I began to comment on this thread, and then thought my comments a little lengthy and put them here!
I think this whole leadership thing is a bit of a red herring just now. I publicly backed Huhne when the contest was held – and I gave my reasons at the time. But on the day Ming won out – probably because he was more well known among the rank and file. I pledged to respect that decision and I will. I do think Huhne’s day will come – for all the reasons you give in your article. But the idea that we should lynch our leader over the local results last week is preposterous. Nothing would give Labour and the Tories more pleasure.
Let’s put last week’s results into some kind of perspective. Overall, we slipped slightly – but still have many more councillors than the party of government, Labour. If you begin to study the results in some detail – you see that they are very inconsistent. In some areas, we have done exceptionally well – and in others, disappointingly badly. The truth is that those areas where we did well were those in which we fought better locally. And in some cases, we slipped up badly at the local level.
When I was canvassing on the doorstep, not once was Ming mentioned by any voter. Almost every question I was asked was about what we would do locally. Some Labour voters stayed at home because of dissatisfaction with Blair and his cronies, and the Tories are beginning to see a revival in their fortunes in some areas – but that’s about all we can conclude nationally.
To Lib Dems who had bad results in their areas last week, ask yourselves honestly what were the local factors. Ming was almost certainly not to blame!