Sunday, February 24, 2008

Things would have been so much easier if Charles had been a rubbish leader

I haven't bought the Mail on Sunday, I feel duty-bound to point out. But I have just read, via the web, the first elements of their serialisation of Ming's forthcoming auto-biography. You can pre-order it via Liberal Democrat Voice here with some spondoolicks going to the party.

The segment serialised today certainly offers useful perspective on the Charles Kennedy leadership. I say "useful" in the following sense: As Ming says, his father had a drink problem. By writing this article, I think Ming helps to put together another piece of the jigsaw in understanding alcoholism. Several times, his narrative returns to this essential dichotomy: Charles was a superb LibDem leader, but those close around him saw things in a different light.

If Charles had been a rubbish leader, then his passing would not have been too painful. But he was a superb leader. Ming's rather "so-so" leadership demonstrated that by sharp contrast.

There is also some interesting stuff about Ming and Elspeth.

I still haven't decided whether to buy the book. Previous experience of politicians' auto-biographies is that they are interesting up until the point they get into power or leadership. They then tend to become rather sanctimonious exercises in retrospective self-justification. Alan Clark's Diaries were a shining exception to that general rule.

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