I am unclear whether the Liberal Party has an upper age limit for membership or whether my extra-corporeal state would disbar me from application. Having discovered that paying members, rather than elected members, hold the votes, I have had insufficient time to apply in order to influence the contest to be my successor as next leader of this nation drawn from the liberal quarter.
Nevertheless I have followed the contest between Mr Clegg and Mr Huhne as if a voting member and, as have many I suspect, my opinion has veered on a daily basis. One day Mr Huhne appears to act disgracefully and I favour Mr Clegg. The next Mr Huhne's charges of "flip flop" appear to hold substance and I favour him, rather than Mr Clegg.
Both aspirants have today made submissions to their electorate through the pages of Liberal Democrat Voice and, as a consequence, my opinion today veers towards Mr Clegg. For Mr Huhne repeats in brief the same messages as before while Mr Clegg, perhaps driven by the power of the Huhne onslaught, seeks to deliver new direction and vision.
Mr Clegg draws our attention to two themes, rallying calls which he has issued. One is familiar and perhaps common to both men and that is a pledge to restore the power and majesty to the local councils, which were amongst the glories of my administrations. Regrettably his exposition on this matter lacks substance and does not win my favour on this account.
His second theme is expounded in substance and is a brave and apposite choice of subject matter for a party, which is often accused of seeing individuals as islands as a consequence of the excellent but limited work of Mr JS Mill, of whom more perhaps at a later date. It has been a source of dismay to me in this century that children are fatherless and often seem to lack families, who can show them love but also restraint. Mr Clegg echoes my concern that these matters, which relate to the nature of families, have been left to the heirs of Beaconsfield, the "social conservatives" whilst the doctrines of Mr Mill have been taken, not just by my party, to mean that private choices cannot be influenced by state policy, even when that policy is a bad policy. Indeed it is perhaps unsurprising that the socialist government appears equally influenced by the teachings of Mr Mill and Mr Marx, who would have the state take over the work of the family. Can it be true that they have created taxes which drive families apart? It is an appalling prospect and one which would have shocked to the marrow our dear Queen, even with her untutored grasp of fiscal matters.
It is clear to me, having undertaken considerable study of this matter, that the dissipation of the family, in part through misguided zeal in the pursuit of private liberty, has resulted in there being too many ill-disciplined and unhappy children and a selfishness and even rapacity in this nation that is at odds with the progress that has been made in so many ways. So today I veer towards Mr Clegg. It is now for Mr Huhne to put his counter-proposition.