Charles Kennedy: a kind and decent man
Some mistook his agreeable nature for weakness, a lack of determination: they could not have been more wrong. When the time came for the then SDP to make common cause with the Liberal Party, it took some inner steel to face down the egotism of David Owen. Kennedy had that quality, and it was fortunate for him and his colleagues that he did. He needed it again when the Iraq adventure came along.
Kennedy’s willingness to listen to the concerns of ordinary people, and his determined stand against the Iraq war, brought the Lib Dems the best result for a third party in the UK since David Lloyd George and a briefly united Liberal Party secured 58 seats, and the balance of power, in 1929. Little good it did him: a year later, his MPs, now believing they were part of a Proper Big Party, ousted him from the leadership.