One of the highlights of an excellent Brighton conference was seeing Jane and Paddy Ashdown amongst us. What Paddy said after Charles' speech was quite controversial, but right:
You never quite say never in politics. There are always exceptions and one of those exceptions is when you leave the stage, you leave the stage.
Hearing this finally made me realise that Charles Kennedy will never be leader of the Liberal Democrats again. When Ming decides to retire in the distant future, we'll have a new generation on offer. We won't want to go back to the past. But that doesn't mean that Charles can't play a very full role in public life, just as Paddy has done after his retirement as leader.