New issue of Journal of Liberal History out

The autumn issue of the Journal of Liberal History has just been published in time for conference. Its contents include:

Vince Cable as leader. Interview with Vince Cable on his political beliefs, his career in the party, in particular his period as Business Secretary in the coalition government, and his two years as leader of the Liberal Democrats. When asked about what went wrong with the coalition, he responded: ‘I think the simple answer is that we trusted the Conservatives, and we shouldn’t have.’ Read the interview to find out more about the challenges he faced in coalition and as leader, and what he’s most proud of.

Liberal Democrat leadership performance. Comparative table covering Ashdown, Kennedy, Campbell, Clegg, Farron and Cable. Data includes the leader’s personal ratings (highest and lowest), the party’s ratings (highest and lowest), best and worst election outcomes, and numbers of MPs, MEPs, councillors and party members at the beginning and the end of their term of office. 

E. D. Simon: Intellectual in politics; by David Dutton. Biography of E. D. Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe; a Liberal MP before the wars, a junior minister (for two weeks!) in the National Government in 1931 and later a Labour peer. Simon was also a long-standing Manchester councillor and a patron of the Liberal Summer School.

The Liberal Democrat performance in the 2019 European election. The well-known psephologist John Curtice analyses the Liberal Democrat vote in May 2019. Amongst which groups did we do best and worst?

Tentative feelers. Mitya Pearson examines the Liberal Party’s response to the emergence of the Green Party (then the Ecology Party) in the 1970s, including the distinctly odd occasion when Liberal MP and former leader Jeremy Thorpe attempted to join it.

Geoff Tordoff. Michael Meadowcroft remembers the life and long political career of Geoff Tordoff, a former Liberal Party chair and president and Chief Whip of the Liberals and then Liberal Democrats in the Lords.

The Journal also includes a report of our fringe meeting at the spring conference, on Liberalism in the north, with Michael Meadowcroft and William Wallace, and reviews of Dale and Smith (eds.), The Honourable Ladies, reviewed by Caron Lindsay; Thévoz, Club Government, reviewed by Tony Little; Reekes, The Birmingham Political Machine, reviewed by James Brennan; Rosenblatt, The Lost History of Liberalism, reviewed by Alex Tebble and Kyrle, The Liberals in Hampshire Part 3: Eastleigh 1972–81, reviewed by Mark Pack.

Subscribers should have already received their copy of the issue. Anyone else can have purchase a copy via our website ( or at our stand in the exhibition hall at Bournemouth. And if you take out an annual subscription, either online or in person, you’ll get this issue and the next year’s worth (four further issues).

New subscribers, or existing subscribers converting to a standing order, will also receive a free copy of our introductory booklet, Liberal History: a concise history of the Liberal Democrats and our predecessor parties, the Liberal Party and the SDP, from the seventeenth century onwards. For anyone else, copies are available at the sale price of just £1 each, or 50p each for bulk orders. 

See you at Bournemouth!


* Duncan Brack is the Editor of the Journal of Liberal History and a member of the Federal Policy Committee.

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