I have received today a very pleasant comment on a previous post concerning my (negative) views on the electability of Mr Kennedy.
Steve Guy said:
Having just attended a presentation of the 2005 British Electoral Survey (http://www.essex.ac.uk/bes) a couple of things you should know are: 1) The personal rating of Charles Kennedy was a HUGE factor in increasing Lib Dem votes, 2) It takes a swing of just 3% away from Labour to produce a hung parliament, but a massive 12% to deliver a Tory majority - so the Tories really should start being a bit nicer to the Lib Dems. The odd of the LDs holding the balance of power next time out are very high.
To which I would respond:
1. I am unable to fathom any possible way in which Kennedy inspired votes, but that's beside the point.
2. Your % swing analysis merely highlights the differing aspirations and expectations that we seek from our politics. We aim at outright Government. The Libs aspire solely to being a weak and uninfluencial partner. That really matters because majorities within electorates back winners.
3. We Tories are being kind to the Libs. We have helped motivate you to pick a better leader; we are even constantly promoting your best potential candidate - Mr Clegg (see you've got me doing it now!); and we are offering a more influencial home to your more sensible Orange Bookers.
Most modern Tories would be delighted to work a little more closely with the Liberals, but before that can happen we need to press them into defining who and what they are. For too long they have wandered about in a world of contradiction and global platitudes.
Please don't think that Cameron hasn't thought this one through - he has, and whichever way the Libs fall, he wins.
You can go East and he will pick up lots of votes and all your serious, young Orange Bookers in a stampede across the floor or you can go West and he picks up an election winning (Junior) ally, that, as you rightly observe, can influence the outcome of the next election. Which ever way you look at it, you are going to propel Cameron into Govt.
And to think that we Tories have struggled with how to deal with the Libs for all these years and the answer so simple.