Charlie Kennedy 316


I have known Charlie since about 1979. He was, and always remained, a brilliant, witty and very gentle man. His weaknesses were of the gregarious kind, one of many things we had in common. We first met on the universities debating circuit and in student politics. He became President of Glasgow University Union and I of Dundee University Students Association. As we both ran as Liberal Democrats that was uncommon. By one of life’s quirks, a generation later he was Rector of Glasgow University and I was Rector of Dundee University. We both shared a horror of the marketization of universities and an urgent desire to return to the old Scottish tradition of democratic governance, and we worked together with other Rectors to institute regular Rectors’ meetings and try to make the office of Rector relevant.

Charlie had come under the most enormous pressure not to oppose the Iraq war. The entire force of the British establishment bore down on him, including from former party leaders and from Ming Campbell, though he denies it now. Charlie showed tremendous courage and spirit in resisting the pressures to which almost everybody in authority in the Westminster power structure caved in.

Charlie told me the story of how, as party leader, he was invited by Blair to Downing Street to be shown the original key evidence on Iraqi WMD. Charlie was really worried as he walked there, that there really would be compelling evidence as Blair said, and he would then be unable to maintain the party line against the war. When he saw the actual intelligence on which the dodgy dossier was based, he was astounded. It was incredibly weak and “totally unconvincing”. Blair was not present while Charlie saw the reports, but he saw him afterwards and told Blair he was quite astonished by the paucity of the evidence. Blair went white and looked really rattled, and resorted to a plea for patriotic solidarity. He then reminded Charlie he was not allowed to reveal what he had seen. Charlie felt bound by good faith – he had been shown the intelligence in confidence – not to publish this. Not I think his best moral judgement.

Charlie was very definitely not an enthusiastic supporter of the coalition and, though a federalist not a nationalist, generally kept his distance from the Better Together campaign. He seemed to me to have lost self-confidence through the exposure of his struggles with alcohol, and probably underrated his influence. Charlie was consistent in both his faults and his principles. As President of Glasgow University Union, he was inclined to hands off sybaritism; his expenses and use of taxis became an issue, and that epicurean streak never left him. In his presence I always felt an inferior talent, and those of us who knew him 35 years ago I think all expected him to rise even higher than he did. But he never had the sociopathic streak that makes a dominant political career, and he was at base a very decent and kind man. That is how I shall remember him.


316 thoughts on “Charlie Kennedy

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  • Dreoilin

    “like Dreoilin who has swept off as per usual”

    What an odd thing to say. You can disappear for days and have everyone wondering if you’re alive or dead, but I can’t leave for a few hours?

    Well that’s precisely what I’m going to do now. Again.

  • Villager

    Thank you Habby.

    Note Mary did not deny what i said. Only turned to her normal puerile self, her usual garbage that she tries to pass off as comments!

    On Anon’s post on alcohol and ‘ism, there is anoth profound question that I would like to raise. Which is, Why do people drink at all. I’m not being judgmental here whether they should drink or not. More seriously trying to get people to think about the process of drinking. What are its effects, perceived as good, bad or ugly. But what are they?

    The clue to the answer lies in the word ‘pro-found’ — note that word has two parts to it.

    Open to all…as and when.

  • Mary

    Sanctimonious Comments ‘R’ Us.

    ~~~

    Thought you had gone out for the day Dreoilin. Another bit of sham.

    Villager is obviously not a teacher at the K school as we were originally led to believe. He has all day to spend time on here.

  • Republicofscotland

    “Very well said, Anon1.”
    _________________________

    Ah Dreolin,I’ve been meaning ask about your profile pic,does it represent your wild feral side,or is it as some of us suspect in here,that you’re really just a bit of a p*ssy.

  • Republicofscotland

    “In addition, she is a very divided, fragmented woman. How can such an inwardly divided person contribute to the wholeness of Peace (outwardly) in the World. Serious question.”
    ___________________________

    Villageidiot.

    A pretty galling statement,for you considering the obscene mouthfuls you directed at RobG.

    No point in you asking serious questions,no one takes you seriously anyway.

  • Republicofscotland

    Well Mary you must be doing something right,the tragic trio are ganging up on you keep the good work up.

  • Mary

    A first? Admission of Israeli bias.

    BBC interview with Israeli defence minister breached impartiality rules
    Posted by The Editors on June 3, 2015, 1:02 pm

    A Radio 4 Today programme interview with Israeli defence minister Moshe Ya’alon breached rules on impartiality, according to a provisional BBC ruling.

    Ken Loach was among those who complained to the BBC about presenter Sarah Montague’s failure to effectively challenge Ya’alon’s statements on Palestine during an interview about the Israeli election in March.

    In a letter to complainants, BBC head of editorial complaints, Fraser Steel, wrote: “Mr Ya’alon was allowed to make several controversial statements on those matters without any meaningful challenge and the programme makers have accepted that the interviewer ought to have interrupted him and questioned him on his assertions.”

    Fraser also said that while there were mitigating factors, including the very brief window available to record the interview and the fact it was intended to focus on the Likud party’s election victory, “the result was that the output fell below the BBC’s standards off impartiality”.

    /..
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1433332921.html

    A by the way. Sarah Montague is Lady Brooke in real life.

    ‘A new dilemma for the BBC. Three years after Ampleforth-educated Ed Stourton was removed from Radio 4’s Today programme for being too posh, regular presenter Sarah Montague has become even posher.

    Colonel’s daughter Sarah, 46, who broke the hearts of the nation’s children by declaring Father Christmas wasn’t real, is the new Lady Brooke, following the death in France at 74 of her baronet father-in-law, Sir Richard Brooke. Ex-banker Sir Richard, a connoisseur of art, antiques and fine wines, was a chairman of Boodle’s, a member of Pratt’s and the Tarporley Hunt in Cheshire. All very politically incorrect for the Beeb.

    A private funeral takes place at Sir Richard’s French chateau on Friday to be followed by a thanksgiving in London. Former stockbroker Sarah became the second wife of Sir Richard’s heir, hotelier Christoph Brooke, in 2002 and has since presented him with three daughters — but, so far, no son and heir.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2226123/Proud-parents-Tony-Cherie-Blair-daughter-Kathryn-called-Bar.html

  • Villager

    “Villager is obviously not a teacher at the K school as we were originally led to believe. He has all day to spend time on here.”

    Oh really Holy Moll! Where and by whom, were you lead to believe….? Careful pf those powers of deduction.

    And you stated you wanted to let me have the word?

    You can’t resist us can you? Double meaning — think carefully!

  • lysias

    You would think, from what is said here, that I have repeatedly said I studied at Oxford. To the best of my recollection, I have mentioned it in passing on this forum three times. I suppose this makes the fourth time.

    I first mentioned it when I was unaware of how unnaturally inquisitive our troll is. After he started badgering me to reveal further information about myself, I resolved to reveal nothing further, insofar as I could help it.

    When he offered me an assurance that he would not use such information to identify me, my suspicions intensified.

    Meanwhile, he is careful to reveal virtually nothing about himself. We are left free to speculate on the reasons for such reticence.

    And, by the way, I have repeatedly said that I was never a member of the U.S. Army. A denial to which our troll has paid no attention. Let me repeat it again.

  • Dreoilin

    “Thought you had gone out for the day Dreoilin. Another bit of sham.”

    I said nothing about “going out for the day”. You need to double check people’s words before accusing them of “sham”. Since you’re such a copy and paste expert, perhaps you should copy and paste the remarks you think you’re replying to. Then you couldn’t make rude, ignorant accusations like the above.

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/06/charlie-kennedy/comment-page-2/#comment-529656

    “Sanctimonious Comments ‘R’ Us.”

    Where do you get this rubbish? When you’re googling “Villager” and finding video games? Or do you pick them up on Medialens where you pick up BiBiC and Jeremy *unt etc?

    “Ah Dreolin,I’ve been meaning ask about your profile pic,does it represent your wild feral side,or is it as some of us suspect in here,that you’re really just a bit of a p*ssy.”

    “as some of us suspect in here”? Having a big confab about it were you?

  • Mary

    Yes RoS. I should not really be wasting my time replying to the individual but the preachifying gets right up my nose.

    I must find a few more illustrations of Israeli barbarity. It will be an easy task.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Think the troll, apparently Habby, is trying to make out that you are my sock.

    I was drafted into the US Army, and served in its CIC during the Korean War, though I have never studied at Oxford. I once gave a paper at St. Catherine’s College. as I recall, on Lord Brougham at a legal history conference.

    Making out that posters resort to socks is a good way for covert spooks to discredit their targets.

  • John Goss

    “And, by the way, I have repeatedly said that I was never a member of the U.S. Army. A denial to which our troll has paid no attention. Let me repeat it again.”

    Lysias, I am afraid it doesn’t make any difference to Noddy. That is one of his trademarks making people out to be something they’re not. He can make fair comments like Villager does 10.23 am. But he prefers to try and rile people. It is a pity because the blog could be a much more pleasant place to visit without the a little more courtesy.

    I don’t like to see all the ganging up on Mary.

  • mods-cm-org.uk

    Conga Eel on this thread seems to be the same commenter as Old Etonian on the Coulson thread, and seems to be the same commenter who posts under many different names.

    Villager appears to post only as Villager, and Trowbridge H.Ford appears to post only as Trowbridge H. Ford.

    Habbabkuk changes email address periodically.

  • technicolour

    “I must find a few more illustrations of Israeli barbarity. It will be an easy task.”

    Is that what this has come down to? Not just the distasteful combination of childish insults and repetitive cries of ‘troll’ with the horror of the Palestinians’ plight, but an exercise in point scoring.

  • MJ

    “alcohol is still poison, and it can kill anyone if taken in too large a dose, as Charles Kennedy has shown”

    Has he? Has there been an autopsy yet, determining the cause of death?

  • Mary

    Now Technicolour brings up the rear in the Sanctimonious Stakes. Best advised to stay out of it as a non-finisher.

  • technicolour

    What? I am serious, Mary. I have said in the past that I’m grateful for your postings on Palestine and Gaza, because it is too easy to allow the continuing perpetuation of horror to be subsumed by the mainstream. I find it pretty chilling to see the brutal reality being used as part of some kind of personal point-scoring exercise.

  • Bob Nugent

    I am glad to see a VERY SINCERE EULOGY TO THIS GOOD SCOTSMAN
    over past two days it has has been sad to see and hear the sometime abusive comments.
    This man does NOT deserve this

  • Macky

    Déjà vu time again, as it must be about two years ago that the Mary was targeted once again by the same Gang of Four, all that’s needed now is for Resident Dissident & Anon, with their assorted sock-puppets, to join in, for a rerun of months of targeted abuse & trolling of Mary; notice it took the unwelcome re-appearance of Villager for the cowardly pack attack to earnestly begin again, as up to then the Mary Haters were limiting their venom to the occasional snark & snipe, but like hyenas they work in tag-teams, each inciting & egging each other on.

    ROS; “Villageidiot…A pretty galling statement,for you considering the obscene mouthfuls you directed at RobG.”

    Must a Krishnamurty directive to purge yourself of the vileness within by expelling it through a potty mouth, but I think the Villager is so full of it, that it will take him his entire life-time.

  • Dreoilin

    If anyone is full of it, it’s you Macky. You seem to have no purpose here only to act as some kind of bodyguard for Mary. If she could make her own arguments – back up what she says – she wouldn’t need one. But she can’t. So you step in and throw some abuse around. Lovely.

    And after abusing me about my support for Palestinians, you don’t even notice the excellent point made by Technicolour about Mary. You’re just another sad hanger-on here.

  • Dreoilin

    “Has he? Has there been an autopsy yet, determining the cause of death?”

    I don’t believe so, MJ. Trowbridge has been peering into his crystal ball again.

  • Macky

    @Dreoilin, your personal bodyguard & buddy being the sly Technicolour; she may fool some people here, but I’ve always recognised her gate-keeping games.

  • Dreoilin

    So, Macky, you have no opinion on Technicolour’s point. Just vapid as usual.

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