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Saturday, January 28, 2006


I will admit my opinion of Ming is severely influenced by his position on (wait for it) Yugoslavia. This is not unreasonable, indeed in his email calling on us to vote for him he said that his opposition to the recent war & respect for international law were reasons to support. He must expect questions on his respect for law, or otherwise, during the Yugoslav war. Indeed I have emailed him with precisely that question & will let you know if he, or more likely, some follower, cares to answer.

The problem is his was very much on the "otherwise" front. I own the Hansards for the 2 debtes on the Kosovo war on 25th March 1999 & 19th April 1999. Throughout the entire Yugoslav wars he was entirly supportive of the NATO position. During the first debate he said that
a humanitarian tragedy that has arisen not by accident of nature, but as a result of the persistent & calculated actions of Serbian forces in deliberately targeting Albanian citizens
& in the second that starting the war was justified because Milosevic was guilty of
the most brutal & despicable ethnic cleansing
. These were said to the House of Commons & were said for the purpose of encouraging a war that killed thousands which, if they were untrue, was a criminal act worse than simple murder.

It is not merely that these statements have been proven, in a 3 year "trial" to have been untrue, or at least totally unsubstantiable, the fact it is that Mr Campbell knew, at the time, that he was lying. 2 Months before the outbreak of war Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, told Parliament that it the majority of those killed were not Albanians killed by the Yugoslavs but Serb civilians killed by our KLA allies. Every MP (including Mr Cook) must thus be understood to have known that it was our KLA friends who were deliberately targeting civilians & that consequently the war was being fought quite deliberately to assist, in not to prevent, genocide. Only Tony Benn was sufficiently impolite to remind Cook of his statement.

Ming lied deliberately about Serbian atrocities before the war (also during the war).

He lied deliberately to the Commmons.

He lied deliberately for the purpose of assisting in a war crime.

He lied deliberately to assist an organisation (the KLA) whom he specificly knew to be terrorists currently engaged in genocide, in conscious imitation of the policy of Adolf Hitler.

All these things are undeniable. I will grant there is an argument that everybody supported genocide back then, or at least a lot of people & that most of those who spoke that day also lied because the Commons wanted to be lied to (I'll do a post giving more qotes sometime). Nonetheless I submit that being a corrupt war criminal assisting in genocide should disqualify one from leadership of a decent political organisation.

I will put another personal point here since I should distinguish such matters. When I pushed the Scottish Lib Dems into passing a fairly reasonable motion on Yugoslavia (it called for war crimes trials to be non-racial & to include Clinton & Kohl) I wrote to him to draw his attention to it. I got back a prepinted postcard. You can say, correctly, this put my nose out of joint but it also seems to me that this showed a major disrespect for the decisions of his party conference.

Other points against Ming:

He is too old. If the Lib Dems got rid of Charlie partly because they panicked at the thought of Cameron being younger & more photogenic, then Campbell is a flawed choice.

In conversation, last Sunday down the pub with a journalist friend, he asked me if I had ever met Ming. When I said no he said he had and
"He's an arsehole, with no ideas of his own."
I cannot confirm this I merely report it but it seems a bad sign for a leader.

This one comes with a warning. It is taken from Iain Dale's Diary & he (unlike our local Iain Dale) is a Tory who, despite his professed sympathy for the Lib Dem's problems is clearly fishing in troubled water. Nonetheless, if this is even close to true it is a problem that makes him considerably less able to lead than Charlie was.

This is from a doctor. When reading it, bear in mind that Sir Ming says he has fully recovered from a form of cancer known as Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.

"There has been a lot of sanctimonious bottywipe talked about poor old Charlie. His mistake was not being a lush, but not coming clean about it earlier. Had he done that, he could have got away with it. Look at President George W. Meanwhile, Ming is taking full advantage of Charlie's health problems. But Ming is telling porkies too. He has not "beaten" cancer as the press delight in saying. He is (I hope) in remission. Frankly, looking at him as a doctor, I have my doubts about his health. He looks pretty emaciated to me - he is beginning to resemble Sir Alec Douglas Doom. We need a declaration from Ming's oncologists that he is fit to become leader. We need to know what the odds are that he will alive/fit to fight the next election. I am not a bookmaker. But medically I would say less than 50%."

There is also the question of to what extent Ming stabbed Charles in the back, or at least failed to give him the support a leader is due. This is a very important point, as anybody who understands Shakespeare knows, but while I cannot ignore it I have no knowledge or conclusions which are not already current so I will leave it at that.

It was noticeable that Campbell - when asked to comment by journalists immediately following Kennedy's announcement that he was wee bit too fond of the booze - was very far from supportive of his leader.

As to his age, well you know what they say about young Cardinals and old Popes. Campbell is seen as a safe pair of hands to guide them - in the short term - through some choppy waters. The real problem is that the Lib Dems don't seem to know which way to jump, left or right? They can't seem to agree, and that is there real problem which has been exacerbated by the arrival of David Cameron as Tory leader.
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