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January 07, 2006

That Charlie Kennedy Thing.

Something that’s been puzzling me a little. Just when did Charlie cross the line from heavy drinker to alcoholic (and I don’t mean in the American sense of when he had his third drink in a day)?

Vicki Woods column:

I rang a Liberal Democrat party worker I've known for 20 years to ask if he was on the kind side or the less kind. He was apoplectic. Murderous.

Unforgiving. He works with alcoholics and he's lived with alcoholics (as I have myself). "Eighteen months?" he said. "He's been an alcoholic for 10 years at least. Given that all alcoholics are liars, he is nowhere near giving up the drink.

"Two months he's been off it? Two years and I might believe it, but even then, you're only one drink away from being back again." He wants the party to dump him, fast.

How long has he been leader?

He's had eight years as leader.

So at least some people knew (thought?) he was an alcoholic when elected. So why was he elected?

(And it might be worth noting that if he really has been an alcoholic all this time then the success of the Lib Dems under his leadership gives new meaning to the phrase "functioning alcoholic").

January 7, 2006 in Politics | Permalink


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My experience with alcoholics would tend to reinforce these points.

I regard it as a form of mental illness. Its unfortunate that it really does damage the lives and happiness of the alcoholic, their friends, family and colleagues.

When I heard he'd been off the drink for 2 months I thought this was a damn poor sign of progress.

I feel sorry for Chas and his family the most.

The worst thing is the party members that have helped cover this up for years and years. Helping an alcholic continue denial and lies is not the best thing to do for them.

As the columnist says, alcoholics lie constantly to cover things up, and in some cases to delude themselves that they don't have a problem.

CK should be step down but should be supported through the difficult times and treatment for his alcoholism. He has a wife and young son and for this reason alone he should be focusing on recovery.

And he can make a political comeback if he wishes.

George Bush jnr was an alcoholic...

Posted by: angry_economist | Jan 7, 2006 10:46:18 AM

oops IS an alcholic... once and alcoholic always and alcoholic...

Posted by: angry_economist | Jan 7, 2006 10:48:06 AM

I think he needs to go, not for his drinking but for lying about it.

Churchill's drinking would have put CK to shame...

Posted by: Salvatori | Jan 7, 2006 12:07:59 PM

Drink problems come in big and small varieties and, since he did in fact manage to hold down a job as leader of the Liberal Democrats, I'm guessing that wee Charlie's was a small one; as someone who worked in the Old City (before the Yanks and Euros showed up and it all went terribly professional), I'd say I've known lots of people who had a drinking problem about as bad as CK's and I wouldn't have called them alcoholics. I think he said that he'd been "treated" for 18 months, not that he'd only had it for 18 months so Vicki Wood's friend is being a bit harsh.

Posted by: dsquared | Jan 7, 2006 5:36:20 PM

Three drinks a day makes one an alcoholic??? If that's the case, most of my friends are alcoholics.

Posted by: Phil Hunt | Jan 7, 2006 7:22:42 PM

Leading the Lib dems would drive anyone to the bottle.

Posted by: Ian | Jan 7, 2006 8:54:08 PM

Call me pedantic, but Kennedy was elected as Lib Dem leader in August 1999. That's 6.5 years, not eight.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 8, 2006 1:09:45 PM

A sad waste of a fine politician. I have written a fine poem about this sad episode on my site.

Tim, if your reading this I would honoured to smith a fine abstract poem from my wordforge in your honour.

Fine brandy and Cuban Cigars
as best wishes

The Cloned Corpse of Marcus Tal

Posted by: clonedcorpseofmarcustal | Jan 8, 2006 5:14:33 PM