CHARLES Kennedy joked just before our last hustings for first years at Lochaber High School that maybe we candidates should just swap speeches. He thought we knew what each other were going to say quite well by then.
During the campaign I was aware he did not look well, yet the old spark was still there and he was a formidable debating opponent with a sound grasp of the facts and figures.
However, despite being the only Liberal Democrat to vote against joining the coalition, he could not shake off the taint of being associated with what that government had done in office; many things which he did not support. Having been instrumental in setting up the Lib Dems as a force from the Left and for social justice, it must have pained him to see it propping up so much social injustice.
He left the count with dignity having delivered his “night of the long sgian dubhs” speech. We left at the same time.
We shook hands in the car park, thanked him for what he had done for the constituency and said we were sure he would find something worthwhile to do. He was clearly broken-hearted but put a brave face on it and said that he would have time to attend to his croft. Sadly this was not to be. My thoughts are with the family who have lost Charles and his father so close together.
Scottish Green candidate
North Kessock, Inverness