Monday, 28 March 2011

The rise and fall of a Lib Dem candidate for Mayor

Dominic Carman: Why I want to be Mayor of London (23/03/11)

"London needs someone with muscular liberalism. I believe I have the right combination of political commitment... This makes me determined to fight to win the Lib Dem nomination...

"In May 1982, a Labour candidate stood in a by-election. The Labour Party was then in opposition, not in government. The candidate saw his vote collapse and he lost his deposit. But the party believed in him and his abilities. A year later, he was given a safe Labour seat, which he won comfortably at the 1983 general election. I knew the candidate, and talked with him about the campaign, before and after his by-election defeat. It taught me never to be deterred by defeat, but to use the experience to advantage – to fight on and win. The candidate’s name? Tony Blair."

Dominic Carman: Why I don't want to be Mayor of London (28/03/11)

Given other commitments, I have reached the conclusion that I cannot financially afford to run an effective campaign as the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor...

So it turns out Dominic's liberalism is not quite as muscular as he made out. 

Still at least we'll be spared the ordeal of watching Dominic blame Londoners for his defeat, in the same way that he blamed Barnsley residents for his sixth place position earlier this month.

Dominic and others are now backing London Assembly Member Mike Tuffrey instead as the only viable Stop Lembit candidate for 2012.

This seems like a sensible choice. Unlike Lembit, Mike is expert on both Ken and Boris's time in office and will be able to hold his own at the hustings.

Where Tuffrey will struggle is in gaining any substantial media coverage in a race that will inevitably be dominated by the Ken-Boris rematch.

Lembit would be able to get some of that coverage, but unfortunately it would not be the kind of coverage that the Lib Dems really want or need. 

Because of this many Lib Dem members are deeply uneasy about a Lembit candidacy for reasons which Mark Pack has outlined today.

If current polling trends continue the party are likely to struggle with whoever they choose, but at least with Tuffrey they would not be embarrassed.

Lembit, Mike and the Orange bookers.

Tuffrey is now said to be mulling over whether to stand, as is at least one other candidate and the selection process is not due to start until after the May elections.

Of course if those elections go as badly as some are predicting then there will be far bigger questions for the party to decide than who to pick in London.

The biggest of those is the future direction of the party and as part of their pitches, both Carman and Lembit positioned themselves as unhappy about the increasing closeness between Cameron and Clegg.

Tuffrey on the other hand is not known to have voiced similar concerns and he is widely thought to be far closer to the Orange Book wing of the party than Lembit.

For this reason Tuffrey may well be favoured by the party leader, although as we've seen from his non-apperance in Barnsley, an endorsement from Clegg is not quite the fillip to a Lib Dem campaign that it once was.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Dominic Carman was persuaded to drop his campaign so as to give Tuffrey a clear run at Lembit?

AdamB said...

I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case