So that’s what it’s like! Political assassinations since Caesar have been ghastly affairs. I am only glad that Charles’ exit speech was him at his best – that the last memory of him as leader will be such a good one.
Before I turn to what is to come – I have been reflecting on how it all came to be such a messy and brutal affair – in a party that is so nice.
When I arrived in Parliament as a new MP in May I have to say that I was shocked by the scale of the leadership problems. I was aware that Charles was brilliant at times – but then seemed to disappear and not truly have the hunger that is needed to drive a party forward. But as a fan of his, my view then – and for a long time after – was that the best option was support, help and encouragement for him to sort things out.
I remember one time I spoke to Charles. I said that I was glad that he had made a statement to the MPs about improving performance etc. – but that I wanted specifics. I wanted to know what would be different this time to others. And finally – that it would be disingenuous of me not to mention that I had concerns about his personal habits. He didn’t address the issue – just as on other occasions he didn’t. I’m not angry with him about that – for those with a drink problem, facing up to it is perhaps the hardest thing to do. But I am saddened that the previous unsuccessful attempts to put things back on track meant that, finally, in the last few weeks so many people (including myself in the end) felt that we were left with no alternative.
Had Charles’s announcement on Thursday been the start of the road, I have no doubt we would have all rallied around – but tragically, it wasn’t – things had gone on for so long already. In the end though, he resigned with dignity and I wish him and his family all the best at what must be a very testing time.