Ludovic Kennedy
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

 Ludovic Henry Coverley Kennedy (3 November 191918 October 2009) was a British journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

, broadcaster
A presenter, or host , is a person or organization responsible for running an event. A museum or university, for example, may be the presenter or host of an exhibit. Likewise, a master of ceremonies is a person that hosts or presents a show...

, humanist
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 and author best known for re-examining cases such as the Lindbergh kidnapping
Lindbergh kidnapping
The kidnapping of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., was the abduction of the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The toddler, 18 months old at the time, was abducted from his family home in East Amwell, New Jersey, near the town of Hopewell, New Jersey, on the evening of...

 and the murder convictions of Timothy Evans
Timothy Evans
Timothy John Evans was a Welshman accused of murdering his wife and daughter at their residence in Notting Hill, London in November 1949. In January 1950 Evans was tried and convicted of the murder of his daughter, and he was sentenced to death by hanging...

 and Derek Bentley
Derek Bentley
Derek William Bentley was a British teenager hanged for the murder of a police officer, committed in the course of a burglary attempt. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley's, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the...

, and for his role in the abolition of the death penalty
Capital punishment in the United Kingdom
Capital punishment in the United Kingdom was used from the creation of the state in 1707 until the practice was abolished in the 20th century. The last executions in the United Kingdom, by hanging, took place in 1964, prior to capital punishment being abolished for murder...

 in the United Kingdom.

Early life and naval career

Kennedy was born in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, the son of a career Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 officer, Edward Coverley Kennedy, and his wife, Rosalind Grant, daughter of Sir Ludovic Grant, 11th Baronet
Grant Baronets
-Grant Baronets, of Dalvey, Elgin :Created 10 August 1688, in the baronetage of Nova Scotia.*Sir James Grant, 1st Baronet, died 1695*Sir Ludovic Grant, 2nd Baronet, died 4 January 1701*Sir Sweton Grant, 3rd Baronet, died 1752...

. His mother Rosalind was a cousin of the Conservative politician Robert Boothby, later Lord Boothby. He was schooled at Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

 (where he played in a jazz band with Humphrey Lyttelton
Humphrey Lyttelton
Humphrey Richard Adeane Lyttelton , also known as Humph, was an English jazz musician and broadcaster, and chairman of the BBC radio comedy programme I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue...

), and was set for university when the Second World War broke out.

Kennedy's father, by then a 60 year old retired captain, returned to the navy and was given command of HMS Rawalpindi
HMS Rawalpindi
HMS Rawalpindi was a British armed merchant cruiser that was sunk during the Second World War.-Merchant service:...

, a hastily militarised P&O
Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company
The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which is usually known as P&O, is a British shipping and logistics company which dated from the early 19th century. Following its sale in March 2006 to Dubai Ports World for £3.9 billion, it became a subsidiary of DP World; however, the P&O...

 steamship, known as an Armed Merchant Cruiser
Armed merchantmen
Armed merchantman is a term that has come to mean a merchant ship equipped with guns, usually for defensive purposes, either by design or after the fact. In the days of sail, piracy and privateers, many merchantmen would be routinely armed, especially those engaging in long distance and high value...

. On 23 November 1939, while on patrol southeast of Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 the Rawalpindi encountered two of the most powerful German warships, the small battleships and trying to break out through the GIUK gap
GIUK gap
The GIUK gap is an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean that forms a naval warfare chokepoint. Its name is an acronym for Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom, the gap being the open ocean between these three landmasses...

 into the Atlantic. The Rawalpindi was able to signal the German ships' location back to base. Despite being hopelessly outgunned, Captain Edward Coverley Kennedy of the Rawalpindi decided to fight, rather than surrender as demanded by the Germans. Scharnhorst sank Rawalpindi; of her 312 crew 275 (including her captain) were killed. His son Ludovic was just twenty years old. Captain Kennedy was posthumously Mentioned in Despatches and his decision to fight against overwhelming odds entered the folklore of the Royal Navy.

Ludovic Kennedy followed his father into the navy; he served as an officer on destroyer
In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

s, mostly in the same northern seas. His ship (HMS Tartar
HMS Tartar (F43)
HMS Tartar was a Tribal-class destroyer of the Royal Navy that saw service in most of the naval theatres of World War II. She had an eventful career, eventually receiving the nickname 'Lucky Tartar' due to her numerous escapes from dangerous situations...

) was one of those that pursued the battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

 following the Battle of the Denmark Strait
Battle of the Denmark Strait
The Battle of the Denmark Strait was a Second World War naval battle between ships of the Royal Navy and the German Kriegsmarine, fought on 24 May 1941...

 although he did not witness her sinking because Tartar went to refuel some hours before the end. Kennedy later wrote about this in Pursuit, his chronicle of the chase and sinking of the Bismarck.

He had two younger sisters, Morar and Katherine. Morar married the playwright Royce Ryton
Royce Ryton
Royce Thomas Carlisle Ryton was an English playwright. During the war he served in the Royal Navy; afterward, he went to train as an actor at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. As an actor, he played in many repertory theatres, including Bromley, Minehead, and Worthing. He also toured...

 in 1954. Katherine married Major Ion Calvocoressi
Ion Calvocoressi
Major Ion Melville Calvocoressi MBE MC was an officer in the British Army in the Second World War and later a stockbroker in the City of London. He was High Sheriff of Kent in 1978-79....

 in 1947.

Journalism and broadcasting

After the war he attended Christ Church
Christ Church, Oxford
Christ Church or house of Christ, and thus sometimes known as The House), is one of the largest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England...

, Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

, and began a career as a journalist.

A campaigning, investigative reporter, Kennedy wrote for a number of publications, including Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

. From 1953, he edited and introduced the First Reading radio series on the BBC Third Programme
BBC Third Programme
The BBC Third Programme was a national radio network broadcast by the BBC. The network first went on air on 29 September 1946 and became one of the leading cultural and intellectual forces in Britain, playing a crucial role in disseminating the arts...

, presenting young writers such as Kingsley Amis
Kingsley Amis
Sir Kingsley William Amis, CBE was an English novelist, poet, critic, and teacher. He wrote more than 20 novels, six volumes of poetry, a memoir, various short stories, radio and television scripts, along with works of social and literary criticism...

 and Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL is widely regarded as one of the great English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century...

. Later he became a television journalist and a newsreader
News presenter
A news presenter is a person who presents news during a news program in the format of a television show, on the radio or the Internet.News presenters can work in a radio studio, television studio and from remote broadcasts in the field especially weather...

 on ITV's Independent Television News
Independent Television News
ITN is a news and content provider with headquarters in the United Kingdom. It is made up of four key businesses: ITN News, ITN Source, ITN Productions and ITN Consulting. The ITN logotype can be displayed in any of 4 different colours, each of which represents a business unit. This is the...

. He presented the BBC's flagship current affairs programme Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

for several years. Kennedy was interested in miscarriages of justice, and he wrote and broadcast on numerous cases.

From 1980 to 1988 he presented the television review programme Did You See...?
Did You See...?
Did You See...? was a long-running British television documentary series which began on the BBC in 1980. The programme took a look back at the week's television with a discussion between the presenter and three guests. In the first run there was also an item on related issues...

He interviewed Peter Cook
Peter Cook
Peter Edward Cook was an English satirist, writer and comedian. An extremely influential figure in modern British comedy, he is regarded as the leading light of the British satire boom of the 1960s. He has been described by Stephen Fry as "the funniest man who ever drew breath," although Cook's...

's character Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling
Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling
Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling was a fictional character played by British comedian Peter Cook throughout his career. Streeb-Greebling was a stereotype of the upper class English duffer. He was usually presented in the form of interviews with various comedians acting as the interviewer...

 in A Life in Pieces in 1990. He appeared as himself in several episodes on the political comedy series Yes, Minister. Kennedy was the subject of an episode of That Reminds Me
That Reminds Me
That Reminds Me is a series of programmes broadcast on BBC Radio 4 where someone connected with comedy talks about their life for thirty minutes in front of a live audience...

(2002: season 4, episode 1).

Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

magazine sometimes referred to him as 'Ludicrous Kennedy'. In the long-running BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, Alf Garnett
Alf Garnett
Alf Garnett is a fictional character in the British sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part, Till Death... and In Sickness and in Health, and chat show The Thoughts of Chairman Alf. He was created by Johnny Speight and played by Warren Mitchell....

 - while attacking BBC personalities - spoke of him as a Russian Mick ("Mick" being an offensive term for an Irishman), meaning "that Ludovich Kennedy!"


Kennedy's highly regarded book Pursuit: The Chase and Sinking of the "Bismarck" (ISBN 978-0-304-35526-6) detailed the career of the Bismarck
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

, her sinking of British battlecruiser
Battlecruisers were large capital ships built in the first half of the 20th century. They were developed in the first decade of the century as the successor to the armoured cruiser, but their evolution was more closely linked to that of the dreadnought battleship...

HMS Hood (51)
HMS Hood was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy. One of four s ordered in mid-1916, her design—although drastically revised after the Battle of Jutland and improved while she was under construction—still had serious limitations. For this reason she was the only ship of her class to be...

, and her destruction by the Royal Navy.

Miscarriages of justice

He wrote several books that questioned convictions in a number of notable cases in British criminal history. One of the first miscarriages of justice he investigated was the conviction and hanging of Timothy Evans
Timothy Evans
Timothy John Evans was a Welshman accused of murdering his wife and daughter at their residence in Notting Hill, London in November 1949. In January 1950 Evans was tried and convicted of the murder of his daughter, and he was sentenced to death by hanging...

 in his book Ten Rillington Place
John Christie (murderer)
John Reginald Halliday Christie , born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was a notorious English serial killer active in the 1940s and '50s. He murdered at least eight females – including his wife Ethel – by strangling them in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London...

(ISBN 978-0-586-03428-6). He was found to have murdered his baby daughter in 1950, but Kennedy contended that Evans was innocent, and that the murders of his wife and baby had been committed by the serial killer
Serial killer
A serial killer, as typically defined, is an individual who has murdered three or more people over a period of more than a month, with down time between the murders, and whose motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification...

 John Christie
John Christie (murderer)
John Reginald Halliday Christie , born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was a notorious English serial killer active in the 1940s and '50s. He murdered at least eight females – including his wife Ethel – by strangling them in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London...

. Christie was hanged three years after the hanging of Evans, following the discovery of six more bodies at 10 Rillington Place, none of which could be ascribed to Evans. Indeed, two of the skeletons found at the house dated back to the war. After a long campaign, Evans was posthumously pardon
Clemency means the forgiveness of a crime or the cancellation of the penalty associated with it. It is a general concept that encompasses several related procedures: pardoning, commutation, remission and reprieves...

ed in 1966. The scandal helped in the abolition of the death penalty in the UK. Kennedy's book was filmed in 1970: Richard Fleischer
Richard Fleischer
-Early life:Fleischer was born in Brooklyn, the son of Essie and animator/producer Max Fleischer. He started in motion pictures as director of animated shorts produced by his father including entries in the Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman series.His live-action film career began in 1942 at the RKO...

's film 10 Rillington Place starred John Hurt
John Hurt
John Vincent Hurt, CBE is an English actor, known for his leading roles as John Merrick in The Elephant Man, Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Mr. Braddock in The Hit, Stephen Ward in Scandal, Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant and An Englishman in New York...

 as Evans and Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

 as Christie.

In 1985, Kennedy published The Airman And The Carpenter (ISBN 978-0-670-80606-5), in which he argued that Bruno Hauptmann
Bruno Hauptmann
Bruno Richard Hauptmann was a German ex-convict sentenced to death for the abduction and murder of the 20-month-old son of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The Lindbergh kidnapping became known as "The Crime of the Century".-Background:Hauptmann was born in Kamenz in the German Empire,...

 did not kidnap and murder Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh
Charles Augustus Lindbergh was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S...

's baby, a crime for which he was executed in 1936. The book was made into a 1996 HBO film Crime Of The Century
Crime of the Century (TV film)
Crime of the Century is a 1996 HBO television film directed by Mark Rydell. It presents a dramatization of the Lindbergh kidnapping. The film stars Stephen Rea as Bruno Hauptmann and Isabella Rossellini as his wife Anna. The film earned five Golden Globe nominations in the "Mini-Series or Motion...

, starring Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea
Stephen Rea is an Irish film and stage actor. Rea has appeared in high profile films such as V for Vendetta, Michael Collins, Interview with the Vampire and Breakfast on Pluto...

 and Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini is an Italian actress, filmmaker, author, philanthropist, and model. Rossellini is noted for her 14-year tenure as a Lancôme model, and for her roles in films such as Blue Velvet and Death Becomes Her.-Background and early life:Rossellini is a...


In 1990, Kennedy became the advisory committee chairman of Just Television
David Jessel
David Jessel is a former British TV and radio news presenter; author; and campaigner against miscarriages of justice. From 2000 to 2010 he was also a commissioner of the Criminal Cases Review Commission.-Background:...

, a television production company dedicated to exposing miscarriages of justice.

In 2003, he wrote 36 Murders and 2 Immoral Earnings (ISBN 978-1-86197-457-0), in which he analysed a number of noted cases, including the Evans case and those of Derek Bentley
Derek Bentley
Derek William Bentley was a British teenager hanged for the murder of a police officer, committed in the course of a burglary attempt. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley's, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the...

 and the Birmingham Six
Birmingham Six
The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

, a number of which were affected by claims of police failure, police misconduct
Police misconduct
Police misconduct refers to inappropriate actions taken by police officers in connection with their official duties. Police misconduct can lead to a miscarriage of justice and sometimes involves discrimination...

 or perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

. In it he concluded that the adversarial system
Adversarial system
The adversarial system is a legal system where two advocates represent their parties' positions before an impartial person or group of people, usually a jury or judge, who attempt to determine the truth of the case...

 of justice in the UK and the United States "is an invitation to the police to commit perjury, which they frequently do", and said that he preferred the inquisitorial system
Inquisitorial system
An inquisitorial system is a legal system where the court or a part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case, as opposed to an adversarial system where the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense...


Kennedy also wrote:
  • Sub-Lieutenant: A Personal Record of the War at Sea, 1942
  • One man's meat, 1953
  • Murder Story, 1954
  • Trial of Stephen Ward
    Stephen Ward
    Stephen Thomas Ward was an osteopath and artist who became notorious as one of the central figures in the 1963 Profumo affair, a British public scandal which profoundly affected the ruling Conservative Party government...

    , 1964, ISBN 978-0-575-01035-2
  • Very lovely people; a personal look at some Americans living abroad, 1969, ISBN 978-0-671-20205-7
  • Nelson and His Captains (also called Nelson's band of brothers), 1975, ISBN 0-00-211569-7
  • Presumption of Innocence: Amazing Case of Patrick Meehan
    Patrick Meehan
    Patrick Connolly Meehan was the victim of a controversial miscarriage of justice in the UK. Although he died a natural death a number of people involved in the case died violent deaths, in clashes between former associates among Glasgow criminals...

    , 1976, ISBN 978-0-575-02072-6
  • Death of the Tirpitz
    German battleship Tirpitz
    Tirpitz was the second of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, the architect of the Imperial Navy, the ship was laid down at the Kriegsmarinewerft in Wilhelmshaven in November 1936 and launched two and a half years later in April...

    (also called Menace — The Life and Death of the Tirpitz), 1979, ISBN 978-0-316-48905-8
  • On My Way to the Club, 1990, ISBN 0-00-637079-9 (his autobiography
    An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

  • Truth to Tell: Collected Writings of Ludovic Kennedy, 1992, ISBN 978-0-552-99505-4
  • In Bed with an Elephant: Personal View of Scotland, 1995, ISBN 978-0-593-02326-6
  • All in the Mind: A Farewell To God, 1999, ISBN 978-0-340-68063-6 (a critique of Christianity)


In 1958, Kennedy stood for election to Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 as the Liberal
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 candidate in the Rochdale by-election
Rochdale by-election, 1958
The Rochdale by-election of 13 February 1958 was a by-election for the constituency of Rochdale, in Lancashire, England, in the House of Commons...

 called after the death of the sitting Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 MP, Wentworth Schofield
Wentworth Schofield
Wentworth Schofield was a British politician, who served as the last Conservative Member of Parliament for Rochdale.Schofield hailed from Oldham, Lancashire and was active in the cotton-spinning industry...

 in December 1957. He lost to the Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 candidate, Jack McCann
Jack McCann
John "Jack" McCann was a British politician, who served as the Labour Member of Parliament for Rochdale....

, but achieved a massive increase in the Liberal vote, pushing the Conservatives into a distant third place. The Rochdale contest was the first British by-election to receive live television coverage (locally, by Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....


Kennedy supported Scottish Independence
Scottish independence
Scottish independence is a political ambition of political parties, advocacy groups and individuals for Scotland to secede from the United Kingdom and become an independent sovereign state, separate from England, Wales and Northern Ireland....



In addition to his writing and campaigning on miscarriages of justice
Miscarriage of justice
A miscarriage of justice primarily is the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime they did not commit. The term can also apply to errors in the other direction—"errors of impunity", and to civil cases. Most criminal justice systems have some means to overturn, or "quash", a wrongful...

, Kennedy campaigned on a number of other issues.

A lifelong atheist
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, he published All In The Mind: A Farewell To God (ISBN 978-0-340-68063-6) in 1999, in which he discussed his philosophical objections to religion, and the ills he felt had come from Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. He was a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association
British Humanist Association
The British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes Humanism and represents "people who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs." The BHA is committed to secularism, human rights, democracy, egalitarianism and mutual respect...

, he contributed to New Humanist
New Humanist
New Humanist is a monthly magazine published by the Rationalist Association in the UK. It has been in print for 125 years; starting out life as Watts's Literary Guide, founded by C. A. Watts in November 1885....

magazine, he was an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society
National Secular Society
The National Secular Society is a British campaigning organisation that promotes secularism and the separation of church and state. It holds that no-one should gain advantage or disadvantage because of their religion or lack of religion. It was founded by Charles Bradlaugh in 1866...

 and a Distinguished Supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland
Humanist Society of Scotland
The Humanist Society of Scotland is a Scottish voluntary charitable organisation that promotes humanist views. It is a member of the European Humanist Federation and the International Humanist and Ethical Union.-History and aims:...


He was also an advocate of the legalisation of assisted suicide
Assisted suicide
Assisted suicide is the common term for actions by which an individual helps another person voluntarily bring about his or her own death. "Assistance" may mean providing one with the means to end one's own life, but may extend to other actions. It differs to euthanasia where another person ends...

, and is a co-founder and former chair of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. His book, Euthanasia: The Case for the Good Death (ISBN 978-0-7011-3639-0), was published in 1990.

Kennedy resigned from the Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 in 2001, citing the incompatibility of his pro-voluntary euthanasia views with those of the then Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy
Charles Peter Kennedy is a British Liberal Democrat politician, who led the Liberal Democrats from 9 August 1999 until 7 January 2006 and is currently a Member of Parliament for the Ross, Skye and Lochaber constituency....

 (no relation) who is a Roman Catholic.

He then stood as an independent on a platform of legalising voluntary euthanasia in the 2001 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

 for the Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

 constituency of Devizes
Devizes (UK Parliament constituency)
Devizes is a parliamentary constituency in Wiltshire, England, which is now represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and before 1707 in the House of Commons of England....

. He won 2% of the vote and subsequently rejoined the Liberal Democrats.

Personal life

In February 1950 he married the dancer and actress Moira Shearer
Moira Shearer
Moira Shearer, Lady Kennedy , was an internationally famous Scottish ballet dancer and actress.-Early life:She was born Moira Shearer King in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, the daughter of actor Harold V. King...

 in the Chapel Royal
Chapel Royal
A Chapel Royal is a body of priests and singers who serve the spiritual needs of their sovereign wherever they are called upon to do so.-Austria:...

, Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London; it has not been inhabited by the British royal family since the 18th century. The palace is located south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames...

. The couple went on to have one son and three daughters from a 56-year marriage that ended with her death on 31 January 2006 at the age of 80.


He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde
University of Strathclyde
The University of Strathclyde , Glasgow, Scotland, is Glasgow's second university by age, founded in 1796, and receiving its Royal Charter in 1964 as the UK's first technological university...

 in 1985.

He was knighted in 1994 for services to journalism, on the recommendation of John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

's government. Major's predecessor Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 had vetoed Kennedy's knighthood.


Kennedy died of pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 in a nursing home in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on 18 October 2009.

External links

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