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Oi, Owen! Shut it!

So, David Owen has been opining about how Ming Campbell should hand over the leadership of the Liberal Democrats to a "young Turk". O.K., so a man whose party (the S.D.P.) at its last electoral outing finished behind the Monster Raving Loony Party has given his opinion on the leadership of the Lib Dems. Fair enough. But rather more egregious is the coverage given to his remarks in The Guardian.

The opening paragraph of their story is:

"Sir Menzies Campbell's leadership of the Liberal Democrats suffered a fresh blow today after a party stalwart called for him to be replaced by a 'young Turk'."

I just fired off this email to The Guardian, (politics.editor@guardian.co.uk)

"Dear Sir/Madam,

The above-mentioned story of Tuesday, February 6, 2007 begins with the sentence, “Sir Menzies Campbell’s leadership of the Liberal Democrats suffered a fresh blow today after a party stalwart called for him to be replaced by a ‘young Turk’.”

Anyone with the most basic knowledge of British political history would be aware that David Owen is not a “party stalwart”, nor even to my knowledge a member of the Liberal Democrats. He broke away from his own party, the S.D.P., after the majority of that party voted to merge with the Liberal Party and form what is now the Liberal Democrats.

He sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher, not a Liberal Democrat.

If Lord Owen is a stalwart of any party, rather than a bitter old man whose own party went against his wishes, it is of the S.D.P – which has one branch in Bridlington, I believe, and about a dozen members."