With Britain’s third party, the Liberal Democrats, facing electoral wipe-out according to current polls, two senior party members have just announced that the leader, Sir Menzies (pron. Ming) Campbell, has resigned. If there was a passive version of the verb “to resign,” that would have been more appropriate. As Fraser Nelson says,
The brutality is breathtaking. Where is Ming? Gagged and bound somewhere? Can Coffee House readers remember that last party leader who was not even allowed the dignity of announcing his own resignation? You can smell the grapeshot.
The question now is which direction any new Liberal leader will take the party. There are internal tensions between two wings: one wants the party to be much more leftist, the other tends towards Classical Liberalism (with “social relevance,” of course). One will take votes from Labour, the other from the Conservatives. They can’t go on trying to take votes from both any more. With the elephants fighting over the center ground of British politics, the grass has gotten trampled.