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Friday, January 06, 2006

Alcohol, Coke and Oil.

I'm not a huge fan of the Liberal Democrats, but I'm finding myself sympathetic towards Charles Kennedy.

He admitted to having a 'drink problem', that he has been receiving treatment and hasn't drunk for two months now. There had been increasing calls for him to step down, with unconfirmed rumours of his alcoholism, and then yesterday he made The Statement - his coming out, if you will.

There have been comments about him having made this statement to get the sympathy vote of those who were going to have the power to vote for him, or not, in a leadership election. There are also comments about his having denied being an alcoholic in the past, and thus he has been proven to have lied. There has also been lots of nastiness about whether an alcoholic can possibly run a political party.

Lembit Opik was on the radio a few minutes ago and actually spoke some sense. By which I mean, of course, that he articulated things I had been thinking since CK's statement yesterday ;-).

Firstly, I really don't think he did this for any kind of Sympathy Vote. He sounded pretty wrecked when he was talking, and in the pictures I saw of him on the front pages of today's papers, he looked awful. I think he was simply forced into this admission, with growing threats that if he didn't make the statement, then somebody else would.

It reminded me of all those people (celebs and such) who have had to come out as being lesbian, gay or bisexual because if they didn't, then one of the tabloids would do so for them. Between a rock and a hard place.

Secondly, in terms of his having lied then yes, he lied about his drinking to reporters. Who wouldn't? Not least because one huge characteristic of addictions and addictive behaviour is an incredible ability to disguise what you are doing, in order to be able to continue doing it. Another characteristic of addictions is denial - both being in denial yourself, and denying that there's a problem to other people.

So yes, he lied about his drinking, but that was because he was being asked about it by journalists (who are the last people you would want to make such an admission to), his addictive behaviour required him to deny the problem so it could continue, and because even if he has been seeking help for the problem (and therefore not in denial to himself), that still doesn't mean that he would want all and sundry to know about it.

On the third point, whether an alcoholic can run a political party, all I can think is, 'Well, he has been doing, so clearly yes, an alcoholic can'. I think the thing is that it wasn't Charles Kennedy the alcoholic running the party, but the Charles Kennedy, of whom alcoholism is one feature.

Some people with addictions, illnesses or disabilities are able to function on on incredibly high level. Others cannot function at all. The fact of being an alcoholic in itself should not preclude someone from holding high position (however it really should preclude them from driving or similar).

I understand that in 5 minutes, a number of the Lib Dem shadow cabinet are going to make a statement that they will all resign by Monday if Charles K hasn't resigned himself.

Why? It's getting unnecessarily nasty, as far as I can tell. Charles has proposed a leadership election, in which he will stand. Is that not enough?

Like I say, I'm not a Lib Dem supporter. Nor indeed especially a Charles Kennedy supporter. I just think this whole situation sucks. It makes me very uncomfortable and it's just unpleasant.

Anyhoo, let's move on - it's g0og1ebom8 time!

Coke, Coca-cola - info here.
Also, Exxonmobil, Exxonmobil, Exxonmobil, Exxonmobil. Ha!

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thermalsatsuma said...

Yes - I agree. He did a good job at the last election, and got the best liberal result for over 80 years. If he can do that and deal with his drinking problem, then fair play to the guy. What more do his fellow mps expect?

Anonymous said...

And now it transpires that Menzies Campbell may have been one of the arch-conspirators! I did not see that one coming...the plot congeals.

I really hope that this backfires on them. It's pathetic behaviour for grown-ups.

TP said...

Great post hippie, again, it articulates a lot of my thoughts on the subject too. And I agree, it slams of a pushed 'conmfession'.

Unknown said...

Neil - Absolutely!

Slowdown - It's so horrid. I thought better of him!

TP - cheers hon :)

Anonymous said...

I agree too. Watching this makes me distinctly unconfortable...
Claire D