We were told when Ming was standing to be party leader that Ming's greatest assets were his experience and his judgment. I now believe that these were lies.
Ming has, for me, shown since his election that he lacks these.
The party has drifted in a gentle downward direction in terms of councillors and MSP's. Party membership has not picked up and the press have got it in for Ming. Ah, the press. Is that any reason to doubt him ? Well yes, in my opinion it is. Not because everything the press says is correct, far from it. However, Ming does seem slow to react, he does not have his finger on the pulse of the next generation of voters and he lacks the human touch that Charles Kennedy and Paddy had before him. Okay, so Ming is great at Foreign Affairs. This is, however, no reason to elect a party leader. The reason the press have it in for Ming is that for all his experience, he makes mistakes and does not show enough consistency.
In recent weeks we have seen just how much Ming's judgement has been out of touch.
Firstly, he should not even have considered Gordon Brown's overtures to have Lib Dems in government in Westminster. Surely he knows that this could only work if there was a joint programme of policies with clear Lib Dem input. Ming knew this was not the case but still appointed Archie Kirkwood to speak to Gordon Brown again. This showed a lack of judgment on a massive scale.
Next, Ming tried to extricate himself from the mess he had created by making a robust comment about how Liberal Democrats would not be forming any part of a Labour government. Okay, he made this statement knowing that 48 hours before he was genuinely contemplating it. But his statement was robust enough for me to believe that he meant it.
Now though, with Liberal Democrat Peers Lord Lester and Baroness Neuberger named as advisers to Gordon Brown and Shirley Williams set to follow we have Liberal Democrats working with the Labour government, something that Ming made clear this week that would not happen.
Just last Thursday Ming claimed that there was not enough of a change in direction from Brown If this is the case, why are we allowing people to work with Brown ?
So where is the leadership ? Where is the consistency ? If I can't see it and I am a party member, an activist, a former councillor, a former constituency party vice-Chairman, why should I think for one moment that any member of the electorate should see him as being consistent and meaning what he says ?
The fact that the other Lib Dem bloggers seem to be closing their eyes to this whilst the our opinion poll rating goes down the toilet (12% in one poll this week) should be deeply worrying.
I don't doubt for one moment that Ming is a decent guy doing his very best. The problem is that he lacks a campaigners intuition. He does not seem to know how ridiculous his flip flopping makes him seem with the electorate and how how Labour and Gordon Brown are using him and the Lib Dems. No wonder Labour are up in the polls. People think you can vote Labour and get the bits of the Lib Dems they like thrown in for free !
So I admit it, I made a mistake in voting for Ming Campbell. The biggest mistake I could make now is keeping quiet whilst the party carries on in this awful slide to oblivion. Something must be done now. Some in the party no doubt believe success in the Ealing Southall by-election might give us a bounce. Certainly the Lib Dems are the clear challengers to Labour, but would a win just be papering over the cracks.
It's time for people to stand up and be counted. We read about senior Lib Dem MP's and Peers being angry with Ming, yet all we get is rumour. We need someone to put their head above the parapet and be counted. I'm sure I will get plenty of flak for writing this, being disloyal is not in my nature. However, sometimes, you know you are just saying what others are muttering. For all our sakes, it is time for Ming to go !
Update: Iain Dale has kindly linked to this story. I must make clear that although Norman Lamb is a friend of mine, I have not discussed this article or Ming's recent blunders with him at all.
Further update: Paul Walter's excellent Liberal Burbling's blog gives an excellent critique of what I have written here and offers an alternative viewpoint.