My thoughts on the thorny issue of the leadership are fairly simple. I still think Nick's doing okay and should continue to be supported. Before they come for me, here's why.
Nick should still be leader of the Lib Dems in 2015 and the increasing calls
for him to resign just miss the point entirely. Seriously, if Lembit says something you've got to be reassured if you disagree. The phrase 'lost the plot' just doesn't do his present state of mind justice. However, others with greater control of their faculties have said this, so it needs to be considered.
Nick should be supported because he gets it. The Tories are working
with us but it is rather like sharing a pit with a python. You might
help each other to get out but never take your eyes off it. They will
attack us as soon as they think the time is right and it seems to me
that Nick recognises this. He appears to know that this is a long game and he is playing it cool.
Come 2015, those vipers (I know, different snake) will strike and we need to react and hit them back hard. If we can show that we tamed them for 5 years and did the good stuff like cutting taxes we might just do well. If.
What could a Tim Farron or Simon Hughes
bring to the party beyond further antagonising the Tory right. Great guys both but not right for the job at the moment. And any
calls for the Blessed Vince to step up to the plate are likely to fall
on deaf ears as Vince is clearly unhappy in the coalition and he just
doesn't seem to want the leader's job.
All those calling for Nick's head need to answer two simple questions: who would replace him and where would they take us?
I've been on the doorsteps in the past few weeks and I've had the arguments. The strange thing was that most people were willing to listen. They may not agree but I got a good impression that we can still connect. We won two seats here and we held and achieved good results in many areas around the south. That is small comfort for other areas but it shows that our arguments still work.
We should not ditch the pilot before we are sure he's the problem and that there is a replacement pilot eating peanuts in business class. At the moment I'm not sure there is.