Welcome to the Campbell campaign blog

Shirley Williams explains why she’s backing Ming Campbell (podcast)

February 1st, 2006 by Web Team

I worked with him very closely on Iraq. I think he’s got the capacity to listen to other people, he takes in to account what they have to, what they have to contribute, what they have to say. He’s not somebody who simply dominates from the top and then you know walks through without regard to the contributions other people can make.

Welcome to the fourth Ming Campbell campaign podcast. In this interview, Shirley Williams talks about her personal experience working with Ming in his role as leader of the foreign affairs team and explains why she is backing him to lead the Liberal Democrats.

Download and listen to the Shirley Williams podcast (MP3, 608kB)

If you don’t know what a podcast is, don’t worry. Just select the link above, and if your computer has speakers or headphones, you should be able to listen to the interview. You can find out more about podcasting on the BBC Radio website.

If you do know what a podcast is, and would like to link to the feed in your podcast software, the address of the podcast feed itself is listed at the bottom of the page.

See a complete list of all podcasts »

Read the transcript of the fourth podcast »

Council leaders – a further correction

February 1st, 2006 by Web Team

Two of Ming’s regional campaign organisers have been in touch to point out that we left off two further council leaders who had signed up to the Campbell campaign from the list we published two days ago.

So apologies to Andrew Smith and John Morrison, and here is the latest list of twelve Council Leaders supporting Ming:

  • Cllr Cathy Bakewell, Leader, Somerset County Council
  • Cllr Gill Ferguson, Leader, Waverley Borough Council
  • Cllr Cheryl Green, Leader, Bridgend County Borough Council
  • Cllr Heather Kidd, Leader, South Shropshire District Council
  • Cllr John Morrison, Leader, East Dunbartonshire Council
  • Cllr Simon Partridge, Leader, North Norfolk District Council
  • Cllr Derek Osbourne, Leader, Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Cllr Fraser Reynolds, Leader, Durham City Council
  • Cllr Paull Robathan, Leader, South Somerset District Council
  • Cllr Tony Robertson, Leader, Sefton Council
  • Cllr Andrew Smith, Leader, Chichester District Council
  • Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader, Portsmouth City Council

Two things added to the site

January 31st, 2006 by Web Team

We’ve just added two things to the site:

  • Ming’s personal statement entitled �Policy Themes, Leadership Priorities� in which he identifies the most pressing challenges facing Britain today and how he, as leader, would tackle those issues. Find out more »
  • A button linking to the Dunfermline campaign. As Ming puts it in his latest podcast:

    Dunfermline’s very close to my own constituency and that�s why I think it’s necessary for me to go there as often as I can. We’ve had a lot of help but we could do with more. Anyone who’s listening and wants to go to Dunfermline would be very welcome. I think we’ve a very good candidate in Willy Rennie… We have a very good chance in Dunfermline; we must make sure we take it.

    If you had problems downloading the podcast yesterday night, the links have now been fixed.

Ming Campbell campaign podcast: on the way from Plymouth

January 31st, 2006 by Web Team

Welcome to the third Ming Campbell campaign podcast. In this interview, former BBC and ITN political correspondent David Walter speaks to Ming Campbell MP in a taxi on the way from the Plymouth hustings. There is quite a bit of background noise as a result.

Download and listen to the third Ming Campbell campaign podcast (MP3, 1,514kB)

If you don’t know what a podcast is, don’t worry. Just select the link above, and if your computer has speakers or headphones, you should be able to listen to the interview. You can find out more about podcasting on the BBC Radio website.

If you do know what a podcast is, and would like to link to the feed in your podcast software, the address of the podcast feed itself is listed at the bottom of the page.

Read the transcript of the third podcast »

Council leaders – a correction

January 30th, 2006 by Web Team

One of the other candidates for leadership has been getting very excited about having the backing of eight council leaders, “more than the other candidates combined”. Sadly, this latter assertion is not true.

Just for the record, at the time of writing, the following ten council leaders are publicly backing Ming Campbell:

  • Cllr Cathy Bakewell, Leader, Somerset County Council
  • Cllr Gill Ferguson, Leader, Waverley Borough Council
  • Cllr Cheryl Green, Leader, Bridgend County Borough Council
  • Cllr Heather Kidd, Leader, South Shropshire District Council
  • Cllr Simon Partridge, Leader, North Norfolk District Council
  • Cllr Derek Osbourne, Leader, Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Cllr Fraser Reynolds, Leader, Durham City Council
  • Cllr Paull Robathan, Leader, South Somerset District Council
  • Cllr Tony Robertson, Leader, Sefton Council
  • Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader, Portsmouth City Council

Altogether “the other candidates combined” have more than twice as many council leaders supporting them as the candidate who made the original claim.

David Walter: from the hustings floor

January 29th, 2006 by David Walter

David Walter was Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Torridge and West Devon in 2005:

The hustings in Plymouth cheered South West activists up no end. The events of the past few weeks had taken a bit of a toll. When you toil away year in year out delivering leaflets and raising money for a cause which then suffers a wave of adverse publicity due to events completely beyond your control, it is bound to set you back.

But we have now passed January 23rd, newly recognised as the most depressing day of the year. Our spirits were ripe for revival, and the meeting in Plymouth saw plenty of that. The hustings reminded us that we are not only in politics to achieve Stakhanovite quotas of doorstep leaflet drops, important though that is. We are fighting for a cause.

The hustings audience needed inspiring and Ming Campbell, who spoke first, immediately inspired us. His opening remarks were punctuated by wave upon wave of applause. Ming may be the safe pair of hands candidate, but he is also the candidate who best reminds party members of the values they stand for. I am passionate about our party, he told us, passionate about my politics, determined to lead this party, not for my own sake but for what liberal democracy can achieve.

To delegates used to the gravitas which Ming gives the party, his wit came as a welcome bonus. What a week, he told the audience. Rocked by scandal. Finished as a serious political force. It is hard not to feel sorry for George Galloway. They liked that a lot.

In the question and answer session, Ming had the advantage of being the only leadership candidate with a rural seat. Devon and Cornwall contain some of the most sparsely populated constituencies in the country. The lack of affordable housing for local people is a huge issue. When Ming spoke about house prices in St Andrews in his own constituency driving local people away, he struck a real chord.

Over one of the few issues which divides the leadership candidates, he was also more in tune with local opinion. He pointed out that raising the duty on petrol would be unfair to people in rural areas who have no alternative but to drive cars.

The question of the environment also gave his the opportunity to make a trenchant attack on nuclear power. He pointed out that the nuclear industry demands huge subsidies both to commission and to decommission.

Inevitably, Ming dominated the answers about international affairs. The final questioner asked the panel what they would say to George Bush. Ming was able to tell the audience that he and Charles Kennedy had actually had a thirty-five minute meeting with the US President. The President might have carried on, but they told him that they had to leave to go and vote against the Government. Youre voting against Tony Blair?, the President inquired incredulously.

Mings opponents performed well. There was a good constructive atmosphere. But there was little doubt who had made the strongest impression.

Welcome to Sir Cyril Townsend

January 28th, 2006 by Web Team

Welcome to Sir Cyril Townsend who served as Conservative MP for Bexleyheath from 1974 to 1997 and who, earlier today, announced that has joined the Liberal Democrats.

Sir Cyril attended the first of the Hustings meetings in Plymouth at the weekend, and met Sir Ming Campbell, pledging his personal support.

David Cameron was the author of Michael Howard’s illiberal manifesto just last May. If he believed what he wrote then, how can he believe what he says now? And since he voted for the US invasion of Iraq, and has been continually Eurosceptic, what right has he to our respect for his international intentions?

I am supporting Ming Campbell’s campaign to lead the Liberal Democrats – who I joined last year – because I admire his consistency and integrity, and I believe his distinct radical liberalism would be a breath of fresh air in British politics.

Given that the Conservatives and the media made a big thing a few days ago about the defection of a little-known Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate who came third in West Suffolk earlier this year, I wonder how they will react to the loss of someone who served for 23 years as a Conservative in the House of Commons?

The Independent: ‘Lib Dems can still be the future of British politics’

January 28th, 2006 by Web Team

Andrew Grice writes about the leadership campaign in the Independent:

Sir Menzies’ appeal as the safety-first candidate is even greater now… He is more than a safe pair of hands, and showed his passion in a BBC Radio 4 debate with his rivals this week.

David Walter: a week in the life of the Campbell campaign

January 28th, 2006 by David Walter

Ming enjoys campaigning. This has been his first full week on the trail, and he has been relishing it. A sprinter by training, he has taken to the middle distance contest for the leadership with enthusiasm, setting a fast pace but leaving plenty in reserve for the final spurt.

On Monday, he was in Cornwall at the Eden Project, a natural backdrop against which to set out his strongly held environmental beliefs. Friends of the Earth traditionally gives the political parties green ratings at General Elections. Mings speech was measured by the even tougher green standards of the partys Shadow Environment Secretary Norman Baker. Norman gave it 100% approval.

Later Ming was in Taunton with Jeremy Browne MP. He was cheered by students when he went to speak to Huish Sixth Form College. The discussion ranged over many topics, but they were particularly taken by Mings passionately argued opposition to increasing nuclear power.

He was with students again on Tuesday in Brent with Sarah Teather MP. Much of that discussion revolved round sport, another passion of Mings.

Wednesday saw Mings third outing as Acting Leader at Prime Ministers Questions. He raised the issue of Darfur, on which he has consistently pressed the Government as our Shadow Foreign Secretary. The House listened to him with the respect which he always commands on international issues.

On Wednesday evening, there was a special edition of Any Questions on Radio 4, broadcast from Richmond and featuring the three leadership contenders. Ming spoke with enormous conviction on issues like civil liberties. Our man in the audience with the portable clapometer registered twenty spontaneous rounds of applause for Ming, more than twice the number achieved by either of his rivals. Known Tory and Labour supporters in the audience were heard commenting how effective he was.

Thursday took Ming to the North East, but not at the speed he had hoped. A delay of an hour and thirty-five minutes in the train journey meant that the planned stopover in Durham had to be cancelled. PPC Carol Woods, who cut the Labour majority so impressively at the 2005 General Election, is a strong Campbell supporter. In Newcastle, newspaper and broadcast interest was high because of the events surrounding Simon Hughes. After expressing sympathy for Simon, Ming was able to concentrate to good effect on his campaign messages when he met local members. The majority were clearly with him.

Friday saw Ming behind the wheel of a Formula One car, though only for a picture. He was visiting the Knockhill Racing Circuit in Dunfermline with by-election candidate Willie Rennie.

This week, four more MPs have declared for Ming, John Barrett, Colin Breed, Paul Keetch and Alan Reid.

More news about supporters

January 27th, 2006 by Web Team

A couple of days after launching our list of supporters (showing that we have more MPs, MEPs, Council Group leaders and ordinary party members backing Ming than have publicly supported any other candidate), We’ve just finished posting up the first of what is intended to be a regular series of postings explaining why

Find out more about why Jo Swinson, Nick Clegg, Adrian Sanders, Ed Davey, Graham Watson and Chris Davies are backing Ming on our new ‘Why I’m backing Ming’ page.

If you’d rather listen to Nick Clegg’s thoughts on the topic, you can also download the podcast where David Walter interviews Nick about his support for Ming

.

Ming Campbell campaign podcast: David Walter interviews Nick Clegg

January 26th, 2006 by Web Team

Nick Clegg MPWelcome to the second Ming Campbell campaign podcast. In this interview, former BBC and ITN political correspondent David Walter speaks to Nick Clegg MP about Ming Campbell and the campaign to date.

Download and listen to the second Ming Campbell campaign podcast featuring Nick Clegg’s views on Ming Campbell and the campaign to date (MP3, 1,139kB)

If you don’t know what a podcast is, don’t worry. Just select the link above, and if your computer has speakers or headphones, you should be able to listen to the interview. You can find out more about podcasting on the BBC Radio website.

If you do know what a podcast is, and would like to link to the feed in your podcast software, the address of the podcast feed itself is listed at the bottom of the page.

Read the transcript of the second podcast »

Boost for Campbell as MPs back leadership bid: The Scotsman

January 26th, 2006 by Web Team

Encouraging news from the Scotsman:

SIR Menzies Campbell won the backing of every Scottish Liberal Democrat MP for the leadership race bar Charles Kennedy as nominations closed yesterday.

Two previously undecided MPs declared their support for Sir Menzies last night: John Barrett (Edinburgh West) and Alan Reid (Argyll and Bute).

List of supporters added to the site

January 26th, 2006 by Web Team

We went live today with the list of (at the time of writing) 565 people who are supporting Ming’s campaign to be Leader of the Party. It’s a pretty strong list by any assessment – including 28 MPs, 5 MEPs, 35 Peers, 4 MSPs, 2 AMs, 69 councillors and 413 other party members – and a sign of the depth of support Ming has attracted.

You can read the list of supporters via the menu to the left.

If you are supporting Ming and want to be added to the list of supporters then follow this weblink and sign up today or email backingming@campbellcampaign.org.

The Times: three strong arguments for Ming Campbell

January 24th, 2006 by Web Team

Tim Hames sets out three strong arguments for supporting Ming Campbell in yesterday’s Times.

It seems to me that there are three strong arguments for Sir Menzies.

The first is the need for the Liberal Democrats to achieve (positive) media exposure Leaders of third parties, alas, have no automatic right to a prominent place on the nations airwaves.

Paddy Ashdown punched above his weight in this respect because his past career meant that he was regarded as possessing an expertise on military matters. Sir Menziess established track record means that television producers will have few qualms about calling on him to comment on international developments.

The second argument is the obligation on a leader of a third party to play himself off against his two larger rivals. Mr Kennedy could do that against Tony Blair and William Hague/Iain Duncan Smith/Michael Howard, yet did not seem such a convincing prospect competing with Gordon Brown and David Cameron in 2009-2010. In an ideal world, the Liberal Democrats might now select their equivalent to Mr Cameron in Nick Clegg, the young MP for Sheffield Hallam. He, rightly, senses that it is not his time. There is a logical case, therefore, in the Liberal Democrats opting for the Not Mr Cameron candidate. Mr Brown and Sir Menzies together might say to the electorate that the choice was one of Men against Boys.

The final factor concerns political arithmetic. The result of the last general election means that a hung Parliament is a realistic prospect next time. That was not so in 1997, 2001 or 2005. It means that the Liberal Democrats could and should be prepared to form a coalition. To fulfil that role, they have to be seen as capable of working with either Labour or the Conservatives depending on the balance of seats after the election.

They have to appear responsible as well as radical, which demands that the plausible stance on tax and spending promoted by Vince Cable and David Laws (both of whom are in the Campbell camp) is adopted wholesale. The Liberal Democrat leader himself has to come across as the sort of chap who could carry a ministerial red box with conviction.

Read Tim Hames’s complete article »

Ming visits Dunfermline by-election

January 23rd, 2006 by Web Team

Ming visits the Dunfermline by-election with Nicol Stephen MSP and candidate Willie Rennie

Ming visited the Dunfermline by-election on Saturday and the Lib Dem campaign is going really well. The seat is close to his and he intends to be there at least once a week over the course of the by-election campaign. Campaign team member, Kevin Lang, was also there:

There was a really warm and friendly reception for Ming and for our by-election candidate Willie Rennie. There’s a real energy to the campaign and it looks as if we could be on track for another upset.

Find out more about the Dunfermline by-election campaign »

Chris Davies MEP: Why I’m backing the pinstriped radical

January 23rd, 2006 by Web Team

Chris Davies MEPChris Davies wrote the following comments for the Liverpool Echo:

It was 10 years ago. Ming Campbell was addressing the Liberal Democrat conference and I was waiting my turn to speak. I saw on the stage an establishment figure dressed in a pinstriped suit, every inch a Scottish barrister. He’s too far to the right for me, I thought.

Then I listened to his words. People often think Ming Campbell talks sense about difficult issues. As the party’s foreign affairs spokesman he has gained respect across the party divide. But what I heard displayed not just wisdom but also passion, a fierce commitment to the promotion of human rights and individual freedom across the world. My kind of Liberal, I thought.

Liberal Democrats have more MPs than at any time since the 1920s but we are still the third party. If we are to grow then our leader has to look like a potential Prime Minister. Campbell fits the bill.

His first priority will be to tackle the most important issue of all, the future of life on this planet. “It’s the environment, the
environment and the environment,” he says, that plus a fight against the poverty that divides and weakens our society.

This is a man who grew up in a tenement. He was lucky, he went to university and became an Olympic athlete. But anyone who grew up in Glasgow during the 1950s knows something about poverty. He thinks it unjust that those on low wages pay proportionately more in tax than high earners.

To move forward on Merseyside our party has to turn its local support into parliamentary victories. Campbell understands the task ahead. He took the Liberals from fourth place to win his North East Fife seat. He knows what it’s like to be a party activist fighting an uphill struggle.

Exactly 100 years ago another Liberal leader called Campbell took the party to its greatest every election victory, and presided over a radical, reforming government whose members included Asquith, Lloyd George and Churchill. The present day Campbell possesses authority, wisdom and common sense in abundance. I want him to set his sights just as high.

Thank you to the bloggers backing Ming

January 21st, 2006 by Web Team

Thank you to the increasing number of bloggers who’ve said that they are backing Ming.

  • Dave Smithson appears to have been fastest off the mark backing Ming on his blog on January 9.
  • Dave Radcliffe has also had a rather fine “Backing Menzies Campbell for Leader” button on his site since the earliest days of the campaign.
  • MatGB isn’t a Lib Dem member, but earns a mention for his positive comments about our website.
  • Stephen Tall announced his support by listing eight reasons why he was backing Ming on January 19.
  • And yesterday, Andy Darley blogged that he is backing Ming because of Ming’s performance on Question Time last Thursday.

As we pick up more entries, we’ll continue to post them on the blog.

Nick Clegg sets out why he believes Ming Campbell is the right leader for the Liberal Democrats

January 21st, 2006 by Web Team

In this morning’s Guardian, Nick Clegg sets out why he believes Ming Campbell is the right leader for the Liberal Democrats.

We’ve also posted a copy of his article on this site.

Welcome to the first Ming Campbell podcast

January 19th, 2006 by Web Team

David Walter interviews Ming CampbellWelcome to what is intended to be the first of many Ming Campbell podcasts. In the attached interview, former BBC and ITN political correspondent David Walter speaks to Ming Campbell about the last 7 days of the campaign.

Download and listen to the first Ming Campbell podcast (MP3, 707kB)

If you don’t know what a podcast is, don’t worry. Just select the link above, and if your computer has speakers or headphones, you should be able to listen to the interview. You can find out more about podcasting on the BBC Radio website.

If you do know what a podcast is, and would like to link to the feed in your podcast software, the address of the podcast feed itself is listed at the bottom of the page.

Read the transcript of the first podcast

Ming on Question Time tonight

January 19th, 2006 by Web Team

We’ve just heard that Ming is going to be on Question Time tonight on BBC One at 10.35pm.

David Dimbleby will be joined for the interactive debate by Chris Bryant MP, Alan Duncan MP, Sir Menzies Campbell MP, vice chair of the Respect Party Salma Yaqoob, and Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch UK.

Update: The video of Question Time is now available to watch on the BBC’s Question Time home page.

Campaign launch

January 19th, 2006 by Web Team

Ming Campbell’s campaign will be launched at 2.30 in the Atrium, 4 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA, today.

The speakers (in order) will be:

  • Jo Swinson MP
  • Mike Storey, former Leader, Liverpool City Council
  • Baroness Shirley Williams
  • Nick Clegg MP
  • Sir Menzies Campbell MP

What the Papers Say: 19th January

January 19th, 2006 by Web Team

The Independent carries a very positive profile of Ming by Andrew Grice, headlined “Campbell plans to ditch 50p tax for top earners.” “His programme will be fairer taxes, not higher taxes”, it says. It also quotes Ming saying:

“I have had three lives: in sport, the law and in politics. I have had a very full life. I have been very lucky to have it. I want to know why more people dont get that chance.”

Elsewhere in the paper, sketchwriter Simon Carr comments on Mings performance at Prime Ministers Questions.

“He asked a perfectly good question: why is the police computer thats to track these things three years behind schedule? The Prime Minister had no answer to that.”

The Glasgow Herald also features an interview with Ming. Again Political Editor Catherine MacLeod draws attention to Mings views on tax.

“Sir Menzies embraced the possibility of imposing higher taxes on the wealthy and on the countrys polluters.”

She also asks him about Charles Kennedys resignation. Ming tells her:

“I believe that I did everything in my power to try to help Charles Kennedy and to try to support him in the difficult circumstances in which he found himself.”

Several papers flag up todays official launch of Ming’s campaign. The Press Association quotes his words from last nights Channel Four News interview on the tax issue:

“He said under his leadership the Liberal Democrats would seek to reverse the situation where the poorest ten per cent of the population pay a higher proportion of their income than the rich.”

BBC report: “Campbell outlines leadership credentials”

January 16th, 2006 by Web Team

The BBC have uploaded a video of Ming’s complete speech at the Meeting the Challenge conference onto their news site.

BBC video: “Campbell outlines leadership credentials”

Sir Menzies Campbell said the Lib Dems needed to be more ambitious and tackle poverty, in his leadership campaign speech.

He said Britain was “crying out” for a liberal alternative and the party needed an “experienced” leader to deliver it.

Downloadable nomination form

January 15th, 2006 by Web Team

We’ve added a downloadable nomination form to the site to make it as a easy as possible for supporters to put their nominations in for Ming. We are looking to collect as many nominations from party members from as many local parties as possible.

Please feel free to download the nomination form and print it out if you would like to sign personally or collect signatures from other party members – also feel free to forward the link, or the form, to other people who you think might be willing to help collect signatures.

You can also register to help our campaign in other ways on our registration page.

PS: Some people were having problems with downloading the form in Internet Explorer (quick tip from the webteam: Firefox is better). This should now be fixed. If you have any further technical problems with this site, please email us at webteam@campbellcampaign.org.

“A Liberal Democrat you can imagine sitting in a cabinet.”

January 15th, 2006 by Web Team

There’s an excellent article about the leadership election by Andrew Rawnsley in this Sunday’s Observer.

The stability, authority and unity candidate is Sir Menzies Campbell. It is a testimony to the respect in which he is held that he enjoys the support of so many MPs as well as two former leaders.

For a Conservative party trying to rejuvenate its appeal, it made huge sense to select a young leader. The Lib Dems’ problem is their credibility gap. There is a strong case that, for them, an older leader is precisely what they need to convey gravitas.

Authority and certainty seem to me to be a powerful asset in a fluxing and risk-strewn political environment for the third party.

Join the Liberal Democrats now to vote in the leadership election

January 13th, 2006 by Web Team

A quick reminder that only current members will be able to vote in the leadership election. If you are a party supporter and would like to have a vote, you need to join before nominations close on January 25th.
The fastest way to join or rejoin is via the web or via the phone.
You can use your debit or credit card over the phone by ringing the Liberal Democrats on 020 7227 1335 or join online at http://www.libdems.org.uk/support/.

To be a Liberal Democrat is to be a moderniser

January 13th, 2006 by Web Team

There’s a statement from Sir Menzies in the Times today setting out his vision for the country and the party. We’ve also posted a copy on this site.

Two new endorsements

January 13th, 2006 by Web Team

The Sutton Guardian has the news that Tom Brake MP and Paul Burstow MP will be backing Ming.

“My priorities? The environment, the environment, the environment.”

January 13th, 2006 by Web Team

There’s an excellent in depth interview in today’s Guardian setting out Sir Menzies’s views across a range of issues: his upbringing, his Olympic career, his policy priorities and his vision for the party.

Taking a risk

January 12th, 2006 by Archy Kirkwood

When we sat down to discuss the internet campaign for the leadership election, Ming was absolutely adamant that it should be a listening campaign. That we shouldn’t just be putting his views across, but also running the campaign in a way that meant we were hearing the views of the party’s members and supporters.

To that end, we’ve put a blog onto our site and to decided to allow comments on the blog. On some other political blogs, a minority have abused this opportunity: we’d prefer people to stay on topic and maintain a civil discourse with other readers; however, we want people to feel free to engage in discussion on most subjects. As a last resort, we do reserve the right to remove or edit comments that are rude, derogatory, discriminatory, libelous, slanderous, uncivil, include inappropriate language or violate copyright – but our intention is that this should be very rare. We’re keen to keep this channel open ongoing: if you have any ideas as to how we can do this most effectively, please let us know.