A lot of us want to know …
Just how pissed, how often, was Charlie Kennedy?
A lot of functioning alcoholics must have been involved in the solemn reporting of his drink problem, which never again went unmentioned once it had been admitted. But all of them would swear they still earned their wages in between toots.
The Shed recalls a young reporter relating his encounter with the legendary boozer of a South Yorkshire newspaper, who, as usual, had slipped out at 11.30 am, leaving his jacket on his chair, and taken the apprentice on a tour of local pubs, and his mates, until 3 pm, when he returned to the office and started typing.
“And he turned out the next splash?” his audience suggested.
“No, it was all bollocks,” said the youngster.
But heavy drinkers do sometimes continue to do their jobs quite well and they like to have some representation in Parliament. There are plenty of them and there is a great advantage for a politician in understanding them, and being at ease down the pub.
The Shed does not underestimate the destructive power of alcohol and it is, of course, at least quite likely that drink has played a part in good old Charlie’s death. But left to find his own balance with it, we suspect he would probably have done better than most joggers as a party leader and even as a PM.