Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bye bye Mark Oaten

And it's goodbye from himIn 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).

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.

1 comment:

MatGB said...

I agree, I doubt he'd have got through a selection again - shame, he was quite capable, if he'd not run for leader he'd likely still be front bench.

I don't personally care about sex scandals, I do care about hypocrisy and stupidity, he was guilty of both.

However, I don't know how the Lib Dems handle candidacies

Open election within the local members using OMOV and a transferable vote. Candidates have to be on an approved list, but that's not hard, it's not an "A" list, more like a "you don't suck and are Liberal" process. Haven't done it, but knew people that had.

Next Winchester will likely be one to watch.


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