Charles Kennedy RIP:
I am genuinely sad to learn of the death of Charles Kennedy. He was still a young man although perhaps his greatest days sadly were behind him. Nevertheless, he was one of the very few politicians who in mastering the Media art in the politics of our times never lost his authenticity. Like the late John Smith he is a reminder to us all of the immense richness we gain as a political nation by the Union. He was also that most rare of birds in our political ornithology – a true social democrat. If continuity with its Liberal past makes a comparison true – Kennedy was most successful Liberal leader since Lloyd George both in terms of votes won in 2001 and 2005 and seats won in 2001 and 2005. Charles Kennedy was right about the Iraq War when many, including me, were terribly wrong. Curiously perhaps for a leader of a third force in the UK he was not particularly in favour of PR. His personal demons got the better of his later time as a leading public and political figure but because of his personal authenticity perhaps his fall from grace was consequently graced with humanity rather than hubris. It is not often it can honestly be said but for Charles Kennedy it can be – if there were more of his ilk in public life our politics would be better regarded; our Parliament held in greater esteem and our institutions of government better served.