Friday, January 06, 2006

Charlie Kennedy

It seems to me a great shame that the daggers are coming out to politically assisinate Charles Kennedy. It's rare that one finds a politician that one genuinely warms to. I think Charles Kennedy is a genuinely nice bloke. I'd like to go to the pub with him (as long as he has orange juice). I couldn't say that of Tony Blair, Michael Howard, David Cameron or Gordon Brown.

He's the most successful Liberal leader in 80 years. He has a drink problem, but so did George W. Bush. And he managed to get past it. I can't help having a lot of personal admiration for Kennedy. I think he's a very good politician, and a very good opposition leader. His was the only party that stood up against the Iraq War. He doesn't take himself too seriously, yet he often seems much more mature than Blair, Howard, or Cameron in Prime Minister's questions, when he asks serious questions about civil liberties and the war.

Having said all that, I don't think he looks like a Prime Minister. He looks like a leader of the opposition, but not like a Prime Minister. The election of David Cameron for the Conservatives I think has made the Liberal Democrats think about the need for stronger leadership. If the Lib Dems are serious about making Britain into a three party system, then they need a stronger leader that looks like a Prime Minister. The problem is I don't think they have anyone.

If there was someone they could bring in that was a very charismatic leader like Blair or Cameron, then I say, bring them on, it probably is time to hand over the mantle. But I really don't think there is anyone. Simon Hughes? Menzies Campbell? I don't think they're any better than Kennedy.

Right now I don't know anyone who could do a better job. If they exist, let them come forward.

We shall see, I suppose.


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