Now look, I love Radio 4. I love the Today Programme. That John Humphrys is my hero, despite his funny way of spelling his surname (yeah, pot/kettle Mr Boredofjam).
I have no particular feelings towards Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats (I believe this is how you are meant to feel for a man who leads a political party which is unsure about its leanings). But this whole thing is like picking on the simple kid in the playground.
But when the rabid dogs of the UK press decide to go for the jugular of someone who is sufferring from an extreme personal problem – like one that Mr Kennedy has admitted to – I have difficulty agreeing that it is a good thing they’ve been scratching the itch of “Mr Kennedy, you’re an alcoholic, ain’t you?” for so bloody long.
It seems they are unable to understand why he lied to them for so long.
Well, shit, I ain’t an alcoholic (although my mother and gran think I am), but I guess that (a) admitting it to yourself and (b) admitting it to your family is something that will be difficult/traumatic enough. Frankly, those steps in themselves would be enough to send me back to the comfort of the “gold watch”. So why the hell, why the hell, until he is ready to have said something, to have worked his troubles through, to have come out on the other side of the personal fucking hell he’s been going through, shouldn’t Mr K have been able to just deny everything and get on with coming to terms with what he had to do?
Of course there are those out there who say “He’s in a job that means he should be subject to public scrutiny. He has to accept that the press will go after him. He is, after all, a politician. Bad luck chum.” Indeed, the press do an excellent job at digging out all the hypocrites who run this country – and have brought Governments to their knees (Anyone up for a bit of the Tory’s famous “Back to Basics” campaign?). Anyone in public office who is defrauding us, the people who pay their bloody wages, should be exposed for being the cretins that they are. I have absolutely no doubt that all Governments are crooked: The old boys’ network; putting things out to tender to “preferred suppliers” (ie some Minister’s brother-in-law).
But anyone who finds that they have to attack a person because of what they like to do in the privacy of their home, be it sex, food or drink is wrong. Everyone, everyone, has things about them that they really wish were never exposed. Well guess what, when you pop your clogs who’s going to be cleaning out your house and discovering that secret stash of porn (nearly typed port) you keep hidden away? Mine’s hidden away nicely though thanks.
Charles Kennedy should have been left alone to get on with sorting his life out. As it is, he’s now been forced to make probably one of the bravest speeches I think I’ve ever heard a politician make.
Yes, he lied to the attack dogs of the British Press, however he never denied he liked a bit of a drink, and would use good humour to deflect any further prying. I believe that whilst he was in charge of the Conservative Party, William Hague once boasted at being a 10 pints a night man. Did the press pin him down and accuse him of being a piss-head? Nope. They had a jolly good laugh about it in a “it’s not a serious thing, ten pints a night, oh no” way.
Had the Liberal Democrats started to fall apart before the last election, had there been obvious signs of Mr Kennedy leading his party astray, then maybe there would have been a valid reason for the bloke feck off and let someone else take over. But even my lame political mind can remember the Lib Dems winning more seats in the last election than ever before.
Was this as a result of people finding Charles Kennedy an untrustworthy drunkard? I doubt it.
I hope that the press, now they have their blood will let him get on with sorting out his life.
(And that’s it for politics. I’m off down the pub.)