for once his skills deserted him. On this form, any defendant he was prosecuting would be guaranteed an acquittal. He acted as if he had been given one of Harry Redknapp’s infamous team talks. “Just fucking run around a bit, son.”
Robert Fisk on Tony Blair’s resignation and failure as Middle East peace envoy. I’m convinced that he’s going to put himself forward as a replacement for Sepp Blatter at FIFA!
Giles Fraser on Temple and the fallout from the Occupy protests at St Pauls. I really want to see that play and not only because SRB is in it but it’s at the Donmar aka the tiny theatre and tickets are predictably like gold-dust.
Charles Kennedy died this week. I once met him when I was doing A levels and he (along with Ken Livingstone) stayed and continued talking to us after the event we were at had finished. Based on that 10 minute encounter, I’ve always liked him and was sad when I heard about his struggles with alcohol and more recently when he lost his seat. Alistair Campbell wrote this about him, which is lovely.
Despite the occasional blip when the drink interfered, he was a terrific communicator and a fine orator. He spoke fluent human, because he had humanity in every vein and every cell. Above all, he was a doting dad of his son, whose loss is going to be greater than for any of us, and who will be reminded of his father every time he looks in the mirror and sees his red hair and cheeky smile coming back. And he was a very good friend. I just wish that we, his friends, had been able to help him more, and that he was still with us today, adding a bit of light to an increasingly gloomy political landscape.
Hadley Freeman on the British attitude to drinking. I’d actually seen her tweets about this and about the reaction to Charles Kennedy and part of me wants dismiss her as a ‘puritanical American’ but she has a point. With Charles Kennedy though, I think she’s missing the point, in him, we all recognised that it could so very easily be us, that just tipped over the edge and couldn’t get back up and it frightened the stuffing out of us. So people joked and laughed and maybe went along with his denial that he was an alcoholic but more that he just needed to ‘cut down’. It’s the same reason fat jokes are so popular, ‘there but for the grace of God’. My father claimed not to have a drink problem, he could go weeks without a drink but he could never stop at one. What can you do? Well you can tell them, you can offer support but in the end, they have to admit there’s a problem.