Today has brought mixed emotions for me, and many others.
First the news this morning that former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy had passed away. It’s not often that I’m affected by news like this, but this was a gentleman in a world of politicians. When I was a impressionable youngster starting to vote, it was his straight-talking manner that appealed to me. I’ve voted Liberal Democrat ever since. People may think that Nick Clegg was the most successful Liberal Democrat leader by taking them into Government, but he only did it with 57 seats in Parliament. When Charles Kennedy resigned in 2006, he left Clegg with 62 seats and a credible Third Party status. He had been prominent in the anti-Iraq War movement, gaining yet more credibility as the real alternative to the main two parties.
But, when he had the courage to face his demons, ultimately he was left high and dry. He retreated to the shadows and, when he voiced his opposition to the coalition agreement, he probably knew his time in front-line politics was at an end.
In 2015, he was sadly one of the many victims of the SNP tidal wave in Scotland. Now, less than a month on, he has left a gaping hole in the political landscape.
On the flipside, today also saw the rather unexpected, but much called-for resignation as President of FIFA by Sepp Blatter. An organisation the size of FIFA is always going to be susceptible to wrongdoing, and the fall out from the World Cup bidding for 2018 and 2022 has merely torn the lid off the seedy bribery-ridden underbelly of football.
When the news broke last week that 7 high ranking FIFA officials had been arrested, there were calls for the presidential election to be put on hold, but our Sepp ploughed on regardless and won the race after his only remaining challenger Prince Ali Bin Hussein withdrew after the first round.
Despite the almost universal dismay (certainly if you are part of the Twittersphere), Sepp Blatter maintained his own innocence in all matters relating to the FBI investigations, even denying any culpability as the President of what was so obviously a corrupt and criminal organisation. It’s just plain ridiculous!
But now, it seems he has finally seen sense, or perhaps has made a deal with someone to go quietly.