16 October 2007

Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell's LibDem Leadership 2 March 2006 - 15 October 2007

LibDem MPs are today rifling through their cupboards in search of any dinosaur-sized skeletons as they prepare to bid for their party's leadership, following the political death of Sir Menzies Campbell, a man known to his supporters as "Ming the Merciless" ... and to his critics as the Knight of the Living Dead.

It was way back in early 2006 - a time when 50s-style dresses were filling fashion store windows, the ultrasmooth sounds of Corinne Bailey Rae were gliding out of every iPod and geeks across Britain were hunkering down to play their 75th straight hour of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - that Sir Ming decided to join the battle to assume his party's leadership, following his predecessor Charles Kennedy's decision to step (or, more accurately, slide) down. The decision was undoubtedly a brave one. At the age of 65 Sir Ming was deemed to be "too old" by many experts(1) ... though, sadly for themselves and Sir Ming himself, many of those same experts failed to spot that, as well as being old, Sir Ming also had all the energy and pizzazz of an Open University physics lecturer on Mogadon.

Yet Sir Ming was made of stern stuff. Galvanised by the same spirit that had seen him represent Britain in the 200 metres in the Tokyo Olympics and once saw him deemed "the fastest white man in the world"(2) - not to mention the same spirit that saw him assisting Charles Kennedy to fall on his sword(3) - Sir Ming was not to be dissuaded.

The result was a triumph. Aided by his sterling service as Foreign Affairs Spokesman and the fact that, with some help from the media, his opponents managed to implode - Simon "the straight candidate" Hughes choosing the duration of the election campaign to confront the true nature of his sexuality, with married Home Affairs Spokesman Mark Oaten choosing the same period to claim that his relationship with a rent-boy was the product of the onset of baldness - Sir Ming swept, slowly and with great dignity, to the abject powerlessness that is the Liberal Democrat leadership.

What happened next is a mystery. All that is known is that, mere days after becoming Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Ming disappeared from sight. Some said he had gone off to work part-time as a Sir Alec Douglas Home lookalike, some said he had slipped into his cardigan and slippers and was having his afternoon nap, while yet others said his possession of a manner so stiff it would make a Daoist tea ceremony look like an ecstasy fuelled all-night rave rendered Sir Ming inaudible and invisible every time a camera or microphone appeared within a mile of him.

Whatever the truth may be, all that can be said is that nothing more was heard from Sir Ming until 15 October 2007, when journalists saw a piece of paper announcing Sir Ming's resignation appear to float across the room and into Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Vince Cable's hand, after which a door seemed to open and close all by itself and soft and dignified footfalls were heard slowly disappearing in the direction of Sir Ming's Scottish home.

Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell's LibDem Leadership will be buried at St David Steel's Church of the "Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government". It is survived by leadership campaigns from Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne among others, and even an attempt by Charles Kennedy to get a campaign off the ground ... if someone can give him a hand up.

(1) Despite the fact that those same experts included large numbers of men and women more than happy to say things like "of course, these days 55 is the new 35" when it came to discussions of their own age.
(2) Rumours that this sobriquet was earned after Sir Ming was seen urgently trying to chase down a van containing his vital Sanatogen supplies are wholly baseless.
(3) A task made all the more difficult by Sir Ming repeatedly being forced to explain to Mr Kennedy which of the three swords in front of him was the real one.


Anonymous said...

Ming looks a lot older than he is - he's only 167 - whereas he looks a lot older...

The As A Dodo Team said...

Hi Mutley

Whereas Paddy Ashdown is actually 273 but looks 56

Anonymous said...

Unbelievably David Cameron is only 8!! He was raised under the Eton accelerated learning programme.