Neil Kinnock's woes have grown since his Labour Party decided last fall to push for Britain's unilateral nuclear disarmament. Opinion polls show that one-third of Labour voters oppose that policy. Mr. Kinnock is widely liked. And he is generally credited with getting Labour back on its feet after its 1983 election debacle. But some politicians say that he lacks leadership qualities and intellectual firepower. They blame his tendency to speak too long and to lapse into rephrasing his arguments. His nickname: ``Welsh windbag.''
A Conservative parliamentarian who likes Kinnock says his gregarious style is fine for the Welsh valleys. What he lacks in the cut and thrust of House of Commons debate, the MP says, is ``the intellectual vigor of an Oxford education.''
``The fundamental problem is that Labour has lacked a clear reason for being in business,'' said the left-wing New Statesman recently.
The weekend leaking of a private letter from Kinnock's press secretary to a Labour MP was seen as another blow.
The letter charged that the ``loony Labour left'' was hurting the party. It cited concerns of voters, especially pensioners, over the left's stand on the ``gays and lesbians issue'' and fears of ``extremism and higher taxes/rates.''