A somewhat unfortunate blogpost went up on the LibDemFuture site yesterday written by Gareth Epps, a former parliamentary candidate who sits on his party’s federal policy committee. Among Epps’ musings about the future direction of the LibDems, published by the site last night, is this suggestion:
“Our federal structure and the presence of several political heavyweights are advantages that should be used. Demonstrating the Scottish Party’s independence from London as well as high-profile roles for senior figures – Charles Kennedy, perhaps – would be a confident and positive way to face the future.”
It would be positively miraculous. Er… who’s going to tell them?
UPDATE: Gareth gets in touch to lay the blame at the door of LibDemFuture:
“I published [the original blog] on 27 May on my website www.garethepps.org.uk – at a time when Charlie Kennedy was very much alive.
Evidently some idiot – no way of checking who from here – has reposted it without reading the actual blog, or apparently linking to it.”
Charles Kennedy died from a “major haemorrhage” that “was a consequence of his battle with alcoholism”, his family tells Press Association.
‘Charles died at home in Fort William yesterday. He was 55. We are obviously devastated at the loss. Charles was a fine man, a talented politician, and a loving father to his young son. We ask therefore that the privacy of his family is respected in the coming days. There will be a post-mortem and we will issue a further statement when funeral arrangements are made.’
‘Police officers attended an address at Fort William on Monday, June 1 to reports of the sudden death of a 55-year-old man. Police were notified by ambulance service personnel. There are no suspicious circumstances and our report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.’
Rest in peace, Charlie…
Full Clegg statement:
Sad beyond words to hear the news about Charlie Kennedy. A lovely man and one of the most talented politicians of his time. Gone too soon.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) June 2, 2015
I am very sorry to hear the news about Charles Kennedy, he was always a polite and decent man.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 2, 2015
I'm deeply saddened by the death of Charles Kennedy. He was a talented politician who has died too young. My thoughts are with his family.
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) June 2, 2015
“The odd thing is that they say today ‘nobody has experience outside politics’; Charles had no experience outside politics, he was actually elected at the age of 24 – to all our surprises, but his surprise as well. And one of the problems about the House of Commons is it does rob you of your youth if you go in that young and no doubt that has an effect on all personalities. But the question is: did he rise above that? Was he able, despite that, to be able to make contact with ordinary people, well beyond the circle of politics? Answer: yes, and very powerfully so.”
“He was regarded by the public as not like other politicians because of his distaste for adversarial politics. That strengthened his appeal as well as giving rise to a deep respect.”
“He was great company, sober or drinking. He had a fine political mind and a real commitment to public service. He was not bitter about his ousting as leader and nor, though he disagreed often with what his Party did in coalition with the Tories, did he ever wander down the rentaquote oppositionitis route. He was a man of real talent and real principle. Despite the occasional blip when the drink interfered, he was a terrific communicator and a fine orator. He spoke fluent human, because he had humanity in every vein and every cell.”
Viewers of last night’s Question Time have condemned the BBC’s decision to allow Charlie Kennedy take part in the programme. The former Lib Dem leader put in a distinctly sub-par performance…
I cannot believe the BBC would allow a completely drunk Charles Kennedy to go on. How sad. #BBBQT
— Alex Andreou (@sturdyAlex) March 12, 2015
Charles Kennedy… I'm not going to say it, but… #bbcqt
— Toby Young (@toadmeister) March 12, 2015
Charles Kennedy not at his best on #bbcqt… Hm.
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) March 12, 2015
Does the BBC think it's amusing to have a drunk Charles Kennedy on #bbcqt? Shameful.
— Mr Ethical (@nw_nicholas) March 12, 2015
Natalie Bennett making about as much sense sober as Charles Kennedy is drunk #bbcqt
— Colin Barratt (@ColinBarratt1) March 12, 2015
As a recovering alcoholic, seeing Charles Kennedy on #bbcqt made me sad. There go I but for the grace of God and all that. Get well soon sir
— rob collins (@rwpcollins) March 13, 2015
I’m not sure letting Charles Kennedy on #BBCQT was in anybody’s best interests, to be honest.
— Dave Jones (@WelshGasDoc) March 12, 2015
Seeing a lot of mocking towards Charles Kennedy.
A good man who needs a little help. Like many people do now and again.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) March 12, 2015
Should the BBC have let him go on?
Younger readers will not know that “Guilty Men” was a book written by Michael Foot, Frank Owen and Peter Howard, published in 1940, attacking the leading establishment figures of the day for their appeasement of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. As denunciations go it is the classic and an equal to Émile Zola’s J’accuse. Peter Oborne and Francis Weaver have entitled their new pamphlet to be published by the CPS tomorrow “Guilty Men“ in a conscious echo of that great score settler. It is a coruscating attack on those who would have entangled Britain in the disastrous euro.
Their premise is that “Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons.” This is not a mere opus of a gloat, they name and shame the establishment figures who shamelessly exaggerated, lied and eulogised on behalf the euro and the European Project and have yet to apologise for the disaster they would have wrought. The institutions who are guilty include the CBI, BBC and of course the Financial Times. The guilty men include the shameless pundits who smeared their opponents, for example David Aaronovitch, who compared David Owen to Oswald Moseley and Enoch Powell because the founder of the SDP had become sceptical of the wisdom of the euro currency. Andrew Rawnsley, Chris Patten, Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clarke, Charles Kennedy, Danny Alexander and from business Niall FitzGerald, Adair Turner and David Simon figure among the guilty men. It is instructive and amusing to remind ourselves of the hysterical claims and wild accusations made by these europhiles. Though this isn’t referred to in the text, it occurs to Guido that many of the same guilty men are currently making the same kind of hysterical claims about global warming.
Oborne has employed his usual panache in delivering the charges. It is well worth reading if you enjoy the thought of europhiles squirming guiltily.