I don’t want this to be maudling or self indulgent but today sees the funeral of Charles Kennedy who, to my mind, was a visionary and a hugely significant political figure of the last thirty years. His opposition to the Iraq war when everybody else was blindly following Blair and Bush into war and his opposition to Nick Clegg’s far too cosy coalition with David Cameron in 2010 both proved to be seminal.
‘Anyway’ – as they say – ten days ago on the day of Charles’ sudden and untimely death, I was shopping in Liverpool city centre when I heard the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. I’m not a natural fan, but it just seemed appropriate and right on that Tuesday.
Thirty minutes later he was there again on Whitechapel. The piper was packing up. I went over and put some money in his case. My little site here is supposed to be about chasing ‘social norms’. I don’t know about that but what I do know is that our social world revolves around ordinary, everyday interactions. Everybody has a story.
A tiny part of this guy’s story is that he is a ‘Scouser’. He is not Scottish, neither is his dad, nor his grandad who taught him the bagpipes. When I said it was appropriate he was playing today on the day of Charles Kennedy’s death, the young man didn’t know who Charles Kennedy was. I just said he was a leading light in the Stop the War campaign. The young man’s reply was ‘Well. He is good enough for me. I will play him a lament’.
As I walked away, the sound of this haunting lament filled the unwatching Liverpool street. Thank you Mr Piper man.
and thank you Charles Kennedy.