Friday, 22 September 2006

Charles Kennedy on Question Time

It is always tough for the party representative to go on Question Time the day that the autumn conference finishes. Usually this is because the events of the week are fresh in the audiences mind and any faux pas made by or at conference is liable to be held up to ridicule.

This year the choice of Charles Kennedy to be our representative made it a matter of waiting for the ineffitable question and seeing how it was handled. The question came in the form:

What does the future hold for a political party when the ex-leader outshines the present leader at party conference?

The wording allowed Charles to attempt to side step the issue by mentioning that he did not think that Paddy Ashdown's comments about his own speech would have ramifications on Ming's leadership. He also turned the question over to next week in waiting to see if the leader in waiting might outshine the leader at Labour's Conference.

David Dimbleby however would not let Charles get away with saying anything is possible in politics and wanted a yes or no answer as to whether he would like to be leader again. Problem is David as Charles is well aware a lot of things can happen in politics. Though I hope the party never can again fit all its MPs into one London Cab nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. After all Alex Salmond seems to revel in a recurring role as leader of the SNP. William Hague has turned down his lucarative private income to resume a seat on the Tory front bench.

Both Hague and Kennedy may have a long time to go in Westminster, who can say what will happen. After all the last time all three main parties changed their leaders in one parliament was 1974-79, Callaghan replaced Wilson, Thatcher usurped Heath and David Steel took over from Jo Grimmond. So we live in interesting times.

One that was heartening/discouraging (depending on you take of it) was Harriet Harman lazy approach to preparing for the first QT of the session. Knowing that CK was going to be on she admitted not listening to Ming's speech, surely she must have guessed at the question that would come. SHe also seemed ill at ease and unprepared for the questions on John Reid and Foreign policy, or maybe that was just because even she didn't believe the answers she ended up spurting out.

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