Charles Kennedy, then, has admitted he’s had a drink problem in recent times, and though he claims to have sorted it out now, he’s declared a leadership contest will take part in the Liberal Democrats. And various Lib Dem MPs are calling for him just to resign.
However this plays out, I can’t help but think that for a party with such a long history, the Lib Dems seem to learn little from previous events; their previous leader ‘Paddy’ Ashdown’s real forename was Jeremy, a name which is hardly linked with positive associations for the Liberal party (as it used to be known), and as for their present leader… well, I would have thought it was one of history’s most obvious lessons that things rarely end well if you elect someone with the surname Kennedy to high office.
Thankfully, though, MPs from other parties have been slow to take advantage of Kennedy’s currently precarious position. Then again, that may be less because of some sense of decency or honour, and more because they realise that – even assuming the worst about his alcoholism – he may have been utterly rat-arsed on Glenmorangie during Commons debates on the subject, but Kennedy was still able to conclude that sending troops into Iraq was a very bad idea indeed; a fact which Labour and Conservative MPs alike appeared to be incapable of recognising.
Perhaps there’s something to be said for the theory of people ‘drinking themselves sober’ after all.