So Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats (Britain’s third-ranked political party), has resigned … officially because his colleagues can no longer work with him.
The decision came after Kennedy’s admission at a news conference that he has a drink problem. He wanted to continue but, one by one, his Parliamentary colleagues turned their back on him.
Suddenly he became “dead man walking” and his fitness to lead was questioned by people who, so they said, had been nursing doubts for some time.
Funny how it comes out the moment a man has the guts to admit to a problem.
Politicians and the media collude in the myth that people in positions of authority should have no weaknesses; that they are somehow not really human. I say that as someone who has been a journalist since the age of 17 and made editorial decisions that exposed political wrongdoing.
So what did Charles Kennedy do wrong? It seems that, having attempted to keep a personal failing private, he told the world.
Not one Liberal Democrat MP has come out and promised to stand by the man – or at least if they have it hasn’t been reported widely.
Is it the nature of politics that the least sign of weakness is to be treated with such savagery?
I fear the Liberal Democrats – and I am not a party member – have damaged themselves irreparably. Sadly it would serve them right.