- Charles Kennedy’s apparently benign demeanour masks unyielding anti-Englishness, but then, Lib Dems as group, have long been prone to exploit England.
- A former leader of the Liberals ~ one in a long line of Scots from Gladstone, Archibald Primrose, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Donald Maclean, Archibald Sinclair, Jo Grimond and David Steel (not forgetting Menzies Campbell who succeeded him) ~ Charles Kennedy MP (former Lib Dem party leader) s made a number of public utterances revealing his contempt for England and the English, usually from the safety of Scotland.
- Charles Kennedy MP, former Leader of the Lib Dems and recovering alcoholic. (Do we really need his opinions about England.)
One particular effusion which serves to demonstrate his outlook was made to the Scottish Council Foundation, and here is a revealing extract:
- ” . . . as I am aware of no equivalent in Gaelic, or for that matter in English, to the word schadenfreude, a useful German expression meaning to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others. But it is not an emotion exclusive to the Germans.
- Do I detect a certain schadenfreude among Scots at the apparent current turmoil among the English over their sense of national identity? If so, it is given extra savour because that crisis of identity is provoked at least in part by the creation of the Parliament in Scotland and the Assembly in Wales. Suddenly it is Scotland which is forging ahead in a grand constitutional experiment, and England which is poring over its national navel and asking: who are we … and why?”
- Lecture to the Scottish Council Foundation, 30 June, 1999
- Here’s another extract of a speech delivered to the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference, Dunfermline, on the 16th October 1999 [Note: ‘Scottish’ Lib Dem Conference, but there is no ‘English Lib Dem’ equivalent]
- “But there’s another reason why it is thought-provoking to be a Scot leading a British party.
- And that is that the relationships between the nations of the Union have changed in a revolutionary way since 1997.
- Scotland has a Parliament.
- Wales an Assembly.
- Northern Ireland, soon I hope, a working Assembly too.
- In England, regionalism is growing as never before. Calling into question, as it happens, the idea of England itself.”
- Now, leaving aside (for the moment) Kennedy’s crowing, none of that is very friendly, and there are two conclusions to be drawn:
- (1.) The Liberal Democrats Party is essentially a Scottish party;
- (2.) Scotland is no longer a true friend of England, but is now an opponent whom it would be prudent to regard as such.