||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
That they care about politicians more than they care about their
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
Liberal doses: Journalists tell us that
they knew all along about
Charles Kennedy’s boozing habits. So why didn’t they tell