Sunday, July 30, 2006

Kennedy denies leadership reports

I see that the well-known cerebral newspaper, the News of the World, reports that Charles Kennedy is preparing a challenge to get his old job back as leader. Reports of regular "secret" meetings with aides are the basis of this. The Press Association also report on this, with details of the people who are supposed to be at the meetings.

All this is described as "fanciful" by Kennedy.

On balance, I believe Kennedy's denial. I don't think we should give much credence to News of the World forays into political reporting (alongside 'Michael Portillo's romps in Commons with City babe')

On the other hand, the denial would sound more credible if Kennedy refers to Ming by his name next time he is interviewed, rather than as "my successor" (as he referred to him on Question Time). And, the conspiracy theorist in me would not be surprised if there is a grain of truth in the story - at least regarding a challenge after the election.

The News of the World article is headed "Kennedy plot to oust 'Ming'" and starts: "Former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy - dumped because of his drinking - is plotting to get his old job back. He is holding secret meetings with top aides in a bid to replace bumbling successor Sir Menzies "Ming" Campbell..."

However, it is not all sweetness and light for Charles. The story also mentions a "new biography of Kennedy coming out this summer...The book will detail Kennedy's drinking and paint a picture of a man who was not in control of his party." Perhaps he needs "secret" weekly meetings to work out his damage limitation strategy for the publication of that book.

The News of the World report ends by saying "However, other friends have warned Kennedy that he's deluding himself, and that such a (leadership) move would make him a laughing stock. 'He had to quit because senior MPs said at the time they would not serve under him,' one said. 'Even if Sir Menzies was deposed I just can't see them supporting Charles again.' "

I can't find the News of the World report online (they only seem to cyberfy their more salacious stories). So I had to don dark glasses and mackintosh (hot in this weather) to buy a copy.


  1. I think we should be able to allow Kennedy a small amount of bitterness over his ousting, even if it was for good reasons, and be grateful that he hasn't been more outspoken.

  2. Meddler here.

    Its all rather strange. None of the three parties has any policies, so all three are trying to appeal on personality. You have to argue that Kennedy is the best of a bad bunch.

  3. Perhaps we should go down the American route and have actor-politicians. Someone who is charismatic, intelligent, and loved by the public. The yanks have tried this, but made th e mistake of picking second rate actors to fill the role (Regan and Arnie, of course). We have masses of excellent actors to choose from. If it was up to me I'd cast John Hurt as PM (wasn't his potrayal of Alan Clark fantastic?) backed up by the cream of British script writers. A team of marketeers could invent a new party (Keep Britain Lovely, perhaps?) with middle of the road but interesting policies that everyone could agree with and we'd be on a home run. What do you think? It works for me.