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Friday, January 06, 2006


I rather approve of Charlie, he is no policy wonk but has good instincts & didn't blink over Iraq while the Tories ended up on both sides - in favour of the war while saying Bliar lied over WMDs.

1) Has he cured his alcoholism: No. 2 months is not long enough for anybody to say that. On the other hand it is clear that he has gone quite a way.

2) Can a controlled alcoholic do the job: Yes. On this we have a lot of hypocricy. Asquith, LLoyd George, Churchill, Eden (ok Eden was crap) & far more people than we like to admit have substance problems & still do good jobs. The sight of journalists & MPs claiming to be unaware of this is non-credible.

3) Did he lie: Yes, undoubtedly, & despite all the guff about him bravely coming clean he did so was just a few minutes before ITN were about to out him. On the other hand there are some personal matters for which it is somewhat impertinent for the media to expect a straight answer. On the third hand while this is a personal matter it is not purely so. In general I find it difficult to say he should have gone public from the start. I actively don't like the idea that politicians have to be saints. Human beings of well above average competence & integrity should do.

4) Can the party be credible with such a leader: I think so. The days when a Temperance candidate could beat Churchill in an election are gone. When the press ragged him on not knowing community charge rates a few hours after the birth of his baby the public thought it was the press who were being stupid. Equally when the Sun reported that Paddy had committed adultery years previously the public said "so what" (heh I don't approve of him but not for that).

5) Can he do the job if his shadow cabinet openly call for him to go? - No.

& perhaps the strongest argument in his favour

6) Who can replace him? - Nobody. Hughes is to lefty, Oaten is to pro-market (not for my taste but for most LDs) & Campbell is to old & cares only about foreign policy. More importantly only Hughes has even a trace of his charisma.

If I was running it I would tell the rest of them to "shut up & soldier" & see how it goes. There is no pressure from an immediate election. Cameron can be given a bit of time to hang himself. Either he will do a good job now or he will screw up & a replacement will have been given time to emerge & even if that happened the party would at least be seen as having behaved like the good guys of politics.


You are to be commended for supporting a proven liar as leader of the Liberal Democrats at the same time as they are trying to kick you out for speaking what you believe to be the truth.
Kennedy could cross the floor.

A Party that elects to commit suicide deserves no less.
I more or less agree with your ppost Neil, but there are one or two points which I think should be addressed.

1) Has he cured his alcoholism? The answer is no - nor will he ever be cured. A recovering alcoholic will always be recovering. There is no cure.

2) Can a controlled alcoholic do the job? Almost certainly yes - and I despise the hypocrisy we've seen from sections of the media. Journalists calling for drunks to quit their posts - whatever next? Half of them can't write without a drink.

3) Did he lie? Yes and that was his biggest(and possibly only) mistake. But an alcohollic will only admit a problem when she or he is ready to do so.

4) Can the party be credible with such a leader? It can certainly be credible with a leader who has shown such honesty.

5) Can he do the job if his shadow cabinet openly call for him to go? - No. You're right there, but look at the shadow cabinet he has and tell me that they deserve any trust from any leader.

6) Who can replace him? Again you are right - there is nobody. Ming Campbell has been hovering about like a thirsty vampire, but only a fool would give him any more responsibility than he has at the moment.

You obviously know the LibDems more intimately than I do (or would wish to), so I am happy to bow to your knowledge of the individuals and personalities involved, but surely the grassroots members will see through the smoke and mirrors to skillfully drawn by Kennedy's 'colleagues' and realise that he's not half as bad as they make out. At least he hasn't been shagging his way around Westminster (that we know of) and he certainly hasn't appeared on Celeb Big Bruv.
>Subject: Your Answers about kennedy
perhaps I deleted by accident but I can't find your answers.
I may well disagree with your answers but there is no requirement otherwise -
what is the fun in always agreeing.
please repost.
Neil craig
a place to stand<

Hi Neil,
Thanks for your mail - from memory my comments were roughly as follows:

While I generally agree with your sentiments there are one or two points that do need further discussion.
>Has he cured his alcoholism: No.<
I agree. An alcoholic is never cured. He or she will always be classed as a 'recovering alcoholic', but two months without a drink is a good start.

>Can a controlled alcoholic do the job: Yes.<
Again I agree, but I am sickened by the absolute hypocrisy shown by the fourth estate, which has more drunks per head of population than any other trade sector.

>Did he lie: Yes<
He did lie and that, to many, is less acceptable than being a drunk. It is easy to say it is a personal matter and should be dealt with away from the glare of publicity, but that isn't possible. He was a nationally-known figure, the leader of the third party in British politics, and much the same as any other leader his life ceased to be his own when he took on the job.

>Can the party be credible with such a leader?<
Mostly. I hesitate to use this comparison, but look at George W Bush - an ex-cokehead and alcoholic. We might take the piss out of Bush, but the fact remains that he his in his second term as president of the only superpower left in the world.

>Can he do the job if his shadow cabinet openly call for him to go? - No<
True, but since I posted it has been overtaken by events.

>Who can replace him? - Nobody.<
Absolutely. Now that the powers of darkness have forced him out, they'll be seen to have consigned the party to the fringes. Kennedy did a lot to make the LibDems credible and they have a lot to thank him for. The contenders all appear to have had personality bypasses. At least Kennedy was human - and his original (I'm a drunk) statement endeared him to many ordinary people.
I think many questions have to be asked about Despicable Daisy (McAndrews') role in her former boss's downfall. I hope she's feeling pleased with herself.

Er.. that's it I think.
(This post was re-sent by Hack of hack's life as it got lost)
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