have long held Ming Campbell in high regard, as a man of integrity and courage. I have huge respect for his sound judgement and wise words on foreign affairs, in particular. His performances on Newsnight during the launching of the Iraq War and its aftermath will long live in memory. Over the 20-odd years that I have known him, I have been constantly impressed by his courtesy (even when we disagreed, on issues such as nuclear disarmament), his incisiveness and his cool head. The manner of his departure — entirely on his own initiative, whatever the media may say — is typical of the man.

I didn’t vote for him to be leader of the party; like many party activists, I backed Chris Huhne. But once Ming was elected, I was happy to work with him and under his leadership. Had Gordon Brown not had an attack of the collywobbles and called off the mooted Autumn election, I would enthusiastically have campaigned with Ming at the helm. But the prospect now of no election until 2009 altered the situation fundamentally. Ming understood that, and with grace and dignity has stood down. He was not stabbed in the back, nor in the front. It was his decision, and it was both a noble and brave one. It must be a huge disapppointment for him, but I believe history will view him kindly. And I am sure he will rally behind whoever is chosen as the next leader, as the Liberal Democrats use the next 18 months — or however long it may be — to show themselves as the party of both political principles and sound policies, dynamic and resolutely on the way up.

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One Response to “Ming’s Dignified Departure”

  1. Mr Orr said

    I think Ming’s biggest problem can be found in his political obituaries (including a fun one over at As A Dodo) – everybody talked about his dignity and courtesy and none about the way he could woo an audience or galvanise his troops. Much the same tributes were paid to Iain Duncan Smith. Sadly, decency – even when combined with Sir Menzies’s obvious intelligence – is not enough to be a party leader, and never was. Without the ability to put fire in his followers’ bellies, Ming never really stood a chance

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