Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Liberal England in 2019: Part 4


There were calls for the reopening of the Market Harborough to Northampton railway line and I shared my photos of the last train on it from 1981.

I photographed a striking shop window display in Nottingham.

We laughed at Ann Widdecombe in the 1990s, but her cartoon image pointed the way for future Conservative politicians:
Since then we have had Boris Johnson as a minor P.G. Wodehouse character, Jacob Rees-Mogg as Lord Snooty's grandfather and Geoffrey Cox as the famous actor you can't remember seeing in anything. 
These personae are a calculated armour designed to disguise their wearers' politics and shield them from conventional criticism.
I don't want to worry you about the hard left, but they grew up regarding concerns about race, gender or sexuality as a distraction from the class struggle and learnt nothing from Michael Foot's defeat in 1983.

Public schools used to pride themselves on the character of their former pupils. Today it is their greatest weakness.

Did you know that Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone was dramatised by the BBC in 1969? With some help from David Wood, I rediscovered this production.


I celebrated Auberon Waugh - not something your average Liberal Democrat blogger would do - and Beeston Weir on the River Trent.

Kenneth Clarke had his say on David Cameron:
"He had the style and presentational skills, but he could never answer the question - what does he believe in? What is he doing it for? The real answer was he was doing it because it was fun and he had risen effortlessly to the top."
Wandering around Leicester I came across the lock and weir at Freeman's Meadow and a tram shelter that never saw a tram.

Albert and Squeaky, the (separteley) abandoned puppy and kitten who are fiends gave us some solace in dark times.

And a bus ride took me to South Kilworth and a ravishing derelict house.


The Methodist church at Higham Ferrers was fun and I mourned the death of Bob Willis.

Tickencote church was protected and Ironbridge power station was demolished.

A radio programme hailed John Arlott as "One of the great English radical Liberals of the 20th century" and I discovered an article by Peter Sloman on the Liberalism on the left behind:
If the party’s sociological heartland is middle-class and cosmopolitan, its geographical heartland lies in the windswept constituencies of the Celtic fringe. It was here that Nonconformist farmers and shopkeepers stuck with the party through the 1940s and 50s, and that the party found it easiest to turn votes into seats during the 1970s and 80s. 
The Lib Dem showing led to a spate of great guests posts, including one from Leicestershire's own Michael Mullaney:
Seats where campaigners and candidates had worked for years, winning councils were ignored in favour of seats where we often had no or very few councillors.
The year ended with everyone attacking Iain Duncan Smith, but I said George Osborne was the real villain.

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