Monday, January 09, 2006

A personal and political tragedy

Regular readers of my column will know I am one of the few political journalists to have stuck up for poor old Charles Kennedy during his recent troubles, together with my old lobby colleague Paul Routledge.

Well, despite our best efforts, the plotters have done their worst and Charles - the democratically-elected choice of the Lib Dem membership - has now been forced to resign.

His much-publicisied alcohol problems were purely an excuse. After all, Sir Winston Churchill won the Second World War fuelled on a daily diet of champagne, brandy and claret, and even Margaret Thatcher regularly used to hit the whisky bottle in late-night talks with her advisers.

No, this was a plot orchestrated by the people around Sir Menzies Campbell who saw this crisis as a last chance to lever their man into the top job at 64.

I'll be returning to this issue of course, but for now I will confine my comments to the treachery of two individuals in particular whose behaviour has had me reaching for the sick bag in recent days.

ITN political correspondent Daisy McAndrew broke the story about Mr Kennedy's drink problem, using the inside information and extensive contacts gained from her spell as his press secretary from 1999-2001.

Equally disloyal was Sarah Teather MP, who would not have won the Brent East by-election if it hadn't been for Mr Kennedy's principled opposition to the Iraq War.

The irony is that Sir Menzies, who she is now supporting, wanted Mr Kennedy to back the war. Had he done so, Ms Teather would never have won the votes of her thousands of moslem constituents!

Meanwhile, fair play to another old lobby mucker, David Perry, for this exclusive interview with Mr Kennedy in his local paper, the Aberdeen Press and Journal.

IMHO, Mr Kennedy's obvious anger at the way he has been treated is completely justifiable.


Guido Fawkes Esq. said...

What evidence do you have he supported the war?

Paul Linford said...

I was working in Westminster at the time it all happened and it was well-known that there had been a behind-the-scenes disagreement between Kennedy and Campbell over whether or not to support it.


stalin's gran said...

He know of what he talk, Guido....