Tag Archives: charles kennedy

SLF Conference – The Tweets #1

The Social Liberal Forum is having its annual conference today with the theme of Rebooting Liberalism. It’s being held at the Amnesty HQ in London, so at this point, after the awful news this week about surveillance, we should probably say that we hope our friends at GCHQ enjoy the proceedings. The event sold out some weeks ago. Our own Mary Reid has been very involved in the organisation. SLF Conference is always lively, interesting and really makes you think.

The agenda looks brilliant.

Claire Tyler will give the William Beveridge Memorial Lecture. Julian Huppert and Bridget Fox will revisit Liberty,  Prateek Buch and Naomi Smith will tackle Equality, and Cllr Liz Green will focus on Community with Michael Meadowcroft.  Chris Nicholson will be drawing on his experience as a SpAd in a session on Reforming Government with Daisy CooperMark Pack and Party President Sal Brinton will be asking ‘How do we rebuild the Liberal Democrats?’, while David Howarth will discuss political pluralism with Sue Gossfrom Compass and academic Tom Spencer. 

In addition, people attending the conference will be voting in advance on the topics for four round table discussions, there will be fringe meeting on Positive Money plus a Youth meet-up.

The day will conclude with a Leadership Hustings with Tim Farron and Norman Lamb.

I am very sad not to be there, but I have asked everyone to tweet loads so I can keep an eye on what’s going on, and I’ll put up a selection of the most interesting tweets throughout the day.

You can also watch the live stream which is a bit erratic, but great to have:

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Something for the weekend: the great and glorious Lib Dem game of “what if?”

At the Glasgow conference in October 2014, there was something of an organisational snafu surrounding the BOTYs (Liberal Democrat Voice Blogs of the Year) awards ceremony. At the start of the session, the actual awards themselves, were not in the conference room where they needed to be. They were in a room upstairs in the hotel. The snag was that the room in question was locked. And the only person who we knew had a key was inside the room sleeping the sleep of the righteous – no doubt smilingly cuddling up to all our shiny BOTYs.

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Jim Wallace on Charles Kennedy: We loved you, we miss you, will we ever see your like again

I was expecting last night’s memorial service for Charles Kennedy at Glasgow University to be a fitting tribute to the man, to be dignified and formal. It was all of those things, but I didn’t expect it to have such a strong under-current of emotion and affection. A series of heartfelt tributes were punctuated with beautiful music and poignant poetry and the whole thing was woven together perfectly by the University Chaplain, Rev Stuart MacQuarrie. At each stage, he talked very personally about the aspect of Charles’ life that the next item would reflect.

What was so clear was the enormous love and affection that senior management, students and academics alike had for Charles. The students clearly felt that he had their backs. The Presidents of the Glasgow University Union and the Students’ Representative Council both spoke about his approachability and his work on their behalf.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell sat together. Each did a reading. Willie Rennie read a poem. Jim Wallace gave a superb tribute to Charles, talking about their experiences as Highland MPs and how they all travelled to each others’ constituencies to get a shared understanding of the challenges faced by each area. He also spoke about the example Charles in his manner towards others and how we could all learn from him:

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Memorial service for Charles Kennedy to take place at Glasgow University tonight.

Photo by Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy

Photo shows former Lib Dem Leader Charles Kennedy at the Conference Rally, Bournemouth Sept 09. Credit Alex Folkes/Fishnik Photography

Six days after his highland burial, Glasgow University holds a memorial service for Charles Kennedy this evening at 7pm in its Bute Hall. Charles had a long association with the university as undergraduate, Glasgow University Union President and, until recently, Rector for two terms. In fact, as we reported soon after his term ended, he said that he missed being Rector of the university more than he missed being leader of the Liberal Democrats.

From the university’s website:

The service will start with an Academic Procession, which will be piped in by Donald Campbell, who retired earlier this month as the University’s official piper, and his brother, Alastair Campbell, a close friend of Charles Kennedy.

Tributes will be paid by, among others, Professor Muscatelli, and the Presidents of the Glasgow University Union and the Students Representative Council, Rory Slater and Breffni O’Connor.

Brian McBride, a member of the University Court and former CEO of Amazon UK, will also pay a personal tribute. He was a close friend of Charles and was a President of GUU in 1975 when, as a judge of the English Speaking Union, he first met Charles when he was a school debater.

Family and VIPs will arrive via the South Front entrance of the University; access for all other friends and colleagues will be via the North Front.

A live audio feed of the memorial service will be relayed via the University’s website.

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Closed for a funeral

The sun was shining today in Caol, making for some wonderful photos of the gathered throng around St John’s church with Ben Nevis looming majestically in the background. A film director couldn’t have wished for a more photogenic scene.

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Charles Kennedy – a life in pictures

Here’s a second chance to see a selection of photos which we posted shortly after the news of Charles’ death came through.

Scroll down to view. Hover your mouse over the image to see the caption and click on it to see similar pictures on Getty Images.

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More images from Charles Kennedy’s funeral service

Scroll down to view. Hover your mouse, or run your finger, over the image to see the caption and click on it to see similar pictures on Getty Images.

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Charles Kennedy out-take on the romance of politics

This video hasn’t previously been available on the internet. Many thanks indeed to Conn O’Neill, Charles’ organizer, for providing it and allowing us to post it here and on YouTube.

Many photos of Charles Kennedy show him making someone laugh. Here he makes Willie Rennie laugh with a gentle remark in an out-take from a campaign video.

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Charles Kennedy on Desert Island Discs

To finish our special presentation today, here’s a reprise of our post on the complete Charles Kennedy Desert Island Discs appearance.

The BBC’s Desert Island Discs has a wonderful archive of most of their past programmes. Charles Kennedy appeared on the show on Sunday 26th October 2003, in conversation with Sue Lawley. It’s a fascinating dialogue, with some very searching questions from Ms Lawley and excellent answers from Charles.

You can listen to the programme on the BBC’s Radio Player here. And here’s what the BBC said about the programme:

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Charles Kennedy’s father, Ian on the fiddle, and accompanied by Charles’ mother, Mary, on the piano

On Desert Island Discs, Charles Kennedy chose, as his one disc to take onto the island, his father, Ian Kennedy, playing “The Cameron Highlanders”. We were unable to find that version of the tune, so posted a version by someone else earlier. To make up for that, here’s two clips of Charles’ father, Ian, playing the fiddle.

Firstly, here’s Ian Kennedy from 2011, introducing and playing “The Dark Island”

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Charles Kennedy on Have I Got News For You

Here are a few available clips of Charles Kennedy on Have I got news for you.

Firstly, this was when he presented the show in 2002, courtesy of the Guardian:

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Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island disc #8

As a mark of respect, today we’re devoting the site to playing Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island Discs in hourly portions.

Disc number eight is Toploader and “Dancing in the moonlight”. Charles recalled going with Sarah to a pop concert at Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Toploader came out, he said, and sang “Dancing in the moonlight” and “the whole place just took off – it’s just a very happy memory of something that we really enjoyed – and it’s a good song.”

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Images from Charles Kennedy’s funeral service

Scroll down to view. Hover your mouse, or run your finger, over the image to see the caption and click on it to see similar pictures on Getty Images.

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Charles Kennedy on Question Time

Bless the BBC. They’ve put together this fantastic selection of clips from Charles Kennedy’s incredible 42 – yes 42 – appearances on Question Time. It’s well worth a watch.

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Charles Kennedy Desert Island disc #6

As a mark of respect, today we’re devoting the site to playing Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island Discs in hourly portions.

On the programme, Charles mentioned that he preferred the Rolling Stones to the Beatles, as he introduced Mick Jagger and gang with “Waiting on a friend”.

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Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island disc #5

As a mark of respect, today we’re devoting the site to playing Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island Discs in hourly portions.

Disc number five: “Praise my soul, the king of heaven”, which Charles’ fondly recalled being sung at his wedding to Sarah. He said that Sarah and him were standing at the altar and the congregation of their family and friends “just went full whack” singing this as the opening hymn. He said it sends a “tremor” down his spine everytime he hears it.

Below the video we have reproduced the words of this hymn. They were written by Henry.F.Lyte.

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Charles Kennedy from the top of a mountain on the positive case for Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom

This video hasn’t previously been available on the internet. Many thanks indeed to Conn O’Neill, Charles’ organizer, for providing it and allowing us to post it here and on YouTube.

At the top of Aonach Mor on 10th September, Charles Kennedy recorded this clip for a subsequent Scottish Liberal Democrats rally concerning the Scottish referendum.

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Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island disc #4

As a mark of respect, today we’re devoting the site to playing Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island Discs in hourly portions.

Disc number four is “Fly me to the moon” by Frank Sinatra. Charles said about it: “When I’m carried out of the church in a box one day this is what I’d like to be played”. The song also brought up the subject of astronomy, as Charles was a very keen astronomer.

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Charles Kennedy: 30 years of service for the Highlands

This seems very appropriate indeed for today. As part of our tributes, here is a video prepared for Charles’ election campaign in April this year. The accompanying text reads:

Over the last thirty years, Charles has fought hard to stand up for the Highlands. On a local, national and international stage. He has fought to protect local services and bring in investment to create jobs.

He has worked hard to deliver more devolution to Scotland and to the Highlands and over 30 years, Charles has helped tens of thousands of people with their problems. Everyone knows someone Charles has helped and he is the best person to stand up for the Highlands in Westminster.

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Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island disc #3

As a mark of respect, today we’re devoting the site to playing Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island Discs in hourly portions.

Disc number three is ‘Vissi d’arte’ from Tosca, sung by Maria Callas with Paris Conservatoire

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Charles Kennedy in quotes

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Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island disc #1

As a mark of respect, today we’ll devote the site, among other Charles Kennedy related things, to playing Charles Kennedy’s Desert Island Discs in hourly portions.

Here is his first choice of “The Cameron Highlanders”. Charles chose a recording of his father, Ian Kennedy, playing the tune. We could only find a version by the Fradley Fiddler. We’ll make up for this with a bonus musical offering at the end of the eight discs.

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A day to honour Charles Kennedy

At noon today, in a small church near his Lochyside home, Charles Kennedy’s funeral will take place. Large numbers of people, including me, will be heading north to pay their respects. Many of us still haven’t quite got our heads round what’s happened. We are, however, all acutely aware of how much the world in general and the UK and Europe in particular will miss a man who could speak to both sides in an increasingly polarised political environment.

We want to pay our respects to Charles here on LDV, so today Paul Walter has lined up a series of posts that we hope you will find interesting and appropriate. It’s very much about Charles and who he was.

I just want to share this tweet of Charles’ from 10 September last year. Just before the referendum, he and Willie Rennie went up a mountain. They didn’t climb, because that wasn’t Charles’ way (something I get entirely) – and I have to laugh at Willie for wearing a suit. Who does that up a mountain, really? Charles was much more appropriately dressed.  He recorded a message up there in that gorgeous setting that was broadcast at a massive Lib Dem rally in Edinburgh the next night. It doesn’t seem to be available on the internet anywhere, and we have tried to find it but to no avail so far. But here’s the photo.


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Memorial Service for Charles Kennedy

Charles_Kennedy

A memorial service to mark Charles Kennedy’s remarkable contribution to public life will be held in the Bute Hall at the University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ on Thursday 18 June at 7pm.

It is expected that members of the public, politicians from across the spectrum, students old and new, academics and university leaders, friends and colleagues from the world of entertainment and the media will attend this service which is open to the public.

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LibLink: Sir Menzies Campbell: Commons reform is fitting tribute to Kennedy

Sir Menzies Campbell has written an article for the Sunday Times in which he argues that the House of Commons should be reformed to reflect Charles Kennedy’s style of politics.

It is hard to match the extraordinary and justified tributes made this week on the too-early death of Charles Kennedy. But perhaps the most fitting thing to do now would be to see what can be learnt from his style of politics in order to create a more appreciative understanding between politicians and the people they represent.

He talked about Charles’ ability to communicate, his sense of humour which was mischievous but never cruel and his tolerance and respect for others.

He went on to outline the specific reforms that could be enacted in the Commons to make it reflect those values:

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LibLink: Tavish Scott: Principles and warm wit with a highland accent

Shetland MSP, who started out his career, like Danny Alexander, as a party’s press officer back in the 80s. That involved working with a young Charles Kennedy and he writes about that experience in a tribute written for the Yorkshire Post:

On one such occasion the MPs joined a demonstration with students at Inverness College. Charles spoke and debated with the students and had them eating out of his hand. They laughed at his jokes and nodded at his serious observations. We then drove to Portree. The next day, on the three-hour drive back to the Highland capital, Charles gave me a political tour de force on the Highlands, nationalism and Britain. The lessons of that discussion stay with me to this day.

Fast forward to 1999 when Tavish was an MSP:

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Charles Kennedy on Desert Island Discs

The BBC’s Desert Island Discs has a wonderful archive of most of their past programmes. Charles Kennedy appeared on the show on Sunday 26th October 2003, in conversation with Sue Lawley. It’s a fascinating dialogue, with some very searching questions from Ms Lawley and excellent answers from Charles.

You can listen to the programme on the BBC’s Radio Player here. And here’s what the BBC said about the programme:

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Charles Kennedy on Question Time

Bless the BBC. They’ve put together this fantastic selection of clips from Charles Kennedy’s incredible 42 – yes 42 – appearances on Question Time. It’s well worth a watch.

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In full: Lib Dem MPs’ Commons tributes to Kennedy

We’ve already posted the video of the tributes to Charles Kennedy from the Commons on Wednesday and we’ve also posted Nick’s in full. We thought it might be useful to put the text of all five of the Lib Dem tributes, including Nick’s, in one post for ease of reference and posterity. They all did Charles proud. Greg and Mark talked about the way he really connected with ordinary people and about his concern for others. Norman spoke about his unfailing courtesy in his dealings with people, highlighting the need to tackle the stigma around mental ill health and emphasising Charles’ passions for internationalism and social justice. Tim’s emotional tribute spoke about Charles the persuader, how he could change minds and really tug on the heartstrings. Nick’s was just beautiful, and I particularly liked the memory he shared about their fly smoke outside the National Liberal Club where they discussed the Coalition. In years to come, I hope that Charles’ son and those who were close to him find great comfort and pride. To be universally admired in our tribal politics takes some doing.

I guess I should advise that if you are going to read all five of them in one sitting, you will need a cup of tea and a box of tissues.

So, here they all are, starting with:

Greg Mulholland

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Daily Mail: on how Charles Kennedy was “hounded” by the SNP in run-up to the election

You’ll not often find me linking to the Daily Mail. It’s even less likely that you’ll find me praising anything on its pages. However, I have to make an exception for one article today.

Guy Adams outlines in some detail the sort of abuse Charles Kennedy and his team were subjected to from supporters of the SNP, both online and in the street.

He quotes Charles’ campaign manager, Conn O’Neill at length. He described returning back to Charles’ cottage the morning after the election:

It was a Friday morning, when the rubbish gets taken out in and around Fort William,’ recalls Kennedy’s campaign manager, Conn O’Neill.

‘When Charles got back to the cottage, he discovered his bins upturned and left at the end of his driveway. It seemed as if someone had gone through them and spread the contents everywhere.

‘There was litter all over the place. Most of it ended up strewn over the field across the road.

He also quotes Candy Piercy, but she didn’t actually talk to them. It may be that he took that quote from our article on the day the SNP candidate took a posse to Charles’ office in Fort Williams and shouted at the staff because he didn’t like something from Charles’ Facebook.

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