Tag Archives: jo grimond

Fun holiday photo quiz: And the winner is…..

Thanks to everyone who took part in our fun quiz on Friday – and to those who thought about it but were stumped by it!

We showed the photo above, which I took on my recent holiday. We asked you to name the location of the photo, which was mentioned wittily in a distinguished Liberal MP’s auto-biography.

The answer was Bergen railway station in Norway, which Jo Grimond, Liberal party leader 1956-1967, mentioned in his auto-biography (see below).

The first person to give the correct answer in our comments threads was Charles Dundas. Charles receives the accolade of “LDV Super Anorak” and a “very good” condition copy of Jo Grimond’s said memoirs.

Posted in Photo feature | 4 Comments

Deserving of more than a footnote: George Watson and The Unservile State

The Unservile StateThe announcement that the Cambridge academic George Watson had left the Liberal Democrats £950,000 in his will was one of the most surprising political stories of 2014.

George Watson was a distinguished literary scholar and a lifelong Liberal. After working for the European Commission as a translator and interpreter during the 1950s he became a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, in 1961 and remained there until he retired in 1990. As a scholar, he was known for serious bibliographical work, spirited polemics, and a traditional approach to literary criticism. He also made two forays into electoral politics, contesting Cheltenham in 1959 and Leicester in the 1979 European Election.

Watson is perhaps best remembered by Liberal Democrats, however, as the editor of The Unservile State – a 1957 volume billed as ‘the first full-scale study of the attitudes and policies of contemporary British Liberalism since the famous Yellow Book’ of 1928.

Posted in Books | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

6 British Pathé video clips of ex-Liberal leaders from 1931 to 1967

Sir John Simon speaks to the Nation. “Let us give to the Prime Minister a firm mandate in the name of the whole nation” (1931)

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , and | 21 Comments

RIP Pratap Chitnis

In memory of Pratap Chitnis, we reproduce below Mark Pack’s tribute to an unjustly forgotten Liberal Hero. The Guardian’s obituary is here.

Pratap (later Lord) Chitnis was the post-war Liberal Party’s first grassroots campaigning mastermind, whose pioneering activities laid the groundwork for the later work of better known people such as Trevor Jones and Chris Rennard.

Born in 1936 to a family with a history of Liberal politics (his grandfather stood and lost in 1906), he was inspired by Jo Grimond to join the Liberal Party himself in 1958. Chitnis first worked in the National Liberal Club’s library and then …

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Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “Of course the EU has to change”

No prizes for guessing which subject Nick Clegg tackles in his latest weekly letter to supporters: Europe. He rattles through the three positions: ‘calamitous outers’, ‘inconsequential renegotiators’ and ‘achievable reformers’. No prizes for guessing which he identifies with the Lib Dems. Over to Nick…

libdem letter from nick clegg

I’m writing this week’s Letter to you from Kirkwall in Orkney. Alistair Carmichael and Jim Wallace have been trying to persuade me to make the trip for a while and I’ve finally made it in order to join the celebrations of the centenary of Jo Grimond’s birth.

The big debate this week in British politics, which featured strongly in PMQs – where I was standing in for the PM (you can watch it here) – has obviously been about our future role in Europe. An issue on which Jo Grimond was a pioneer and leader.

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 26 Comments

Jo Grimond: Towards the sound of gunfire

A better understanding of Jo Grimond’s life is always a healthy corrective to some of the cartoon caricatures about right-wing lurches and Thatcherite policies that sometimes get thrown around over the views of contemporary Liberal Democrats.

Grimond was, after all, a man who talked of himself as being on the centre-left and who pushed for a progressive realignment of politics that would see a new centre-left party supplant Labour. Off and on feelers went out to those in Labour ranks during his career. And yet, he was …

Posted in Books | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

Eric Lubbock: From Orpington Man to Buddhist Monk?

For many years Adrian Slade has interviewed prominent Liberal Democrats. To mark his recent decision to make his archive of the interview recordings available to researchers and other interested parties, Lib Dem Voice is running a selection of his write-ups of interviews from over the years. The latest is from 2002 and is with Lord Avebury, formerly Eric Lubbock – victor of the 1962 Orpington by-election, MP for eight years and chair of the parliamentary human right s group from 1976 to 1997.

For a few astonishing days in March 1962, the Liberal Party led the Conservative and Labour parties in the opinion polls, the only time it had ever done so since polls were invented.

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Tony Greaves: From angry young man to simmering old guru

For many years Adrian Slade has interviewed prominent Liberal Democrats. To mark his recent decision to make his archive of the interview recordings available to researchers and other interested parties, Lib Dem Voice is running a selection of his write-ups of interviews from over the years. The latest is with Tony Greaves, dating from 2004.

There is something a little incongruous about the notion of the Liberal Democrats’ oldest angry young man donning the ermine of a peer of the realm.

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How well do you know the party’s MPs?

One (and as far as I know, only one) current or former Lib Dem/SDP/Liberal MP has presented a 45 minute ITV programme about venereal disease.

Can you guess who it is?

(Answer after the jump.)

Posted in Parliament | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Ludovic Kennedy: a man who just missed becoming Liberal leader

For many years Adrian Slade has interviewed prominent Liberal Democrats. To mark his recent decision to make his archive of the interview recordings available to researchers and other interested parties, Lib Dem Voice is running a selection of his write-ups of interviews from over the years. The latest is with broadcaster, writer and twice Liberal candidate Sir Ludovic Kennedy from 2003.

In the 1959 general election just 2,000 votes separated Ludovic Kennedy from becoming Liberal MP for Rochdale, and possibly a future party leader.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 7 Comments

Chris Rennard writes… 50 years after the Orpington by-election

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 4 Comments

Nick Clegg’s speech to Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference

Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference started yesterday in Inverness and runs until tomorrow (Sunday). Nick Clegg addressed Conference yesterday afternoon; here is his speech in full:

Liberals from the Highlands and Islands have always been at the heart of our party. From the late great Jo Grimond and Russell Johnston, great leaders like Bob Maclennan, Charles Kennedy and Jim Wallace in Scotland, to our current team at Westminster, Highland and Island voices have shaped who the Liberal Democrats are.

In Danny Alexander and Alistair Carmichael, I have Liberals from the Highlands and Islands with me right at the heart of British Government. …

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Opinion: Clegg should look to Gladstone and Grimond, not John Lewis

Nick Clegg’s Mansion House speech on “a more responsible capitalism” gathered publicity, particularly for his widely-reported call for employees to be given the right to ask for shares in the company they work for. I am still puzzling over how people can be given a right they already have. Anyone can ask for shares at present, of course, but with no guarantee of an answer.

It would be meant something if Nick had called for employees to have the right to be given shares in their companies when they asked.   It would have meant even more if he could have …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments

Local liberal heroes: Poddy Clark

Earlier in the year, I penned a series of posts profiling forgotten liberal heroes (to which a couple of other people also kindly contributed), looking at some of those who achieved great things for liberalism in their time but have been unjustly forgotten – such as Margaret Wintringham, the very first female Liberal MP.

There is also another group of people who I think are often unjustly obscure – those local campaigners who are often at the heart of their local community and local party, delivering liberalism and helping others, but as their stage is a local one they are often unacknowledged in

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Norman Lamb MP writes: Why we need to keep an open mind on Hinchingbrooke

Last week’s announcement that the management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital would be transferred to Circle Healthcare was always going to be controversial – a hospital with debts approaching £40million, whose situation had become so perilous that it had to be rescued by an external provider. Both Labour and Unison quickly exclaimed against this as ‘privatisation,’ despite the fact that the Labour Government had initiated the tendering process.

Circle is a 49% employee-owned organisation, different from the traditional private company. It makes them a part-mutual organisation run in the same manner as John Lewis. Put simply, they are part-owned and part-run …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 13 Comments

LDVideo | Party political broadcasts from the 1960s: Bonham Carter, Thorpe, Grimond & friends

Round 2 of our trip down PPB memory lane. Yesterday we trawled the 1950s, and today it’s time for the 1960s to take centre-stage…

Liberal Party election broadcast 1964 (with Frank Byers, Mark Bonham Carter, Jeremy Thorpe and Margaret Wingfield — alas, with some sound issues)

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

LDVideo | Party political broadcasts from the 1950s: Samuel, Arlott and Grimond

The party political broadcast (PPB for short) divides the anoraks from the average. Here at Voice Towers we try to cater to both, but this post’s most likely to pique the inerest of the former, as we rewind more than half a century, and recall some of the PPBs of yesteryear…

1951: Viscount Samuel (alas, this one’s brief and with poor sound quality)

(Available on YouTube here.)

The Liberal Answer (1955) with Frank Bowers & John Arlott, who found greater fame as a cricket commentator

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LDVideo | Election archive special… the 1960-70s

It’s Saturday night, but forget the X-Factor… Enjoy instead some classic election clips from the archives…

Jo Grimond campaigns in the 1966 general election

(Available on YouTube here.)

Election Campaign, Feb. 1974 (including a rare clip of Jeremy Thorpe at 2:20).

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Forgotten Liberal heroes: Desmond Banks

Listen to Liberal Democrats make speeches and there are frequent references to historical figures, but drawn from a small cast. Just the quartet of John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, David Penhaligon corner almost all of the market, especially since Bob Maclennan stopped making speeches to party conference. Some of the forgotten figures deserve their obscurity but others do not. Charles James Fox’s defence of civil liberties against a dominating government during wartime or Earl Grey’s leading of the party back into power and major constitutional reform are good examples of mostly forgotten figures who could

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

Opinion: A Scottish candidate’s view

Days have now passed since the last result for the Scottish Parliament was declared. At least that provided a bit of happy news; my local colleague and former Dunfermline MP Willie Rennie was elected as the last MSP from the Mid Scotland and Fife regional list. But frankly, what went on in the 18 hours prior to that was not much short of a horror show – I never thought that “Losing Deposits” would ring true again.

Normally, after a drubbing like that, attention turns to the campaign itself and where it all went wrong. This time, though, there’s no real …

Posted in Op-eds and Scotland | Also tagged , , , and | 23 Comments

Meet the Lib Dem bloggers: Jonathan Fryer

Welcome to the latest in our series giving the human face behind some of the blogs you can find on the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator.

Today it is Jonathan Fryer, who blogs at www.jonathanfryer.wordpress.com.

1. What’s your formative political memory?
Jo Grimond came to my school during the 1964 general election, kept 400 normally fidgety boys rapt, and I thought, ‘Yes, I believe that!’

2. When did you start blogging?
March 2007.

3. Why did you start blogging?
Blogging replaced many years of keeping a diary. Why only write for myself and whoever clears my house when I snuff it?

Jonathan Fryer screenshot4. What five words would you use to describe your blog?
Local and global in content.

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Forgotten Liberal heroes: Pratap Chitnis

Listen to Liberal Democrats make speeches and there are frequent references to historical figures, but drawn from a small cast. Just the quartet of John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, David Penhaligon corner almost all of the market, especially since Bob Maclennan stopped making speeches to party conference. Some of the forgotten figures deserve their obscurity but others do not. Charles James Fox’s defence of civil liberties against a dominating government during wartime or Earl Grey’s leading of the party back into power and major constitutional reform are good examples of mostly forgotten figures who could

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 1 Comment

Who are the greatest Liberal Prime Ministers who never were?

Mark Pack reviewed Francis Beckett’s new counterfactual collection, The Prime Ministers Who Never Were, on the Voice earlier this week — 14 ‘Big Beasts’ who, had the chips fallen differently, might have become premiers.

The list is mostly inevitable with a couple of intriguing outsiders: Austen Chamberlain, J R Clynes, Lord Halifax, Oswald Mosley, Herbert Morrison, Hugh Gaitskell, Rab Butler, George Brown, Norman Tebbit, Michael Foot, Denis Healey, Neil Kinnock, John Smith and David Miliband.

Voice readers will notice one evident fact: there’s not a single Liberal (or SDP) name among them. In some ways it’s not that surprising. After …

Posted in Books | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 16 Comments

Forgotten Liberal heroes: Lady Louise Glen-Coats

Listen to Liberal Democrats make speeches and there are frequent references to historical figures, but drawn from a small cast. Just the quartet of John Stuart Mill, William Gladstone, David Lloyd George, David Penhaligon corner almost all of the market, especially since Bob Maclennan stopped making speeches to party conference. Some of the forgotten figures deserve their obscurity but others do not. Charles James Fox’s defence of civil liberties against a dominating government during wartime or Earl Grey’s leading of the party back into power and major constitutional reform are good examples of mostly forgotten figures who could

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 5 Comments

Tim Farron’s speech at the Liberal Democrat conference rally

So this is the Sheffield Rally. And you know what normally happens when a party holds a Sheffield rally? Well, traditionally, some ginger bloke gets on stage, makes an absolute prat of himself, and completely wrecks his party’s election chances. And I’m a great believer in tradition, so here goes…

Ros has been an outstanding President. A baroness who is also a pavement politician, approachable, effective and one of us. Ros led us internally to an election result and aftermath that was beyond historic. And I am certain that we all want to show our appreciation. On a personal note she …

Posted in Conference | Also tagged , , and | 19 Comments

What Jo Grimond wrote…

Jo Grimond, the former Liberal Party leader who famously promised to lead the party towards the sound of gunfire, wrote the following back in 1979 – yet it echoes many contemporary themes:

“Looking around London it is uglier, dirtier, more expensively and more incompetently run than it was ten years ago. Many of the people in the Underground railway look like refugees from a prison camp. The standard of life may be statistically rising but it is difficult to discern greater well-being in either the homes or faces of most people. A certain mulish worry seems a prevalent expression. Yet their …

Posted in Op-eds | 27 Comments

Opinion: But is it really time for a change?

Party strategists have bet heavily on their assessment that voters think it is time for a change.

Perhaps simplistically, they hold to the notion that British political fortunes are governed by a pendulum. You often hear them criticise what they term the blue/red red/blue swings, but privately they accept it as a fundamental ‘law’ of political physics and have allowed themselves to be governed by this supposed law these last two years.

2010 will be one of those ‘Time for a Change’ elections, they have deduced.

From that deduction they moved on to suggest that the Conservatives (to whom in their estimate the pendulum has swung) have won the argument among the British public that they, the Conservatives, are the party of change.

The next step in the analysis was to presume that attacks on Conservatives or Conservative policies would thus position the Liberal Democrats as against change and therefore implicitly pro the status quo and, deep down in voter consciousness, pro-Labour.

Among leading Liberal Democrat MPs this conclusion may have been conveniently close to their political preferences, for others – and I think we may include Cable in this – it makes for an agonising and uncomfortable position.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 21 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 17th Dec - 12:29pm
    Fair comment David. But I still remember the conference apparently unperturbed by the speech. I am sure that Harold Wilson’s action was in the best...
  • User Avatarpaul barker 17th Dec - 12:27pm
    On the subject of Polls, an average of the last 50 gives us 9%, assuming that we are still going up that probably means that...
  • User Avatarexpats 17th Dec - 12:22pm
    jayne mansfield 16th Dec '18 - 7:10pm................I take the poll results with a very large pinch of salt. Liberal Democrats have had two years to...
  • User AvatarRoland 17th Dec - 12:04pm
    @Glenn - As I said I’m part Jewish, I’m atheist and I don’t do the essentially Catholic BC/AD thing. Calendars and Clocks, we forget just...
  • User AvatarRoger Lake 17th Dec - 12:00pm
    Joe B -- many many thanks for your swift help!
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 17th Dec - 11:52am
    @ JoeB, "When most taxes are collected regionally, the need for regional distribution goes away." No it doesn't. Taxes collected by the euro using countries...