Charles Kennedy: A Tragic Flaw

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Politico's, 2006 - Political leadership - 307 pages
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"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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Contents

Happy Highland days
24
Star of the SDP
48
Exile under Ashdown
72
Copyright

10 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

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