Winston Churchill once remarked: "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." He well demonstrated the point during his long political career.

Sadly Charles Kennedy's record will not now prove as prestigious. To wide regret, because he is a decent and intelligent man, but of course it was not simply booze which sunk him. Lack of vigour in the Commons and the country was the main cause, especially when a new Tory leader was seen buzzing around like a bee.

Last year's General Election result may have produced more Liberal MPs for nearly a century but it was still fewer than expected. Sensible Tory defence of their marginal seats as the main cause was not recognised by the Lib-Dem faithful. …

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