Ming’s behind-the-scenes account of CK’s downfall

by Stephen Tall on February 23, 2008

Ming Campbell’s autobiography is due out shortly – you can pre-order it from Amazon here, and earn the Lib Dems some commission – and is currently being serialised by the Daily Mail. No surprise that the first instalment should focus on Charles Kennedy’s battle with alcoholism and his forced resignation as leader in January 2006.

Much of the account is familiar – the growing awareness of Charles’s problems within the Westminster village, and the protectiveness of Charles’s inner team. But Ming also describes his first realisation of how Charles’s drinking was beginning to impede his ability to do his job – when they were both due to meet Palastinian leader, Yasser Arafat in October 2001, Ming relates how Charles was late, shaking badly, and able only to ask one question in between dashes to the toilet.

And, in case all of that isn’t sufficient to pique your interest, you can also read about (unfounded) newspaper allegations of Lady Elspeth’s “affair” with David Steel…

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We should be supporting our local bookshops rather than Amazon.

The Mail? Vulgar, Ming’s agents, vulgar.

by lunartalks on February 23, 2008 at 10:17 pm. Reply #

The story of Elspeth & Ming is fascinating – the chicken pie! The missed train! How romantic…

by Jo on February 23, 2008 at 10:26 pm. Reply #

I think I’d rather read the Bible.

by Laurence Boyce on February 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm. Reply #

Why the !!!! is Ming’s book being serialised in the Daily Mail.

by Ann-Marie on February 24, 2008 at 12:08 am. Reply #

Because hundreds of thousands of Liberal Democrat voters read it.

by Dan on February 24, 2008 at 12:14 am. Reply #

They offered the most money?

by Jo on February 24, 2008 at 10:04 am. Reply #

“Because hundreds of thousands of Liberal Democrat voters read it.”

And I’m sure they’ll be impressed by the non-sensationalist and supportive way in which the Mail will serialise this book. In any case surely the market would be people who might vote for us rather than current supporters.

This feels like the liberal equivalent of Graeme Souness’ interview in the Sun.

by Hywel Morgan on February 24, 2008 at 11:28 am. Reply #

I was opposed to Ming Campbell being leader of the party, and when under his leadership the party was going backwards, I wrote him a letter asking him to resign.
When he finally did resign, I respected him for putting the interests of the Liberal Democrats first.
I imagined that was one thing he would always do.
However when it comes to serialising his book in the Daily Mail, I cannot see how this is in the interests of the Liberal Democrats. The Guardian or Independent would be understandable, but I am disappointed he chose the Mail. What was he thinking of?
The best post war leader of the party was Jo Grimond, and I would put Charles Kennedy second. But there was very good evidence that he suffered an alcohol addiction, and I believe that impeded his ability to do his job, and for that reason the Parliamentary party was right to oust him. Unfortunately there was no nice way of doing this, and in the future that ought to change so that there is.
A lot of members feel aggrieved about that, and at least this account puts their side of the story, something I think members should be aware of.

by Geoffrey Payne on February 24, 2008 at 12:34 pm. Reply #

That last sentence – I would like to edit it to clarify that “their” refers to the Parliamentary party.

by Geoffrey Payne on February 24, 2008 at 12:36 pm. Reply #

As a Liverpool supporter for 33 years, and a Lib Dem for 24 years, I think Souness was the bigger villain!
But seriously, it does seem a strange place to serialise, unless it was about the size of the cheque.
I was disturbed to hear one Lib Dem MP of my acquaintance explaining an apparantly particularly right wing speech by a collegue could be explained by the need to ‘throw a bit of red meat to the Mail’.

by Terry Gilbert on February 24, 2008 at 12:41 pm. Reply #

Read it in the Mail and donate the cost of the book to the Lib Dems.

by boldkevin on February 24, 2008 at 3:10 pm. Reply #

At least by serialising in the Mail it means that there is some control over what comes out. This is better than serialisation in a worthy newspaper that very few people read and a hatchet job by the papers that people do read (e.g. the Mail). Interestingly because the circulation of the Mail is so ahead of the Guardian or Independent it is true to say that more Lib Dems read the Mail then any other paper. However I think the timing of this is too soon.

by Peter Dunphy on February 24, 2008 at 3:57 pm. Reply #

Hmm, why could Ming possibly have chosen the biggest non-redtop paper to serialise his book in? Maybe they offered him more money?

He never got the Cabinet role he should’ve got and the pension that would bring, his MPs pension is way below that he could’ve got if he’d stayed as a senior QC or gone on to be a judge, why shouldn’t he do the best he can now, when there’s money to be made?

Better now than before the next GE, and better have it in the Mail than merely having them quote choice attack extracts all the time.

The Mail may be scum of the earth as far as papers are concerned, but Mail readers aren’t. Some of my best friends are Daily Mail readers, and many of them vote for us.

by MatGB on February 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm. Reply #

Isnt it true that the Mail is the most read paper amongst Lib Dems (voters I guess that is)

by Anonymous on February 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm. Reply #

That’s probably true but then an awful lot of bigotted tories do too…and that’s all they probably read Lib Dem wise for the whole year…

by Jo on February 24, 2008 at 6:27 pm. Reply #

My mum reads the Daily Mail, and she’s voted Labour all her life. I’m amazed at the fact that she reads it, but remains totally oblivious to its worldview. If someone in the pub came up to her and expressed those views she’d slap him, but she quite merrily reads the reactionary rubbish every day. Curious! 🙂

by asquith on February 24, 2008 at 9:09 pm. Reply #

I agree with Peter on this one.

The Daily Mail is one of the biggest newspapers in the country and so we cannot afford to just ignore it and hope it goes away. If Ming’s aim is to get his views out to a large group of people who wouldn’t normally read anything the party says, then he has probably picked the right paper to do it.

by Anders Hanson on February 25, 2008 at 12:05 am. Reply #

The point is not that we ignore the Daily Mail, it is that we should not give them our dirty washing.
They are not our friends.

by Geoffrey Payne on February 25, 2008 at 7:41 am. Reply #

“better have it in the Mail than merely having them quote choice attack extracts all the time.”

You reckon they won’t do that anyway? I await the Mail’s serialisation of the chpater entitled “why I was right to stand up for basic human rights for Asylum Seekers.

We want less Lib Dem voters to be reading the Mail – not getting more of them to pick it up because Ming is on the masthead.

by Hywel Morgan on February 25, 2008 at 11:20 am. Reply #

@ Hywel Morgan:
“We want less Lib Dem voters to be reading the Mail” i sort of agree. but we have to reach out to all media organisations, even ones whose editorial lines we often vehemently oppose. i’d rather be getting more LD stories (though, ming’s serialisation is hardly the ideal sort of write up we’re looking for) in the Mail than weening lib dems off it.

by Olly K on February 26, 2008 at 6:07 pm. Reply #

“but we have to reach out to all media organisations, even ones whose editorial lines we often vehemently oppose.”

But there’s a difference between sending press releases and accrediting journalists for conference and selling them exclusive rights to a book.

On the theory that more Lib Dems read the Mail than any other paper, the second most read paper by Lib Dems is the Sun – does that mean a section of our vote is 99% in favour of restoring the death penalty.

by Hywel Morgan on February 26, 2008 at 8:47 pm. Reply #

Superior post.Preserve the smashing work,You must definitely have to keep updating your site

by Inspirational Bible Verses on November 1, 2008 at 2:12 am. Reply #

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