Gosh, haven't events moved quickly? From there not apparently being a vacancy a week ago, we now have four candidates emerging to contest for membership support. For obvious reasons, I'm not going to endorse any of them, especially as I have a lot of respect for all of them, but particularly because I promised one of the candidates that I wouldn't.
I know Tim Farron from my days in the Young Liberal Democrats. He was one of those annoying Student Liberal Democrats (in fairness, I thought that they were all annoying, bloody students...). Expert paper aeroplane manufacturer, Blackburn Rovers supporter (ah well, you can't please everybody...), and a successful campaigner.
Susan Kramer and I don't go back quite as far. I was on her Westminster assessment day panel, and had the great good fortune to have her as my PPC in Dulwich & West Norwood in 1997. We've remained friends ever since, and I was quite depressed to hear the result from Richmond Park this year. Susan knows how to run things, and is good at team building. I'm not so sure about her paper aeroplane skills though...
Jennie Rigg is someone I think of as a friend. She isn't a Parliamentarian, she's a grassroot, gloriously bohemian. You know what you're getting with Jennie,and you know that she won't hold back in expressing what she believes. Her campaign is already off the ground, and I'm expecting innovation, colour and a blog to die for.
I don't know Jason Zadrozny as well as the others. Ironically, I was on the panel for his Westminster approval day too, and was impressed by his commitment, dedication and knowledge. He will certainly know what it's like at the campaigning coalface, and his gallant campaign in Ashfield is an example to us all.
I certainly have no reason to vote against any of them, and would expect to cast all four preferences (I know that the last one has no electoral purpose, but it does indicate a positive endorsement) if this turns out to be the final field. All four of them have skills that fit with my perception of the Party Presidency, and I wish all of them the very best of luck with their campaigns.
I just wonder who ends up getting my job...