There isn’t any point echoing Alex’s authoritative post on the trident debate/leader’s speech, much of which I agree with (I’ll save my disagreements for a mega-post on coalitions which I am working myself up to), but I did want to make two observations;
Made for TV speech
First, more than any other leader – or indeed other senior Lib Dem – that I’ve seen give conference speeches Ming’s are the ones that are most squarely aimed at a TV audience. All leaders speeches have to balance the demands of the audience in the hall with the audience at home, but I have been struck by just how different Ming’s speeches come across when watched on a screen. That is not a criticism. Although the made for TV approach may be one reason why he seems to have a problem with the endings.
However, it should also be pointed out that Ming’s speech in the trident debate was most definitely one made for the hall. That is not a criticism either.
Scary Ming or Angry Ming?
Second, when I supported Ming in the leadership election it was in hope that the party would end up being led by “Scary Ming”. I don’t think we’ve yet got “Scary Ming”.
But what we have got, from time to time, is “Angry Ming”.
The leader clearly intervened in the trident debate because he was angry with the way the debate was going and angry with some of the arguments being used. You could tell. As a result those of us in the hall got a ticking off which I didn’t find particularly pleasant and heard some powerfully put arguments a lot of which I didn’t agree with. Nevertheless, “Angry Ming” took a risk, nailed up his colours, and was rewarded.
We have a leader who is often motivated by that most basic of political emotions – anger – and I have to say, I rather like that.
This content was originally posted on my old Process Guy blog.