Anorak News | The Nice Man Cometh

The Nice Man Cometh

by | 23rd, September 2005

‘AS the LibDems cycle away from their party’s conference in Blackpool, their minds will be full of hope that tomorrow brings with it a new “sensible, genuine and mature” way.

‘And can everyone please try to buy as many scratchcards and lottery tickets as possible’

That’s what Charles Kennedy told us his leadership of Britain’s third biggest party is all about, as the Times reports.

Taking the stand for his close of rally speech, Kennedy gave it to the assembled crowd with his red hair blazing and a white hanky cooling the ardour in his fiery cheeks.

But what did Kennedy have to say? The fans liked it – Steve Webb, MP for North Avon, was impressed with Kennedy’s “passion”; Chris Huhne, MP for Eastleigh, said the speech was “delivered with passion”; and David Law, MP for Yeovil, says this was Kennedy’s “most passionate speech”.

So much for the passion. What about the substance? Well, that was just the usual interminable political rhetoric. Aside from telling us how mature and nice he is, Kennedy wants a “fair, decent, tolerant society that tackled poverty, spread opportunity and paid its debt to the elderly”.

The “angry carrot” wants us all to just jog along nicely, with him achieving the impossible dream of setting the steady pace from the front and helping along the infirm bringing up the rear.

But while the Telegraph calls the speech a “desperate defence of his leadership”, and sees him take the applause in a five-minute standing ovation, the Times is distracted by other news of the LibDems.

Just as Kennedy was withdrawing from the Tory leadership race – “I did not enter public life with the ambition of leading yet another conservative party in British politics” – the Times was spotting a possible scandal.

The paper’s front page says that the Liberal Democrat party is being investigated by the Electoral Commission over a £2.4 million donation from 5th Avenue Partners.

But since the company is owned by a Swiss-based financier who is not registered to vote in Britain, one Michael Brown, there is concern that the donation did no comply with the laws banning political parties from taking foreign money.

For his part, Mr Brown is upset that the party might have failed to adhere to the rules. “If the people who handled my donation were elected to run the economy, I would not be happy – it would be disastrous,” says he.

He then says that he would be “delighted” if the Electoral Commission ordered the LibDems to repay the money.

Good for him. But what of the party? What would the LibDems do if they had to repay the cash? It’s a large amount, and, as the Times says, Brown’s gift is worth ten times more than the party has ever received from a single benefactor.

So how would the LibDems raise the funds? Send in your ideas, old stamps and shiny bottle tops to us and we’ll forward them to Kennedy and his followers.

But to get the ball rolling, how about a sponsored fun run? Oh, and don’t worry, what with this being a LibDem event, all entrants get to finish first and last. It’s a massive dead heat…’

Posted: 23rd, September 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink