I attribute the phrase "idle chatter of the occasional dissident" used on Saturday last to an over-zealous speechwriter, but it troubles me for several reasons. First, it is a misdescription, because the concerns I expressed were of the utmost seriousness and purpose. Second, the term "dissident" is inaccurate because the current controversy is not over substantive issues. Third, "occasional" is unduly dismissive, as other activists have told me they agree with my last blog, although I only speak for myself. More importantly though, the phrase implies a mindset that perceives the leadership and "occasional dissidents" as on opposing sides. But as I see it, we are on the same side. And dealing with the various wings of the party is not like a forensic contest. Nor is it like maintaining military discipline: that is not possible, as we are not a conscript army, but volunteers. Most of us - the poor bloody infantry, one might say - willingly give time and effort and money and this goodwill is precious. An appropriate leadership style takes account of these factors.
Ming's negative approval ratings are a fact that must be dealt with, and if I am wrong in thinking they cannot be improved, that would be excellent but despite all the hot air expended over the issue in the last few days no one has come up with a solution. So it is necessary either that someone comes up with a solution, or that our MPs take appropriate action. With an excellent leader all of us win. With a less than excellent leader we all lose.