CHARLES Kennedy could not have been more robust about his future than he was in yesterday morning's interview on BBC radio's Today programme. He said categorically that he had no intention of resigning in response to the current criticism of him by members of his parliamentary party and that if those critics were able to mount a challenge to him as leader he would stand at any election that took place. This is a topsy-turvy time in British politics as we see with each announcement that David Cameron makes. And at a time that Labour's future leadership may depend on on reform of the British education system, Gordon Brown contributes an article to The Independent newspaper about “The next global cause: free education for all”. But the topsiest-turviest thing is surely that the man who led the Liberal Democrats to their most successful general election result less than a year ago is today fighting for his political life. Mr Kennedy insists that he has overwhelming support in the constituency parties and that he will not hesitate to mobilise it if the parliamentary party moves against him. But will it? And who would be the standard bearer? With the exception of Menzies Campbell and Simon Hughes, the 60 or so Liberal Democrat MPs are an anonymous lot. Of course, they might say that few people had heard of David Cameron, and look at him now. Yet what is so odd about the cries for Mr Cambell to make a “sustained change in style and content” is that to the outsider his style today does not seem to be different from the laid-back approach he took at the general election. It is a distinctive style very different from that favoured by the other two party leaders but that does not mean it is wrong. The Liberal Democrats face a spring party conference in March, local elections in May and a full party conference in September. Those MPs who think Mr Kennedy must go should put up very quickly or shut up at least until the September conference. Otherwise in the short term the party will suffer much more than it will if Mr Kennedy remains in power for the foreseeable future.


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