Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
46 views
46 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
58 views
58 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
55 views
55 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
87 views
87 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
30 views
30 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018
186 Views

Charles Kennedy, the left-wing Lib Dem: The Badger pays tribute to ‘a brilliant politician’

The BadgerHarry Howard believes Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader who died yesterday, was a ‘brilliant politician and decent human being’. 

Tributes were pouring in throughout yesterday after the sudden death of former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, aged just 55.

Kennedy was first elected as an MP at the age of just 23, representing his home constituency of Ross, Skye and Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands.

Notwithstanding the hugely impressive feat of becoming an MP at such a tender age, Kennedy was an extremely talented politician.

He led his party to their greatest ever result at the 2005 general election, gaining 62 seats and nearly six million votes. This feat is all the more impressive if it is compared to the party’s 2010 result, where they actually lost five seats, despite their leader Nick Clegg riding a wave of unprecedented popularity in the run-up to the election.

Amongst Kennedy’s best features was his principled leadership of the Liberal Democrats. He distanced himself and his party from Tony Blair’s New Labour despite previous leader Paddy Ashdown’s close relationship with Blair.

Perhaps most striking was when he refused to support the commencement of the Iraq War, arguing that evidence to go to war was sparse at best. He was, as we now know, proven right; but despite the situation in the Middle East getting decidedly worse in later years, he showed his good nature by refusing to play the dirty game of saying “I told you so”.

The Iraq saga wasn’t the only time that Kennedy refused to bend in the face of the political consensus. He spoke in favour of the legalisation of cannabis and put his words into action by pledging to look seriously at the issue if he ended up in government.

He was also one of only a handful of Liberal Democrats to refuse to support the 2010 coalition with the Conservatives, seeing it as driving a “coach and horses through the long-nurtured re-alignment of the centre-left.” His opposition was immediately made clear when he objected to the raising of tuition fees, leading a number of rebels to vote against the policy.

Indeed, for a party that had done so well positioning itself to the left of New Labour, Kennedy was right to spot the damage that a coalition with the Tories would do to his party, and it was unfortunate that he himself was a victim of this damage.

Perhaps most presciently, Kennedy spoke out in favour of electoral reform in 2011, referring to the “grotesque distortions” of first-past-the-post. His point was highlighted aptly by UKIP getting four million votes but only one seat in last month’s election.

More evidence of Kennedy’s talent was made clear by a number of appearances on the BBC’s satirical news programme Have I Got News for You in which he was shown to be easily capable of holding his own amidst humorous attacks from the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and Ian Hislop.

Yet Kennedy stood out most for his humanity, with his faults as obvious as his virtues. He fought a career-long battle with alcoholism, and despite repeated refusals to admit to having a problem, it was this issue that forced him out as party leader in 2005.

His alcohol troubles even provoked a vicious joke from Ian Duncan Smith during the latter’s pathetic tenure as leader of the Conservative Party. Speaking on the issue of tax rises at his party’s conference just days before resigning, Duncan Smith said, “Charlie Kennedy wants to raise them [taxes] even further, except of course on wines and spirits”.

This low blow did little to save one of the worst party leaders in British political history, and Kennedy – with the phenomenal 2005 election result ahead of him – was to last another two years.

The Scot was one of the many inevitable Liberal Democrat victims of both the rise of the SNP and his party’s decision to stick to the Coalition, as he lost his seat at last month’s election. It was certainly sad given his principled and prescient stance on many issues that have since become part of popular opinion.

Certainly, it was the tributes that came in from all sides of politics after news of his death emerged that made clear his popularity and decency. Perhaps most touching was the contribution from New Labour veteran Alastair Campbell who said that Kennedy “was a terrific communicator and a fine orator. He spoke fluent human, because he had humanity in every vein and every cell.”

Harry Howard

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
46 views
46 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
58 views
58 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
55 views
55 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
87 views
87 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
30 views
30 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
46 views
Arts
46 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
49 views
Film & Theatre
49 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
58 views
Sports
58 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
55 views
Arts
55 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
87 views
Arts
87 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1144 views1
Campus News
1144 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
30 views
News
30 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in Dig-In Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by Brush…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
91 views1
News
91 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
93 views
Campus News
93 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
94 views
Opinion
94 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
400 views
Arts
400 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
403 views
Arts
403 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
375 views
Arts
375 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
435 views
Arts
435 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
449 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
394 views
Arts
394 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
368 views
Arts
368 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
563 views
Campus News
563 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
316 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
926 views
Arts
926 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
376 views
Arts
376 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…