Liberal Democrat leader resigns

With little prospect of a General Election before 2009, if then, it makes sense for Sir Menzies Campbell to step down as leader of the Liberal Democrats now rather than later. That won’t stop questions being asked about whether the jump came when he was about to be pushed.. And with Lembit Opik having already declared an interest in a different post.. candidates for the leadership position have yet to break cover. The resignation was announced by the Liberal Democrat party President Simon Hughes and deputy leader, Vince Cable. Adds Idle chatter, on Saturday, from a Norfolk blogger. And Menzies Campbell’s resignation letter. Another addition. Despite not being able to view the Flash movie involved, I’ve been recommended to add Matt Buck’s Hack Cartoon for Channel 4 News.

  • IJP

    There are too few people willing to make decisions like this one.

    So entirely well done Sir Menzies.

    He wasn’t delivering, it was evident he wouldn’t deliver, so he did the honourable thing.

    I’m not sure they’ll do much better with the replacement either, mind.

  • ulsterfan

    Not a great surprise.

  • pith

    IJP, Deliver what?

  • pete whitcroft

    Do you have to be an MP or can David Ford MLA have a go.

  • qubol

    That would be hilarious – David Ford as leader of the Lib Dems. could you imagine it.

  • Dewi

    The Norfolk blogger link not working for me – directs you back here.
    You would have thought that he would have at least hung on to fight an election. Resignation letter a bit bitter – but these Lib Dems are a ruthless lot as you would know if you had run council election campaigns against them…

  • Pete Baker

    Try it now, Dewi.

  • Dewi


  • BOM

    It is a pity some of the NI Leaders wouldnt take note!

  • Outsider

    I neve felt he was a very good leader, whilst I differed greatly on a political basis with the man I felt his general tactics etc were wrong.

    For instance he continually tried to boost his profile by appearing on episode after episode of ‘Question Time’ with David Dimbeley.

    In addition to this his one trick pony seemed to be the war in Iraq and his opposition to it and in addition to this some of his policies were so far to the left they would have made George Galloway blush. He once said that there were 100,000 illegal immigrants in the UK and that the government should be working around the clock to legalise them regardless of the immigrants history.

    He may have been a nice person but I’m glad he has finally stepped down.

  • Cadiz

    The Lib Dems were infiltrated by several sexual liberation groups and were never the same again. They spent as much time worrying about how to repeal the SOA 2003 as they did debating WMD etc.

    Given the fact that making porn movies of girls & kids at Falls Road swimmers is apparently not illegal, one might argue that the SOA 2003 (as is) should have suited the Lib Dems down to the ground.

  • There doesn’t seem to be any mention of the role of Lib Dem blogs in his departure, but on The World at One, they claimed that it was the bloggers who were the main force behind the calls for his resignation, and that was only a few hours before he announced his demission.

  • The Dubliner

    It’s the Blairization of British politics: all party leaders should be in their early forties, energetic, smile a lot, have nice hairstyles, bounce a football on their heads, and should be devoid of integrity, principles, wisdom and vision. Bland is best.

  • pith

    Blairization has not completely taken over British politics. Paisley only fits the “devoid of” criteria. And the smiling.

  • I Wonder

    “some of his policies were so far to the left they would have made George Galloway blush.”

    ??? Such as…?

  • The Dubliner

    pith, try running Paisley as a leader of a mainstream British party and see if your claim still holds. 😉

  • The Lib Dems were infiltrated by several sexual liberation groups and were never the same again.

    Quote of the day!

  • Nevin
  • pith

    The Dubliner,

    Much as I would like to watch Paisley play header tennis with Kevin Keegan, it is impossible to picture him as the leader of a mainstream British party. He just isn’t British like Finchley.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Lib Dems were infiltrated by several sexual liberation groups and were never the same again.

    Fruitcake alert!

    There’s dirty business going on inside the Lib Dems. I can’t believe that all of the rumours against Campbell were inspired entirely by the media themselves; I’m sure they were being briefed. On the other hand, Campbell became leader himself in similar circumstances, with whisperings against Charles Kennedy causing him to step down.

  • Gréagóir O’ Frainclín

    Sir Menzies came across as a fair minded quaint old gent, but he was too old for the party. For the Lib Dems to do well in an election they will need a young English man to lead the party. For parties to do well in Britain lately the leader must be English, representing the greater English public, who afterall are the driving force of the Union. It may be part of his downfall Browne being a Jock, although who’d vote for pasty faced smarmy Tory boy Cameron, with the copycat Blair charm. The provinciality of Kinnock, Smith and Kennedy’s may have hindered their party’s political progress as well. Thatcher, Major, Blair of late = all English. Browne unelected yet by an English public. Somewhat conflict of interest too a Scottish PM cheering on an England rugby team.

  • Nevin

    Blair has some English roots; he also has roots in Scotland – and south Donegal. He represented an English constituency. That makes him ‘cosmopolitan’.

  • IJP


    Votes and seats, basically.

  • Nevin
  • “The Lib Dems were infiltrated by several sexual liberation groups and were never the same again.”

    “There’s dirty business going on inside the Lib Dems.”

    Fruitcake perhaps but are you supporting his thesis! 😉

  • Outsider

    ??? Such as…?

    I wonder

    Read my post again about immigration.

  • Outsider
    The Liberal Democrats proposed an amnesty for those who have been living in Britain without the proper authorisation for more than 10 years. This would be conditional on certain safeguards being met.
    I believe the American Republicans have proposed a similar amnesty to deal with their problem of illegal immigration.
    Years ago Kuwait did a similar thing.I knew a Filipino woman who had taken advantage of the amnesty and was able to return with the proper visa.This individual was a fine, hardworking person.

  • cadiz

    “Fruitcake alert!”

    I am the head of an anti-prostitution charity

    The Lib Dems are unhappy with the idea that ‘all’ U18 pornography should be criminalised.

    PP 63 relates to three elements, (a) participation/acting & (b) production & (c) use by.

    The Lib Dems steadfastly maintained the policy, they were politely asked to review the position by lobbyists in the USA, they declined.

    The Lib Dem position is that 16 year olds should be allowed to ‘act’ in hard core pornography. That makes things difficult from the eastern bloc position. Age verification being what it is.

    The precedent in Northern Ireland with the DEL was that ages of sex workers were not checked re: WP UK (Sheffield) permits.

    That would relate to the defunct Le Chic initiative in Botanic connected to Jerome Brennan. The permits as it happens were illegally issued according to officials in Sheffield.

    The Lib Dem position on pornography was similar to the manifesto of some of the European paedophile parties. The Dutch version also anticipated a a 16 year old entry to the ‘profession’.

    The two policies seemed to be the same when I compared them. \

    The Liberal Democrats definitely want to dilute the SOA 2003, it is already weak enough to permit filming of little kids in changing rooms on the Falls Road, that was my point.

  • cadiz
    Well I would have told the American lobbyists to worry about gun control and all the shootings at American high schools.
    You are talking about a non-issue. Sixteen year olds are subject to parential control and child pornography is illegal.
    The real obscenity in this world is that many kids do not get enough to eat.

  • Cadiz

    Well I would have told the American lobbyists to worry about gun control and all the shootings at American high schools.
    You are talking about a non-issue. Sixteen year olds are subject to parential control and child pornography is illegal.
    The real obscenity in this world is that many kids do not get enough to eat. ”

    If it was not for the FBI & RCMP, I do not think Jim Gamble (CEOP spookmeister) would be arresting very many pedophiles. I think his track record on his own account is about nil.

    Not good for Great Britain’s & Northern Ireland’s so-called top child protection cop.

    It is the old spoof spookery, that makes Northern Ireland the magical way it is.

    In the UK, we have significant levels off-shore policing by the FBI and without that assistance some of our most dangerous paedophiles would still be working in our schools, and of course at DENI for Minister Ruane.

    It is certainly not a non-issue if the Lib-Dems get their way. Child pornography which is (theoretically) illegal today will be legal if they get their way. I say theoretically because the SOA 2003 is clearly failing to deliver.

    Filming children undressing with sexual intent at the Falls Road Baths was determined not to be a breach of the SOA 2003. That is a fact, covered by the BBC, Belfast Telegraph and (quite responsibly) by the Sunday World ‘A Very Public Pervert’ Oct. 14 2007, P. 16.

    Child pornography is sometimes illegal, in some places, the internet is bursting at the seams with sexual photography of children.

    The best Goggins & CEOP (Jim Gamble) could do was to invite pornographers to Belfast (from America) to recruit them as working partners.

    I was informed by the EU Commission (27/02/2007) that they were distancing themselves from the proceedings, that being the position at the EU Commission.

  • cadiz
    While you are at it why don’t you name all the ex-priests who are still being shielded by the church.

  • cadiz
    While you are at it why don’t you name all the ex-priests who are still being shielded by the church.

  • cadiz
    While you are at it why don’t you name all the ex-priests who are still being shielded by the church.

  • Pounder

    The problem as I see it now is who is actually a worthy leader for the Lib Dems. No offence to Ming The Clueless but who the feck was he, or any of the others? Apart from Lembit who is famous for porking a Cheeky Girl I’d be hard pressed to name more than a few Lib Dem MP’s and I am more politically aware than many of my peers.

    After William Gladstone and Paddy Pantsdown Charles Kennedy was the most recognisable and and certainly the most likeable Lib Dem leader in a long time. The way his party went all Maggie Thatcher on him is a disgrace and even though they are fellow LYMEC members I find it hard to feel sorry for a boat up shit creek when they willingly threw away a good paddle.

  • Cadiz

    “While you are at it why don’t you name all the ex-priests who are still being shielded by the church.”

    I am glad you feel that it is my job.

    The PSNI & NIO will not be taking it on. Justice Ministers Goggins & Hanson have different ideas, Goggins now, & Hanson in his day.

    When Jane Kennedy was security Minister she was equally obfuscatory & evasive. The historic sexual abuse of children in Northern Ireland is not a stone that the NIO want to kick over.

    Hanson also (BTW) refused to meet the UUP to discuss issues relating to exploitation of foreign women, children etc.

    He blocked the UUP at a time when the Ulster Unionists had dozens of newspapers covering the problem. I printed the public information leaflets the UUP used in Belfast.

    As to where we are today re: Catholic Church (NI).

    The PSNI have written to the Catholic hierarchy informing the Northern Bishops that they did NOT want detailed files relating to sexual abuse.

    That is not going to change unless the SDLP, DUP, SF and UUP etc. apply pressure together. The only alternative strategy is to organize Catholic media in the USA & Canada. I have taken preparatory steps to that (US media) end.

    I also advised journalists (NI), and the Ulster Unionist Party were good enough to publish a press release for me, and one will presumably continue along similar lines.

    I am not particularly hopeful, the NIO precedents are not auspicious. I thank you for suggesting I take charge of the problem and I will certainly continue to my best.

    I see the Lib Dems as generally being on the other side, they are not helpful as a rule.

    For example, the Lib Dems dropped their health & safety issue re: teachers when the police pointed out that children were being harmed in schools at a rate which was far more alarming.

    Attacks on teachers ‘every day’

    Story from BBC NEWS:

    Published: 2007/02/01 15:04:28 GMT

    “A teacher suffers a violent attack almost every school day in England, official government figures suggest.
    There were 221 attacks on teachers last year alone, and 1,128 between 2000 and 2006”

    List 99 referrals are running at a far higher rate, over 2,500 in 2005 alone, a doubling in two years, and that is just a ‘reported’ insight related to a barring list at the apex of child endangerment.

    The Lib Dems want to give 16 year olds the right to make hard core porn movies,

    they do not care about List 99 or anything along similar lines.

  • Cadiz
    “it should be emphasised that not all those on the list(99) are perceived to be a danger to children” DfEE circular number 11/95

    List 99 is a safeguard that remains strictly confidential.

    We live in a world that is full of child soldiers.That is far greater problem than what you are talking about.
    Sixteen year olds in Britain are subject to parental control which is something that the Liberal Democrats are not going to change either now or in the future.

  • Cadiz

    List 99 is a basket for people parking in the head’s space? I really don’t think so.

    Your own circular is from 1995 and pre-dates more than a few crisis changes.

    Child protection in the UK, is crisis, followed by scandal, tailed by major mishap. Cover-ups go ubiquitously with the territory.

    Being convicted of sex crime will not guarantee a place on LIST 99. People have to usually work fairly hard to be included.

    Similarly being banned from every school in a LEA area for systemic sexual abuse will not automatically ensure a person goes on the list.

    The association of LIST 99 (in the media) with sex offending, pupil/teacher relationships, narcotics, and similar issues is fully warranted.

    Other potentially dangerous circumstances such as behavior linked to schizophrenia or mental illness are however included categories.

    The Lib Dems want to legalize 16 year olds making hard core pornography.

    The parental consent aspects are irrelevant to the global campaign to eliminate child pornography.

    The Lib Dems have more in common with the Dutch Paedophile Party on that issue than they do with the UUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, DUP, or the Alliance Party.

  • cadiz
    Of course you don’t give a source from any Liberal Democrat policy document that explicitly
    states what you assert.
    Anyway it is a non-issue since it is the Alliance Party that carries the liberal torch in
    Northern Ireland.

  • Cadiz

    The Alliance Party is opposed to child pornography, so that particular torch will have to be carried by somebody else.

    Proposal To Allow 16-Year-Olds
    To Appear In Explicit Porn
    By Andy McSmith
    Political Editor
    The Independent – UK

    That article was in conformity with the conversations & discussions and final letter the Lib Dems sent to me.

    The Lib Dems consulted a barrister (one of their own) before they advised the policy re: what I could pass back to Washington.

    16 year olds in hard core pornography was their uncompromising answer.

    A year later they were asked if they were of the same policy outlook, same process, same outcome.

  • The newspaper article misrepresents what was actually said, as I said no policy document states what you allege.
    It’s illegal and there are plenty in the Liberal Democrats that are going to keep it that way.Contact the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum.
    Since you are in Washington, I would be interested to know what measures are being taken to prevent high school shootings.
    As my American friends say “Land of The Free, Home of the Crazies.”

  • Cadiz

    I am in Europe, I work towards supporting the US govt’s policies re: the TIP program.

    I was part of detailed discussions with the Liberal Democrats on the topic over a period of two years.

    Proposal To Allow 16-Year-Olds
    To Appear In Explicit Porn
    By Andy McSmith
    Political Editor
    The Independent – UK

    The Independent article (by the political editor) reflects precisely what the Liberal Democrat policy was at the time.

    So a major newspaper is wrong and I am wrong?

    Andy McSmith, Political Editor of the Independent accuses the Lib Dems of intending to legalize child pornography and they don’t ask for a retraction?

    The Lib Dems are not controlled by ANY Christian grouping, regardless of whether it is affiliated to them or not.

    The policy of the Lib Dems is as described in that newspaper article.

    It reflects the same policy as described by the Liberal Democrats over a period of two years.

    There is no need to go to a Christian forum to confirm a policy .. the Liberal Democrats adopted for the record, they were aware that copies would go to the UN & US State Dept.

    They requested time to think about it, they consulted their legal advisors, they THEN described their policy and it was definitely to legalize ‘some’ child pornography.

    The Lib Dem HQ explained (in discussions) that if people could vote at 16 (their policy), they could also star in porn videos etc.

  • Cadiz

    “As my American friends say “Land of The Free, Home of the Crazies.” ”

    That would not be a patriotic view.

    I think San Francisco, Las Vegas, or New Orleans may be exceptions. The USA is a big country.

    It difficult to generalize sensibly. The Lib Dems might find some favor in San Francisco.

    There would be some support in that area for the legalization of U18 pornography.

    In Canada, a small but significant minority view paedophilia as a moral activity.

    The UK also has shootings connected to young people & schools, & school employees have also murdered children.

    In Sept. 2005, a view developed in the US, a perspective created by intel via European law enforcement, that the British govt. was secretly placing pedophiles in schools. That analysis, turned out to be correct.

    It was the policy of the DfES to begin placing LANDSLIDE child pornography linked individuals into British schools despite assurances given to the Americans that would not happen.

    The number of sex offenders in British schools has actually increased since the Bichard ‘reforms’, rather than decreased, that is a peculiar reform.

    The UK has a parasitical relationship with the FBI & RCMP, other police agencies in Europe also feedback intel in relation to British teachers to the USA directly.

    That newspaper article describes the Lib Dem policy re: U18 Pornography.

    I know that some Catholic News Agencies took the trouble to confirm the article.

    Which they did.

  • Cadiz
    There was a shooting at a school in Scotland several years and after a successful campaign was mounted that resulted in handguns being outlawed in the UK.My American friends were of course referring to gun control not your lurid thoughts.
    The British government is filling up the schools with pedos……strewth!And I thought the Da Vinci Code was all fiction.
    Anyway it sounds as if that moonshine from Kentucky is strong stuff,I would keep off of it if I were you.
    I notice Neil was a chaplin for a while. Better not say too much about that.No doubt it will all be in the Independent.Actually its a newspaper I always buy when I am in England, but I don’t believe everything I read in the newspaper especially when it comes to political reporting.
    Has Bush asked Greenspan for a retraction?..went to war in Iraq for oil indeed, for heavens sake,they are fighting for freedom!
    And by the way make sure you are eating plenty of lettuce that should help.Better not mention the IVU here which isn’t controlled by the Jains. (Some of the Jains are skyclad!!!!)
    And do try some St Johns Wort, my Auntie used to swear by it.
    Must get back to the biography of Gladstone,I’m at the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland bit……

  • Cadiz

    I didn’t say filling up, those are your words.

    I think you have pursued a variety of red herring strategies in our exchanges, I find your inability to address the central Lib Dem issue puzzling.

    The Political Editor of the Independent accused the Lib Dems of intending to legalize ‘some’ child pornography and the Lib Dems did NOT issue a denial, in fact they confirmed the report to me. And other news agencies were also able to stand the story up.

    Blaming the Independent is a defective rebuttal!

    Your verification idea was also a little silly, “Contact the Liberal Democrat Christian Forum”, I do not think they set Lib Dem policy.

    I dealt directly with Lib Dem HQ over two years. The Lib Dem policy is as described by the political editor of The Independent.

    Proposal To Allow 16-Year-Olds
    To Appear In Explicit Porn
    By Andy McSmith
    Political Editor
    The Independent – UK

    Sex offenders in Schools.

    The British Govt. has no idea, nor even a good estimate of how many sex offenders are working in British schools.

    The British govt. has already conceded that it WAS secretly allowing LANDSLIDE suspects to work in British schools.

    The tracking of sex offenders in British schools remains a real problem.

    I include a UUP press release on the topic relating to their concerns.


    11 July 2006



    At the height of the Paul Reeve scandal, the DfES were desperately sending out bulletins to LEAs demanding an immediate halt to system wide CRB checks. Therefore it was hardly surprising ( a few months later), that of 58 schools surveyed by OFSTED, 55 did not have a record of each member of staff stating whether their identity, qualifications or criminal records had been checked and, if so, when and by whom.

    What OFTSED actually discovered, in plain and simple language, was that a ‘recorded’ vetting system very possibly may not exist within the DfES system, the implications for Northern Ireland remain very unclear.

    The Ulster Unionist Party has struggled for months to clarify the relationship of our own system in Northern Ireland as it relates to larger models in Britain. The response given to Lord Laird indicates that the DfES are in no hurry to provide bona fide answers to valid questions.

    The written answer to Lord Laird by Lord Adonis is within the described contaxt of one dreadful scandal quickly followed by another, therefore quite amazing.

    The starting point for any teacher vetting system has to involve comprehensive data collection. The DfES and Home Office do have access to the information and they should have provided Lord Laird of Artigarvan with a credible response.

    Esmond Birnie MLA UUP South Belfast

    Child Protection: Teachers
    Lord Laird asked Her Majesty’s Government:
    How many teachers have been (a) convicted, or (b) cautioned for child pornography or sexual abuse in (i) England, and (ii) Northern Ireland over the past five years.[HL6515]
    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The Department for Education and Skills does not record the numbers of teachers cautioned or convicted for child pornography or sexual abuse. The Home Office has data relating to the total number of individuals cautioned or convicted, though these are not broken down by profession.

  • I find your position puzzling.What exactly are you doing,if there is a manifesto or policy document that states explicitly what you allege then please let me know.

  • Cadiz

    I negotiated directly with Liberal Democrats HQ over two years. If you don’t want to accept my word for it, pray find a Lib Dem clarification re: The Independent article.

    If the Tories were accused of wanting to legalize U18 or ‘some’ child pornography, you can bet they would have acted very robustly.

    The Lib Dem policy is exactly as described by the political editor of The Independent.

    Proposal To Allow 16-Year-Olds
    To Appear In Explicit Porn
    By Andy McSmith
    Political Editor
    The Independent – UK

    Lib Dem delegates backed calls for a prohibition on material which exploits unlawful acts involving youngsters under 16.

    I think you will find that proposal in the original conference proceedings, a necessary procedure given that the U18 was to be eliminated as a factor of Lib Dem policy.

    It was also a sneaky way of steering journalists away from more shocking headlines.

  • Cadiz

    The real objective was to make ‘some’ U18 hard core pornography legal. The SOA 2003 already criminalized U18 pornography as child pornography.

    However the Lib Dem policies were discussed in public in a manner that gave the appearance that child pornography was to be criminalized (in the future by Lib Dems). They were quite sneaky.

    The SOA 2003 had taken care of the U16 & the U18 because U18 child pornography was already criminalized by the legislation. The Lib Dems hoped to LEGALIZE smething!

    The Lib Dem people at their HQ in London, admitted in negotiations that legalizing ‘some’ child pornography was the intention and objective.

    The party consulted a barrister prior to allowing me their final view on the issue.

    ‘The new policy proposes that the law be amended to make it an offence to publish, sell, electronically transmit or display material that exploits for sexual purposes unlawful acts involving (or appearing to involve) persons under the age of 16, non-consenting adults (or adults consenting to very serious harm) or animals.’