Charles Kennedy writes…Time to dig deep and believe

Well, you will have heard it time and time before. Commentators will tell us that we simply cannot win, opposition will tell us that we simply don’t matter. I can tell you, they are all wrong.

This General Election will be the hardest fought in our history. However, there has never been a more important time to stick our head above the parapet and make the unambiguous case for a strong liberal voice in politics. I for one am up for the challenge.

I have been an MP for over 30 years (a point my campaign team like to emphasise more than I). I am often asked what motivates me to stay the course. My motivation is straight forward; my motivation is to fight on the issues that matter for the people of Ross, Skye and Lochaber.

In Ross, Skye and Lochaber it is a two horse race between myself and the SNP. The race is between two competing views of the world. Indeed, our views on the NHS contrasts the options well.

The SNP’s record on our health services is shocking. On their watch cancer treatment targets have been missed, A&E services have come under threat and NHS Highland has been neglected to the tune of £35million. The SNP have taken their eye of the ball.

Since I was first elected I have always fought to put local health services at the top of the agenda. That’s why Liberal Democrats and I have committed, for Scotland, to an £800million funding promise. Our fantastic doctors and nurses must have the resources they need. This is about our friends and family.

You know what is coming next. This is when I ask you to dig deep and help the campaign.

You will have seen the Ashcroft poll. Ross, Skye and Lochaber is really too close to call. It is one of the toughest fights I have ever faced, but I am up for it. This is not about me, it is about the need for a Liberal Democrat vision serving the people of Ross, Skye and Lochaber in the next Parliament.

At the moment, my campaign team tells me that to achieve our ambitions in this campaign we need to raise more money. Can you help me close the gap by donating today?

Thank you so much for your contribution – it really is the virtual version of passing the bucket around a hall. Every pound you donate will help us deliver a bigger and better campaign in Ross, Skye and Lochaber and make a real difference to the result in May.

* Charles Kennedy is the Liberal Democrat candidate in Ross, Skye & Lochaber and was MP until dissolution of Parliament on 30 March 2015

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37 Comments

  • Good luck, Charles! We need you. I’ll post this message and then donate.

  • Good luck Charles, I miss the golden days when you were leader and we went up to 62 seats as a proper Liberal Democrat Left of Centre Party.

  • Eddie Sammon 3rd Apr '15 - 4:53pm

    I wish I could donate, but I can’t. I have though, got a barrel load of political ammunition that I think could turn the tide of the election.

    The air campaign can be won with support from both businesses and trade unions. They are both frightened of EU exit and an investor flight. The borrowing plan will lead the UK down the path towards an IMF bailout with tough conditions. The visions for the other parties is a choice between equal and poor, or unequal and poor.

    The Lib Dems should also start saying our manifesto is a guide and not a commitment. The next five years are going to be too tough to stick to the plans for any of the parties idealistic manifestos.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Apr '15 - 5:05pm

    Paul Hunt 3rd Apr ’15 – 4:32pm
    “Good luck, Charles! We need you. I’ll post this message and then donate.”

    DITTO!

  • It will be a truly depressing night if the SNP take the seat from such an impressive, liberal MP.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Apr '15 - 5:45pm

    JohnTilley 3rd Apr ’15 – 4:48pm
    “Good luck Charles, I miss the golden days when you were leader and we went up to 62 seats as a proper Liberal Democrat Left of Centre Party.”

    DITTO!

  • Are the LibDems really that skint or are they just giving less money to those on the left of the party? If people like Charles Kennedy are reduce to this so early in the campaign god help the party if there is a second election in 2015.

  • I can’t afford to donate much but I will donate something (I am not sure I like paying via PayPal!). I like the idea that each individual MP posts here asking for donations and has a link that tells us how close they are to raising their target figure. Well done!

    JohnTilley 3rd Apr ’15 – 4:48pm
    “Good luck Charles, I miss the golden days when you were leader and we went up to 62 seats as a proper Liberal Democrat Left of Centre Party.”

    Ditto.

  • Peter Chegwyn 3rd Apr '15 - 8:03pm

    I was in his constituency a fortnight ago and he’s clearly facing the fight of his life to hold his seat.

    I really hope he holds on.

    Our Party would be an awful lot poorer without Charles in the Commons.

  • Julian Gibb 3rd Apr '15 - 8:20pm

    Charles I still hold you in high regard but I will be cheering on the SNP candidate I’m afraid. A pity you couldn’t come over to us.

    http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2015/04/03/tea-and-sympathy/

  • @Julian Gibb

    Charles’ politics is about bringing down the divisions between people, the SNP’s focus – like all nationalism – remains on artificial division.

    Have donated to Charles campaign – his stance on Iraq stands as the most principled position in 21st century UK politics.

  • Steve Comer 3rd Apr '15 - 8:54pm

    Great posting Charles!
    But the question for me is “how can we donate to your campign directly to make sure the money is spent by YOUR team and not wasted by the national party on more crass election brodcasts like the last one?”

  • I’m not a Lib Dem but I admire Charles Kennedy enormously and hope he keeps his seat.

  • Heartbreaking how Ming and Nick squandered Charles’ legacy

  • @ Steve Comer
    The link is to his constituency website and the receipt comes from Charles Kennedy’s office and not HQ.

  • Stephen Hesketh 3rd Apr '15 - 9:43pm

    Steve Comer 3rd Apr ’15 – 8:54pm

    Hi Steve – follow the link in Charles’ article:

    https://ldrossskyeandl.nationbuilder.com/2015

    It worked perfectly earlier. If it isn’t working now, let’s hope it is due to the number of supporters having crashed the system 🙂

  • Steve Comer 3rd Apr '15 - 10:00pm

    Thanks Michael BG & Stephen. I will send a small donation, but I really hope the national party sends a big one. We must at least hold onto Charles and Alastair in Scotland.

  • Stephen Campbell 4th Apr '15 - 12:01am

    If Mr. Kennedy was still leader, I would most certainly be voting Lib Dem this year (although I live in one of the safest Labour seats in the UK; I’ll be voting Green). He seems to be a genuinely lovely man who, like all of us, has his own demons but fights hard every day to overcome them. The period in which he was leader almost seems like a dream to me. Here was a man who was offering positive, compassionate centre-left politics just as Labour and Tory alike were beginning to embrace the politics of fear. It would be a shame for British politics should he no longer have a seat in the Commons.

  • Stevan Rose 4th Apr '15 - 12:21am

    Good luck Charles; i’d like to see you have another stint as Leader some day soon. I have a feeling you will romp home despite Ashcroft.

  • Alex Sabine 4th Apr '15 - 12:38am

    While I have different policy leanings from Charles Kennedy, I share the affection for him that other commenters have expressed. He has consistently been a humane voice and a civilising influence in our political debate. I hope to see him back in Parliament.

  • I hope that Charles Kennedy holds on to his seat. I have always respected him greatly. However having just read the interview with Nick Clegg in The Economist I can’t vote for the party. Once again Nick has insulted and derided tactical voters from the left saying:

    ‘there is clearly a section of the support we had in 2010 that was virulently anti-Conservative. They’re the ones who still scream and shout blue murder and have done so without pause for breath for half a decade. And they’re loud and they’re noisy and they’re angry. And that was a significant chunk of support that basically wanted to be associated with any party that didn’t have the remotest sniff of power. There just is a constituency out there that wants to be entirely bereft of any responsibility.’

    Well, he certainly knows how to woo the voters back!

    Anyway, my sincere wishes for success for Charles Kennedy himself.

  • Tsar Nicholas 4th Apr '15 - 8:01am

    Can somebody tell me whether Charles supported or opposed benefit sanctions, cutting help for the sick and the disabled, and the bedroom tax?

  • Eddie Sammon 4th Apr '15 - 9:41am

    Cat, I read the interview in the economist too and he wasn’t criticising the whole left. He was criticising the hardline left who have given him lots of abuse and wouldn’t vote for the party anymore anyway. He should be able to criticise all political opponents without people saying “oh I can never vote for him now”. Too many people just want to give and not receive when it comes to political criticism.

    We want politicians to be human, not just to walk around like soft cuddly toys refusing to answer back.

  • Tsar Nicholas – From Theyworkforyou.org (not always the most reliable)
    Voted a mixture of for and against a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
    Voted moderately for raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices

  • David Blake 4th Apr '15 - 11:16am
  • A quote from Nick Clegg’s economist interview:

    “I’m told I’m monumentally popular with Liberal Democrats, and Liberal Democrat-inclined voters”

    I’ll give him credit for having a sense of humour because he couldn’t have been serious surely.

  • Malc
    “I’m told I’m monumentally popular with Liberal Democrats, and Liberal Democrat-inclined voters”

    The question is – Who tells him that?

    It has been revealed that for this general election Liberal Democrat HQ has spent “a fortune” on opinion polling. It is therefore odd that someone should be telling him something contrary to what that polling evidence shows.

    The story of The Emperor’s new clothes comes to mind.

  • SIMON BANKS 4th Apr '15 - 9:18pm

    I agree with Cat about the despicable comments by Nick Clegg. Does it even occur to him as relevant that many of the people he dismisses had held power locally and used it more firmly and wisely than he did?

    But Liberalism is much bigger than him. Charles Kennedy deserves our support. My one gripe: I don’t want a signed photo, a personal letter of thanks from a fellow Liberal for action for the cause means nothing to me and I’m too far from the Highlands to go up for a thankyou party.

  • David Vasmer 4th Apr '15 - 9:27pm

    Good luck Charles – the party would be a lot poorer without your voice at Westminster. I will donate after posting this

  • Eddie Sammon 4th Apr '15 - 10:13pm

    Simon, I agree the line about power was bad, but if we are going to abandon support through one or two occasional misplaced lines then we will be left with no one to support.

    I understand not voting for the party through different values, but it seems a bit much if it is the occasional misplaced line. He doesn’t have a vendetta against the left, actually agrees with them on many issues and part of the party’s strategy is reaching out to “soft labour” supporters and “soft tories”.

    He also firmly disagrees with Jeremy Browne in it, who definitely has a pro Conservative bias.

  • http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21647826-full-transcript-our-interview-lib-dem-leader-which-he-discussed-his-partys-strategy?zid=309&ah=80dcf288b8561b012f603b9fd9577f0e

    Nick Clegg
    ” The irony of course is that before 2010 we did well (with the benefit of hindsight) partly because our identity was quite opaque. ”

    Thanks Nick for the clarity.
    I have felt since I voted in 2010 that I was duped into voting for the Liberal Democrats, I was duped into believing when you promised a new kind of politics that was open, honest and transparent.

    Now you have confirmed in this interview that you were not being transparent at all.

    I will not and can not ever vote Liberal Democrat again whilst you are leader of the party and the party is being dominated and steered by the likes of Danny Alexander and David Laws.

    I feel much better about my Labour vote in May 2015 after reading your interview.

  • @Eddie.

    Thank you for your responses to my post. In the heat of the moment I probably expressed myself badly. So to make clear: I will not be voting Lib Dem this time. This is not because of a few misplaced lines. The comments he made are merely confimation that nothing has changed at all and he is very likely to support the Conservatives again in another coalition given half the chance. I do not personally believe that he shares any values of the left. If he did then he could never have leant his support to the health and social care bill, the bedroom tax or the trebling of tuition fees. While he concerned himself with his desire for consitutional reform the disabled were being abused by Atos in the name of austerity.

    It is not personal pique that causes me to turn my back on this leader.

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Apr '15 - 8:20am

    Hi Cat, thanks for your polite response. Sorry for being a bit short in my first message.

    I too struggle with the prospect of another coalition with the Conservatives and Nick has shown to be a good listener in the past when enough people pressure him.

    Keep talking to us. It’s important that people make their voice heard.

  • Paula Keaveney 5th Apr '15 - 10:53am

    Good luck Charles. I’ve donated and hope loads more do too.

  • Stephen Hesketh 5th Apr '15 - 4:12pm

    matt 4th Apr ’15 – 10:22pm

    Matt – by the way, thank you for this link.

    In case you have missed it, it is further discussed on the ‘candid Clegg’ thread.

  • I will be voting for the CISTA party in the election, if they stand in my seat. If not I will not vote. I really like CK when he was leader but sadly I fear he could lose his seat next month 🙁

  • Jonathan Pile 7th Apr '15 - 11:05pm

    @ Matt . I’ve just read Clegg’s economist interview. Not at all happy. It vindicates everything we said last May about him . One of the most disgusting interviews yet, – his bunker mentality in dismissing the millions who voted lib dem in 2010 is breathtaking. His contempt for the party is audacious

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