June 12 Letters: Lavish praise in death – but not in political life

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From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe.

IT remains a complete mystery to me, and I suspect many others, how it is that public figures receive praise and tributes following their early and untimely deaths that were absent from their lives when they were constantly in the public gaze.

Such was the case with Charles Kennedy who in the latter part of his political life was dubbed, not for his role as a party leader, but with the dreaded label “alcoholic” (The Yorkshire Post, June 6). Only after his tragic death do we bystanders learn fully just what a brilliant visionary he was in a life regrettably cut short.

It seems to me that Kennedy committed the unforgiveable sin, if that is what it is, of being almost more popular than other leading figures in his own political party.

I couldn’t help but think of another political figure whose popularity with the party and public put a few faces out of joint. Who could forget the standing ovation afforded to Mo Mowlam at a Labour Party conference, to the clear disapproval of Tony Blair? The only difference on that occasion was that the former MP for Redcar and former Northern Ireland Secretary received some of the praise due to her before her untimely death, which regrettably could not be said in the case of Mr Kennedy.