Thursday, January 12, 2006


The Case For Hemming #2: Experience

Doubting Thomases seeking to put the mockers on John Hemming's leadership bid have often cited 'lack of experience' as a reason why John should not become the next Liberal Democrat leader.

This is an incredibly bizarre assertion, which flies in the face of the stark truth that John has amassed a wealth of political experience, dating back over two decades in which John has sought, and won, election to a wide variety of political offices.

John's political career started in his university days, when he was a Mercian Nationalist, and in 1978, he achieved his first political success when he was elected as the Women's Representative onto the Junior Common Room - an early sign of his keen interest in female affairs.

This early success whetted John's appetite for politics, and in 1979, he sought election to two positions - Policy Convenor of Magdalen College and Secretary of the Oxford University Students' Union - with mixed success.

John's bid to become Policy Convenor of Magdalen College exceeded all expectations as he was ultimately triumphant, but unfortunately, this success was not matched by his bid to become Secretary of the Oxford University Students' Union, where John was beaten by candidates from the Conservatives and Labour, as well as the representative of the Silly Party, which turned out to be a dog.

A lesser man than John would have allowed his political career to grind to a halt after such a humiliating setback, but John's went from strength to strength, and in 1980, he was elected to Oxford University's National Union of Students delegation, running on the Mercian Nationalist ticket.

After leaving university, John defected from the Mercian Nationalists to the Liberals, a move which was not linked to the failure of the Mercian Nationalists to make a committed manifesto pledge to change the name of the capital, Birmingham, to Hemmingrad when they achieved their goal of unilateral Mercian independence.

At the age of just 23, John was the Liberals' youngest candidate in the 1983 General Election, when he achieved a respectable third place in Birmingham Hall Green, with 23.6% (almost a quarter!) of all votes cast!

John also finished third in Birmingham Small Heath in 1987, in the face of a strong challenge from candidates from the Green and Communist parties.

In 1992, John contested his spiritual political home, Birmingham Yardley, in a General Election for the first time, and thirteen years later in 2005, he was finally elected as a Member of Parliament at the fourth attempt in Yardley and his sixth time of trying overall, making him the first Liberal/Liberal Democrat to be elected to parliament to represent a Birmingham constituency since 1969.

In the meantime, John had forged a glittering career in local government, after first being elected as a councillor on Birmingham City Council in 1990, at the tender age of 30.

During his time in local government, John has notched up many notable achievements, but the unquestionable highlight was obviously when, as leader of the Liberal Democrat grouping on Birmingham City Council, he secured a position worthy of his considerable talent, Deputy Council Leader, by forging an alliance with the Conservatives to form a controlling coalition (a possible forerunner to a Prime Minister Hemming/Deputy PM Cameron coalition perhaps?).

As you can see, far from being a man with negligible political experience, John Hemming is a man whose political career has been both broad and extensive, so why should the fact that he has only spent eight months as a Member of Parliament hold him back?

Stick two fingers up to the political establishment who seek to hold back the advance of John with their pernicious remarks about 'lack of experience' and declare your support by emailing without delay!

John Hemming for Liberal Democrat leader - you know it makes sense!

We searched the King Edward's School records for any sign of Hemming's political ambitions developing there when he first became an MP, however they turned up nothing. Then again, during the course of last year's election campaign, I'm told when he appeared at the KES hustings against the Birmingham Edgbaston Labour and Tory candidates, he ripped them apart, and led to a decisive victory for the Liberal Democrat contender (even though he wasn't the strongest of candidates) in the KES , with Labour a distant second closely followed by a right-wing tory-look-a-like party and the Tory candidate.

What I'm saying, is it's oratory skills such as Hemming's which, being able to overcome the most Germanic MP and most thick-witted of Tory candidates which would make him most suited for shredding the Primeminister's reputation come PMQ.
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