Little Steel, by contrast, has a lot of explaining to do, as he was informed long ago that Smith was far from being the clean potato. “We were a political party not a detective agency,” he has taken to whining about those years before we merged with the SDP Party. I am afraid conscience bids me explain why this is nonsense.
In the mid 1970s, when we were at something of a low ebb, I went to Steel and said: “As the politics is not going so well these days, we need a second string to our bow. What about all this crime you read about in the newspapers? We Liberals are intelligent fellows and should be able to help bring the bad hats to book.”
And so the Liberal Detective Agency was born. With Alan Beith’s sleuthing, Clement Freud’s pioneering work in psychological profiling and Nancy Seear’s willingness to play bad cop to David Alton’s good cop, we enjoyed no little success. The money the agency made was ploughed back into the party’s campaigning, with the result that we survived the 1979 general election in better shape than any commentator had dared predict.
I fear for Steel’s reputation when this comes out, and come out it will, as I am in advanced negotiations with an independent moving television production company about bringing the tale to the screen. I only hope he finds his missing locus before it is broadcast.
Lord Bonkers was Liberal MP for Rutland South West 1906-10.
Previously in Lord Bonkers' Diary