Thursday, January 05, 2006

 

Charles, I fear, is Toast

A very odd press conference by Charles Kennedy indeed. First he overturns his steadfast insistence he has never had a drink problem- remember that time ages ago when Paxman was criticised for pressing him on the issue?- and now says he's had professional help which makes him sound like he actually had a very serious problem- enough to take him off the booze completely.

Secondly I don't think the Lib Dems will wish to keep as leader someone who is 'flaky' enough to be an alcoholic. Occasionally and alcoholic can survive if he'she owns the company or has protection from the top brass in a big set-up. But in a democratically elected body- with rivals active for the throne- it seems unlikely Charles will stay long. Though a leading swedish rightwing politician once managed it I believe, back in the eighties.

Thirdly, he talks of a leadership contest- again over-turning much of what he has said over the last week or so- but I doubt now he has an earthly.
Finally, and separately, we hear that before Christmas half of his Shadow Cabinet wrote him a letter expressing no confidence in him as leader. The rank and file still love him- it is said (and by Charlie himself quite a lot)- but will they continue to do so now? This seems like yet another a tragic end to a distinguished career; a scalp for Cameron in one sense and a relief for Blair that the person at the heart of the storm is not in the Labour Party.

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