I woke up yesterday morning and heard Charles Kennedy walking along Brighton seafront, talking to reporters. Somebody said that the gaggle of reporters was much bigger these days; in a way, he’s more important as an MP who had a drink problem than he ever was as a party leader.
There’s an important truth here. The Charles Kennedy case told us exactly what’s wrong with modern politics. It couldn’t have been clearer. And it wasn’t the fact that Kennedy drank too much. After all, how much is too much? He was, mostly, pretty sober, morning and evening. I can just remember a single occasion when he made a speech looking hung over. He wasn’t a terrible drunk, then - just too much of a drunk to be a party leader. Fair enough.
But the real problem was with the press. When Kennedy went, I remember people saying, ‘Oh, we’d known about this for a while.’ Consider this for a moment. If the press knew, and didn’t tell us, what does this say about the press?
That they care about politicians more than they care about their readers.
Jesus, I thought. I had a moment of incoherent anger. I wondered what we weren’t being told – about the war, the economy, the ‘alleged plot to blow up transatlantic flights.’
I lay there, momentarily furious.
I pressed my head into the pillow. Ten seconds later, I was asleep.

Liberal doses: Journalists tell us that they knew all along about
Charles Kennedy’s boozing habits. So why didn’t they tell us?