Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why Monty Panesar should be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats

I am led to understand that there currently isn't a vacancy for leader of our great Party. However, one should never presume that such a situation will continue forever, so I have been giving some thought as to who should replace Nick Clegg if he were to be pushed under a number 11 bus - unlikely in Creeting St Peter, I admit.

And, after some consideration, I have concluded that, assuming that he is given an entirely appropriate peerage for services to his country, Monty Panesar is the man. Yes, it would require Party rules to be changed to allow a Peer to be Party Leader, but it seems entirely reasonable.

So, why Monty?

Firstly, you need patience and persistence to be a successful Party leader, especially if it's the third-placed party. And what better than a slow left armer who is always game to bowl long spells for his team?

You also need enthusiasm, and anyone who has ever watched Monty play will testify to his visible pleasure in what he does. In Auckland, when he helped to save a test match that could easily have been lost, he was still backing up during the last three nerve-wracking deliveries, still willing to face the opposition if needed.

If there's one thing that voters claim to dislike, it is the professional politician, slick, packaged. You could never say that about Monty. He isn't the world's greatest batsman, he's not a brilliant fielder either, but he has worked hard to improve, and spectators appreciate that. And, of course, he wears a patka - you couldn't see David Cameron doing that. Best of all, if you're a proper liberal, he's got a beard.

A good nickname is a plus, and Monty has a number of them, all of which are affectionate. I think of him as 'The Montster', come to snatch an unexpected victory batting at number 11 (perhaps he can be promoted to number 10!). But the 'Sikh of Tweak' is good too.

Finally, you want a leader who is popular and likeable. And who could dislike Monty? Even when he dived early for the crease in Auckland and ended up crawling over the line, most England supporters cheered once they had opened their eyes again. When he fields well, or plays a forward defensive, people cheer and applaud. How many politicians could claim that?

So, I'll be signing nominations papers for Baron Panesar of Luton when the opportunity comes. Will you?

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