Sadly Ludovic Kennedy has died.
I met him once when I was 6 or 7, but I'll mostly remember him for his appearance as himself on Yes, Minister catching Jim Hacker out.
Because of his towering reputation and influence I often confused him with the news correspondent and his contemporary, Charles Wheeler.
Between the two of them they installed my faith in the hard fought values of principled journalism by ensuring you didn't just look at the easiest and most comforting of angles.
While I was happy to disagree with either on their conclusions they were both formative characters who set the standards to be followed and lived up to.
Here is the Telegraph's obituary.
Goethe's advice that one should "distrust all those in whom the urge to punish is strong" is one I read subsequently and can't agree with more strongly, though I've tended to broaden the scope of it to understand the urge for self-punishment.
I think part of this informed my doubt about his vigorous campaigning for euthanasia, which grew a touch distasteful in its' insistence through the 90's, and I can understand Ludo's temporary split from the LibDems when Charles Kennedy began to disapprove.
However, maybe it was a sign of the times, but I was glad to read he had patched up his differences and was eager to rejoin under Nick Clegg.
It's interesting to read that he died peacefully at his resthome near Salisbury, and though I'm intrigued to know the manner of his passing and whether he chose the moment as a final act of defiance I think it would be undignified to intrude. Had he really been campaigning for a change in the law on his own behalf, then surely he would have travelled to Switzerland, wouldn't he?
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