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Should Charles ask Santa for a bike?

December 24th, 2005
    Maybe riding to work will get his leadership back on track?

After his skirmishes with leading party MPs over the the past two weeks Charles Kennedy knows that when he returns to Westminster in the New Year he will be under the most intense scrutiny. Can he save his leadership?

With the less than ringing endorsements from the top two in the betting to replace him, Menzies Campbell (11/8) and Mark Oaten (3/1), Kennedy has to establish quickly that he’s capable of carrying on with the job. As a senior party official told me a few days ago, “It comes to something when the only MP speaking unequivocally for you is Lembit Opik“.

As well as his political capabilities there are also the question marks about his life-style and Kennedy needs to do something about those perceptions. But how can he show that he has turned over a new leaf?

    An answer we suggest, and it is Christmas Eve, is that Kennedy should get a bike and start riding to work Cameron-style. He should look at the way that Cameron has used his cycling to make one political point after another.

The bike says that he’s fit and healthy whatever he might have done in his youth. It says that this guy is confident enough of himself that he does not need the trappings of office like a car to work. It also says that while others might be talking about global warming and the environment that he, in his own personal way, is doing something about it.

For a day or so Kennedy cycling to work would attract a huge amount of publicity and no doubt detractors would be saying that he was just copying Cameron. But after he got into it he would feel the real physical benefits as well as finding that a bike is probably the fastest and most stress-free way of getting about Central London.

    Go on Charles – be daring – get on a bike.

After all if any party leader is to travel like this it should be the Lib Dem one.

Mike Smithson






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