9780007101313 / 0007101317

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About the book:

In 1999, Charles Kennedy was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrat Party, after a meteoric rise through the party, after becoming the youngest sitting MP of the time following the General Election of 1983. The Future of Politics is intended to define Kennedy's liberal political philosophy, and is a deliberate attempt to bolster perceptions of the Liberal leader as a well-meaning but politically lightweight leader of the nation's third party.

The book stands in a long tradition of books written by political leaders that have a very short shelf life, as they pitch their vision to the party faithful and media pundits in the run-up to the next general election. Nevertheless, Kennedy emerges as a pleasant and principled politician, even if his sentiments, such as "we are in politics to promote the liberty of the individual", lack practical substance. The book ranges across the issues central to Kennedy's leadership of the party--constitutional reform, the environment, Europe and the economy. The tone also veers from the portentous, invoking John Stuart Mill and Aeschylus, to the chatty, as Kennedy encompasses his own Highland upbringing to his views on the current state of the British political system. At times the colloquial style makes Kennedy sound rather na´ve, such as when he says that "put simply, my philosophy of government is that it should do less in a few areas, do more in others, and do different in most", but overall this is a sound, sensible and very liberal view of British politics. --Jerry Brotton

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