Monday, June 01, 2020

Candid portraits of West Midlands Liberal and Lib Dem candidates

Embed from Getty Images

Researching my post on Wallace Lawler and the Birmingham Ladywood by-election, I came across a remarkable document online.

It gives a brief biography of each candidate in Who's Who style, but also a character sketch. These are often bracingly candid - so much so that I would hesitate to quote some of them here.

Among those I can quote is my former landlord in Sutton Coldfield, Jim Whorwood. He is described as a "party stalwart from 1950s; meticulous keeper of records and election information; respected for his integrity, serious minded approach, sense of humour and capacity for hard work".

I remember saying to one of the SDP candidates in the May 1982 local elections: "I love the Liberals. Jim does all this work and he has no hope of reward."

That shows how much I knew. In 2001 he was elected Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

Our PPC in those days was Edward Hooper, who is described as "noted for [his] courteous, unassuming demeanour".

For a taste of Mr King when he has the bit between his teeth, try him on Robin Day, who fought Hereford for the Liberals in 1959:

Day was said to have been of a cantankerous personality, difficult to work with, with few if any real intimate friends, though he had a myriad of superficial acquaintances. He lacked a genuine sense of humour and always wore a stony expression. The exaggerated professional reputation he enjoyed in life has justly received posthumous re-evaluation.


david walsh said...

Certainly a niche booklet. He seemed to skim over Lawlor and the race issue, looking instead to O & M studies inside Birmingham CC. I feel he also gave the rather egregious John Hemming a long rope, overlooking some of his weird demonising of local social work staff in the area. But the oddest is in the opening paragraph where he talks proudly of the "Martell Plan" - a development blueprint for the post WW2 Liberal Party, without telling anyone about Martell's subsequent career trajectory, something that needs relating.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for this! I wish there were versions for all the other regions as well. I didn't know that there had been (the suggestion of) a corruption problem in Birmingham City Council, and reading the piece about Lawler reminded me that for all their faults, Liberals and Liberal Democrats have sometimes done some good in the world.