A sad day, in many ways, that Ming Campbell has resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats.
I will miss his straight talking no-bullshit style (promised, but so far not delivered, by Gordon Brown) and wish him all the best. He never looked like Prime Minister material, but then neither did John Major, and he did the job for almost seven years... in any case, since when was there a realistic prospect of any Lib Dem leader becoming PM?
In the end, Campbell was done in by the media requirement for photogenic, identikit political leaders - politicians like reality TV stars. I have no doubt that Gordon Brown would have suffered exactly the same fate if he'd ascended to the Labour leadership after a long period of opposition, rather than being in the government for ten years beforehand. He's only been indulged so far as he's got previous form. And on the evidence of the last week's shenanigans, that might all be rapidly unravelling. But that is excitement for another post...
Now I'm not saying that Campbell was perfect - in many ways he was a one-man revivalist for the Michael Foot school of politics - the amiable old buffer zone... but then Foot was great too. Certainly infinitely preferable to Thatcher in '83.
Anyway, this raises the interesting question of who the Lib Dems will go for next... I think Nick Clegg would be their best bet. Certainly not Chris Huhne, who is an egotist to rival Robert Kilroy-Silk. And Vince Cable, while a great guy and an excellent Shadow Chancellor, works a lot better in that role than he would as leader. Most of the other alternatives are either too eccentric to be successful or too right-wing to be tolerable.
Anyway, the leadership contest offers a little consolation now that the election has been called off for at least 18 months.