Tag Archives: stockton

Liberal Tradition in Honiton

Who says that Honiton does not have a Liberal tradition? Admittedly it is going back a bit to the 18th century but Honiton did have a radical and liberal leaning MP then, Stockton born Brass Crosby.

It was in the days of Rotten Boroughs, so you may say nothing to be proud of there, but that was the system that there was then, and to his credit, he was part of a group of leading City of London politicians that were calling for constitutional reform that included ending Rotten Boroughs. In 100 years’ time it could be said that politicians of today had no mandate from the people as they were elected under the undemocratic first past the post.

This is an extract from the book I wrote, “Bold as Brass?” helpfully published by Christine Headley after reading about him in an LDV post!

A number of radical Whig Aldermen who were passionate about preventing the erosion ofrights and liberties of citizens stood in parliamentary elections. These were times of “Rotten Boroughs” and in 1768 he became the MP for Honiton “a small town in Devon with a comparatively liberal franchise”,37 which he continued to represent until the dissolution in September 1774.38 After the founding of the Campaign for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787, there were anti-slavery meetings and petitions in Exeter and many Devon towns including Honiton. Joseph Sturge, a successful businessman there founded the British and Foreign Anti Slavery Society in 1839, the forerunner of today’s Anti Slavery International (ASI) which recently campaigned successfully for the Modern Slavery Act.So it appears that over two centuries ago Honitonians not only campaigned against the British slave trade but were also involved in the campaign to end slavery throughout the world.39 There is no record of Brass Crosby ever actually visiting the town, as was common in the rotten boroughs of the day. A visit to local libraries and reference archives shows no
information of the happenings in Parliament other than regurgitating what the London press was saying about the events. The only other reference to Honiton and Parliament that has turned up is that the lace-making town sent a lace jabot to Bernard Weatherill when he was Speaker of the House of Commons.

37 Brown, Alba Theodore Grant, 1933. Half Lights on Chelsfield Court Lodge, Liverpool.
38 http://www.histparl.ac.uk/volume/1754-1790/constituencies/honiton
39 Midweek Herald, Honiton, 5 May 2017. Honiton history: What has the slave trade to do with us?

Brass Crosby’s actions are those that we Liberals should be proud of.

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Daily View 2×2: 7 January 2010

Good morning and welcome to Daily View on 7th January. Waking up to a cold frosty reception this morning are Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Labour ministers and fellow East Midlanders Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt – and, well, pretty much the rest of us as temperatures are set to stay below freezing for most of the country for most of the day.

The 7th January in history saw a trio of firsts: Galileo Galilei first observed the largest moon of Jupiter; the first use of the modern Italian flag; and the first transatlantic telephone call.

A trio of Nicks have birthdays today: Nicholson Baker, the American novelist; Nicolas Cage, the tax defaulting American actor – and our own Nick Clegg MP, who is 43 today!

And in misogyny news: today is Distaff Day, when traditionally, women, who’d had a break from household work over Christmas, began their domestic tasks again.

2 Big Stories

Today we have one nice story and a load of links poking fun at the Labour party.

Lord Mandelson plans street parties for Queen’s diamond jubilee

Mind you, even this story in the Telegraph, ostensibly about something else entirely, can’t help but speculate on Gordon’s much-demanded departure. Here’s the Lib Dem relevant paragraphs:

Lord McNally, for the Liberal Democrats, had to cough to get himself heard, for Lord Mandelson had risen too soon. This faux pas prompted Lord McNally to say, “That’s a bad start to the year,” before demanding street parties and mugs to celebrate the jubilee.

A lesser performer would have been thrown by the embarrassment of forgetting the genial Lord McNally, but Lord Mandelson recovered without apparent effort, declaring himself strongly in favour of street parties and mugs.

Yay, street parties and mugs! Woo!

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Daily View 2×2: 22 October 2009

Good morning readers. It’s the 22nd October and there are just 70 days left til the end of the year. Today is Derek Jacobi’s birthday, the 43rd anniversary of the first time an all-female group topped the charts in the States, and the 114th anniversary of a rather scary train-wreck at Paris’s Montparnasse station. Train wreck at Montparnasse, 1895

2 Big Stories

Postal strike poll puts blame on government as union announces action

The Guardian reports a Yougov poll in which voters put the blame for postal strikes squarely on Gordon’s shoulders.

Gordon Brown’s handling of the Royal Mail strikes comes under strong criticism from the public and Labour backbenchers today, with a new poll showing most voters believe the government should get directly involved in the dispute and force management and unions to go to the conciliation service Acas.

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