Skip to main content

Twelve Steps

I have known Charles Kennedy on and off for more than twenty years. He is a thoughtful political voice in the often unreasonable swirl of British politics. He is charming, graceful and humorous. He has a political toughness that has stood the Liberal Democrats in good stead while he has been the leader of the party- it was largely his work that the Liberal Democrats stuck to their principles over Iraq. However, his problems with alcohol have been an open secret for several years.

The fact of Charles Kennedy admitting to his alcoholism, is of a piece with the man- and it demonstrates his integrity. However, his Parliamentary colleagues have been very concerned for some time that he has not been able to control his illness. It is clear that, if nothing else, British political life is entering a new and more competitive phase. The stakes are very high: Labour looks tired and the Blair-Brown big government approach distinctly past its sell-by date. The Conservatives, despite their shiny new leader, are disorganised, listless in approach and shallow in policy. As for the Liberal Democrats, they are disappointed that further progress did not come in bigger scale in 2005.

Liberal Democrat M.P.s are now ambitious- they will not settle, as a previous generation of Liberals had to do, for influencing policy from the sidelines. Thus the problems of Charles Kennedy must now be addressed. It is extremely reluctantly that I write these words, for I know the tragedy of the man: Mr. Kennedy must leave the leadership now.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post Truth and Justice

The past decade has seen the rise of so-called "post truth" politics.  Instead of mere misrepresentation of facts to serve an argument, political figures began to put forward arguments which denied easily provable facts, and then blustered and browbeat those who pointed out the lie.  The political class was able to get away with "post truth" positions because the infrastructure that reported their activity has been suborned directly into the process. In short, the media abandoned long-cherished traditions of objectivity and began a slow slide into undeclared bias and partisanship.  The "fourth estate" was always a key piece of how democratic societies worked, since the press, and later the broadcast media could shape opinion by the way they reported on the political process. As a result there has never been a golden age of objective media, but nevertheless individual reporters acquired better or worse reputations for the quality of their reporting and

We need to talk about UK corruption

After a long hiatus, mostly to do with indolence and partly to do with the general election campaign, I feel compelled to take up the metaphorical pen and make a few comments on where I see the situation of the UK in the aftermath of the "Brexit election". OK, so we lost.  We can blame many reasons, though fundamentally the Conservatives refused to make the mistakes of 2017 and Labour and especially the Liberal Democrats made every mistake that could be made.  Indeed the biggest mistake of all was allowing Johnson to hold the election at all, when another six months would probably have eaten the Conservative Party alive.  It was Jo Swinson's first, but perhaps most critical, mistake to make, and from it came all the others.  The flow of defectors and money persuaded the Liberal Democrat bunker that an election could only be better for the Lib Dems, and as far as votes were concerned, the party did indeed increase its vote by 1.3 million.   BUT, and it really is the bi

Media misdirection

In the small print of the UK budget we find that the Chancellor of the Exchequer (the British Finance Minister) has allocated a further 15 billion Pounds to the funding for the UK track and trace system. This means that the cost of the UK´s track and trace system is now 37 billion Pounds.  That is approximately €43 billion or US$51 billion, which is to say that it is amount of money greater than the national GDP of over 110 countries, or if you prefer, it is roughly the same number as the combined GDP of the 34 smallest economies of the planet.  As at December 2020, 70% of the contracts for the track and trace system were awarded by the Conservative government without a competitive tender being made . The program is overseen by Dido Harding , who is not only a Conservative Life Peer, but the wife of a Conservative MP, John Penrose, and a contemporary of David Cameron and Boris Johnson at Oxford. Many of these untendered contracts have been given to companies that seem to have no notewo