Friday, January 06, 2006

Why I'm Backing Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy's bold and unprecedented statement yesterday shows that he has confronted his own problems and now stands ready to lead the Liberal Democrats to even greater victories in the future. Criticism is loud from the usual suspects - the Murdoch press and other parties' supporters - but there seems to be an electrifyingly positive feeling in the country at large. People have always liked Charles, and they now like him even more. When Tom McNally declared that Kennedy was brilliant on his good days, but that we needed more good days, he identified the only problem. We now know why Charles has had non-good days, and we can know for certain- now this problem is out in the open -that he will have any support to ensure it doesn't happen again.

At the top levels of government around the world, alcoholics always have and always will serve with excellence and dignity. So do people with mental illness, personality disorders and a wide range of other conditions, mostly undivulged. Even with this problem, Charles Kennedy remains the best man to lead the Lib Dems to greater strength in the future. Any suggestions he should not have tried to keep this private, are questions of political tactics, not integrity. He retains the confidence of the overhwelming majority of the party and the British people. The fact The Sun and The Times disapprove of him is wholly unsurprising.

In next few days, any sordid glee from the Lib Dems' political opponents will turn to despair. We will see Britain's best politician performing at his peak, beyond even hos best in the past, with a confidence, vigour and energy we have never seen before. If you think you've seen Charles Kennedy at his best, you ain't seen nothing yet.