Charles Kennedy

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So so sad.

Genuinely the only reason I voted LibDem in 2005. A hero
 

Pliny Harris

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A proper politician and Lib Dem foiled by his own drinking. Surely one of the most likeable and upstanding in his party wherever you may stand.
 
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Bloody hell. 55 is no age.

A proper genuine politician who had convictions and stuck to them. Not too many of them about.
 

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A proper politician and Lib Dem foiled by his own drinking. Surely one of the most likeable and upstanding in his party wherever you may stand.

This. Charles Kennedy always came across as a likeable politician and had led the Liberal Democrats to reasonably successful General Election campaigns in 2001 and 2005. However having watched the last Question Time in which he featured, it was quite obvious that he'd been drinking before the show commenced.

55 is too young, RIP.
 

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Met Charles Kennedy on the Glasgow sleeper years ago. He had stepped out of the train somewhere in the middle of the night (Crewe perhaps?) and was talking to a guard. I couldn't sleep so also wanted a breath of fresh air. He was really nice and what struck me was that he was interesting but also interested in what both I and the train guard was saying. Can you see Call Me Dave or Osborne chatting to train guards and plebs like me? (Assuming Osborne knows what a train is)

I think many will be saying during the next few days that Charles Kennedy was a man of the people: I can vouch for that. Would that some of the current crop of Tory and SNP MPs (in particular) would learn some of Kennedy's humility, genuine charm and common touch. And no...."common touch" is not Tweeting your inane thoughts into a phone.
 

rudebwoyben

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I liked the fact that he never took himself too seriously and always set his views out in simple un-politician-like language. He espoused very well the natural scepticism that many people expressed about our joining with the USA in Iraq, when most of the rest of the political establishment saw it as more important that we stood in lockstep with the Bush administration.
I wonder if it's the fact that he was voted out of his seat after 32 years, almost all of his adult life, that pushed him over the edge? It would have been a big shock to him physically and mentally to no longer have a presence in what would have been his second home.
 

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I wonder if it's the fact that he was voted out of his seat after 32 years, almost all of his adult life, that pushed him over the edge? It would have been a big shock to him physically and mentally to no longer have a presence in what would have been his second home.

Are you suggesting he may have taken his own life, or that the stress has caused something fatal to happen physically?

Can't really find much information at present.
 

rudebwoyben

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Are you suggesting he may have taken his own life, or that the stress has caused something fatal to happen physically?

Can't really find much information at present.
The latter really but more that such a sudden change of circumstances would have been very traumatic for him and his body couldn't cope with it.
It's not an uncommon thing. There's been some studies done about this, especially in relation to death-rates of people who die within 6 months of retirement.
 

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that could be the reason but it still ties into his drinking problem unfortunately.

He was very anti on the coalition and I think he'd held his seat from the SNP easily, but for his drunken appearances over recent years, plus he'd probably gone straight into the house of lords, but for his personal problems.

Just a sad downfall where personal demons take over
 

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He'll always be remembered for standing on the right side of history with the Iraq war. Sad
 

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Always came across as a very decent politician and a man of principle he will be a huge loss, especially to his family with whom my thoughts are at this moment.
 

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Horribly sad news to wake up to today.
 

SALTIRE

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Heard it when I got up, absolutely tragic. One of the few genuine and likeable politicians who stuck by his beliefs and was a long and fine servant to his constituency and to the UK. He really will be sadly missed.

RIP Charles Kennedy
 

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I'd like to thank Salmond for reminding me that, in any walk of life, it is easy to be a charmless shit. It takes considerable courage and strength of character to be compassionate and respectful.

Salmond has just ably demonstrated why Scotland needs men and women of integrity who can look beyond defining the world by a single issue.
I genuinely hope that SNP MPs (and others) take note of what Ian Blackford, Kennedy's SNP parliamentary successor, writes today about the humility, warmth and generosity of spirit of Charles Kennedy after his 1999 election victory.
 
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Alty

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Just seemed a really lovely bloke. Didn't agree with him on absolutely everything but he was generally politically sound and had that rare skill among politicians of being as good a listener as he was a talker.

Salmond's 'tribute' was an absolute disgrace. Could he not even get through something as tragic as this without making a political point out of it? Jesus Christ.
 
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Martino Knockavelli

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I will never forget the first time I met Charles Kennedy. One chilly November evening in the year of our Lord 1965 I and half a dozen other hardy souls were gathered around the stage door at London Studios in Lambeth after the filming of an episode of Have I Got News For You. We were waiting for Ross Noble, and we called ourselves the Noblerones, for we were the most loyal of his fans. We hoped to grasp a glimpse of our hirsute hero, and, all being well, to secure his autograph too. I had met and spoken with Ross several times before, but the anticipation of such encounters always brought on a feeling of profound anxiety in me, and this occasion was no different, so I retreated to a dimly lit corner to smoke a roll up and marshall my emotions.

I had come hoping to meet a man who shared a name with a Scottish earldom, but I was to encounter another Celtic chieftain that night, because lurking in that shadowy nook was none other than Charles Kennedy MP, enjoying a Capstan Medium Strength. He nodded in greeting and said “it’s a filthy habit, isn’t it?”. “Yes it is,” I agreed. “I enjoyed your line about Menzies Campbell’s time in the Special Boat Service”, I said. “Thanks, I was pretty happy with that one,” he replied, chuckling in his disarming brogue. As we got to talking I found myself drawn more and more to the man. He possessed a warmth, an ease and a magnetism. He seemed genuinely interested in my story, looking me in the eye unwaveringly as I explained that it was my 30th birthday, and that my mother had paid for me to take a coach down for the weekend to see Ross Noble work his magic. He posed for a selfie and signed my autograph book before he left. I never did meet Ross that night, but I departed with a spring in my step nonetheless.

When I got home I posted a short note of thanks and a print out of photo care of his constituency surgery and thought no more of it. Until exactly a year later that is, when I received a birthday card signed by the man himself. It was a wonderful and thoughtful gesture, and once more I was moved to write a note of thanks, and so it came to pass that Charles Kennedy and I became penpals. Whether he recognised something special in me that he sought to nurture I could not say, but he became a mentor to me, a firm but encouraging arm around the shoulder, the loving father figure I had never had. For him I assumed the role of confidant, a friend outside of the infamous “Whitehall bubble”, and over time he opened up to me about his demons, the challenges he faced, and his family’s tragic tale.

In the summer of '69 his letters took a dark turn. Chappaquiddick hit him hard, coming so soon after the deaths of John and Robert, but I sensed in his writing that he was crumbling under the weight of a terrible secret too. He spoke vaguely of an awful culpability, and described himself as a “scotch soaked Sirhan” and an “oak casked Oswald”. Had he in fact been behind the wheel that fateful night on Martha’s Vineyard? Had Ted taken the fall for his uncle, so as not to stall his meteoric rise through the Liberal Democrat ranks? I never asked directly, but then I knew I didn’t need to. The truth sat on the table between us, a dish all the more unpalatable because neither he nor I had the courage to name it.

Our correspondence became more infrequent as he ascended higher on politics’ poisonous pole, and I heard from him last at Christmas. He was hale with seasonal cheer, and buoyed by the result of the independence referendum, but pessimistic about what the general election might bring. He hinted too at black premonitions, writing of dark forces, of those at the top and bottom of society who wanted to see him removed from the stage, to extinguish his flame of hope, to call in the unpaid debts of “the whole Bay of Pigs thing”. I wish I could say that this news came as a terrible shock to me, but deep down, in a way I could never admit to myself, I think I knew that this day would come, and that Charles knew it too. We may never learn the truth, or convict those who have snatched him away from us at just 55 years old, but the Kennedy Curse lives on, and once again the world has been made a poorer place for it.

RIP CHARLES PETER KENNEDY 1959 - 2015
 
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