Charles Kennedy: A Tragic Flaw
"Charles Kennedy is an enigma. A talented strategist and an intuitive media performer and communicator - a rare combination - he became one of the best-known and most liked politicians of his generation, appearing on chat shows and seeming to break the mould of more conventional politicians. He led the Liberal Democrats during a remarkably successful period in the party's turbulent history to achieve the best result for a third party in more than eighty years at the general election of 2005. Yet throughout there were doubts. As a shy, introverted man Kennedy was often uncomfortable with his persona as a public figure. He faced criticism of inactivity whenever the media spot-light turned away from him." "Kennedy had an extraordinary start to his career as a member of Parliament, winning his seat for the Social Democratic Party against all expectations at just twenty-three. He was one of the few politicians to emerge with credit from the disastrous merger of the SDP and the Liberal Party in 1988 and was tipped from an early age as a future leader. His achievements once he became leader were considerable. He broke with the strategy of his predecessors to step out from Labour's shadow and to establish the Liberal Democrats as an independent and growing opposition force. As Britain prepared to invade Iraq, he became the first opposition party leader to oppose British military action since Hugh Gaitskell led protests against the Suez campaign in 1956." "But nemesis was near. Persistent worries circulated privately about his health, with growing rumours of a barely managed drink problem. Slowly the secret of his alcoholism was shared among senior party figures. At first they tried to support him but, after a series of calamitous performances in public and private, confidence in him gradually drained away. The confrontation of Kennedy by some of his ablest MPs precipitated one of the most dramatic episodes in recent British political history as he tried to fight his critics before being forced to relinquish leadership of his party."--BOOK JACKET.
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alcoholism Alliance Alun Michael Andrew Stunell Anna Werrin asked ballot became began Bob Maclennan by-election called candidate Charles Kennedy chief whip Chris Rennard coalition colleagues committee Conservatives constituency Cowley Street Davey David Laws David Owen David Steel debate Dick Newby discussion election campaign electoral frontbench Glasgow Highlands House of Commons interview Iraq issue Jackie Rowley journalists Kennedy's Labour Party later leader leader's office leadership election Lib Dem MPs Lib Dems Liberal Democrats Liberal Party majority manifesto Mark Oaten Matthew Taylor Menzies Campbell merged party merger Michael Howard newspaper Paddy Ashdown Parliament parliamentary party meeting party's political politician polling position press conference Prime Minister Razzall reform resignation role Roy Jenkins Sarah Teather saying Scottish SDP's seats senior shadow cabinet Simon Hughes social speech spokesman strategy talked telephone television told Tony Blair Tory Vince Cable vote voters week Westminster