All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.So wrote Enoch Powell. But has any career ended in such personal humiliation as Oaten's? Truly this is political and personal tragedy.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Bye bye Mark Oaten
In a move widely expected, Mark Oaten has announced he will be standing down as an MP at the next election. With all the other problems the Lib Dems have been facing recently they will no doubt be glad that "coprophillia" will not be a word heard during the next election campaign. But for Oaten personally this is a sad end to his career. In 1997 he was the darling of his party for first scraping home by two votes and then winning the largest Lib Dem majority in the subsequent by-election. I remember Paddy Ashdown doing a tour of media appearances to proclaim Winchester as a rock solid Liberal Democrat constituency. How times have changed when Winchester is widely considered vulnerable precisely because of Oaten and the local Lib Dems lost control of the council. Oaten has not helped himself either, by bringing the scandal back into the public eye and frankly one has to ask if he would have won an open reselection (I don't know how the Lib Dems handle candidacies).