29 August 2006

The Liberal Democrats' Drink Problem 1999-2006

The Liberal Democrats, along with many members of the British press, have today been remembering the party's Drink Problem after news of the LibDem's attempts to bury it in secret were leaked to journalists at The Times.

A close friend of Charles KennedyThe Liberal Democrats Drink Problem was born in 1999, when TV chatshow guest, bon viveur and occasional MP Charles Kennedy announced his intention to stand for the party leadership, something he achieved with the aid of a skilled campaign team, a set of exciting policies and a handy wall to prop himself up against. While at first it confined itself to private appearances and occasional performances for friends in the bars of the House of Commons, by late 2002 the Drink Problem decided it was time to bring itself to the public's attention, starring in a performance of "Whisky Galore", with Jeremy Paxman playing the stuffy and overbearing head of the local militia. Its appetite for the public stage whetted, the Drink Problem was soon a regular on the political circuit. In early 2003 it brought the house down with several performances of "The Man Who Wasn't There" during Prime Minister's Questions. By the run up to the General Election the Drink Problem was successfully reprising Bob Hope's role as an inept man completely out of his depth, playing the eponymous hero of "The Pale-Face". By late 2005, however, the Drink Problem was losing its popularity with party and public. Soon it was appearing to small crowds of the elderly and infirm at assorted seaside venues and any other places where Liberal Democrat conferences were being held.

The Liberal Democrats eventually buried their Drink Problem in an extremely private ceremony held on a patch of waste ground in the early hours of the morning. At the head of the mourners was party leader Sir Menzies Campbell, who performed his task of keeping an eye out for any possible witnesses with his customary dignity and aplomb. The burial, illuminated by moonlight and Simon Hughes's battery-operated torch, was marred only by the need to keep absolutely quiet to avoid attracting anyone's attention and by Charles Kennedy making several attempts to climb out of the coffin and get to the bar before last orders.

The Liberal Democrats Drink Problem is survived by countless empty whisky bottles and several distraught distilleries.