Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Ludovic Kennedy

I've nothing special to add to the many obituaries published about Ludovic Kennedy, the best I've read this morning is in the Independent.

The big thing I remember about was his campaigns against injustice. I recall the impact of the book 10 Rillington Place when my elder brother read it and the discussions in the family. His thirst for justice, to right wrong was never slated.

There was commission at a Liberal Assembly where he relentlessly argued that it was the adversarial nature of our legal system that made miscarriages of justice more likely. He argued in favour of the French inquisitorial system and cause some consternation when he seemed prepared to limit trial by jury if the french system was adopted.


Kennedy appears to have been attracted into the Liberal Party by Jo Grimond in the aftermath of Suez and Eden's disastrous leadership. His achievement at Rochdale by election is well documented. The Tories landed up in third place having held the seat. Kennedy defeated the 'squeeze' and was a serious challenge to the Labour candidate. That was one of a string of by elections in the 1950s where the party began to get its act together; Hereford, Rochdale Torrington-which Mark Bonham Carter won and the biggest triumph of the lot in 1962 when Eric Lubbock won Orpington.

Kennedy made a big impact on many folk because of his writings on a wide range issues. Sefton Council leader Tony Robertson recalled him in an email last night:


I loved his writing and his fight for justice for those wrongly convicted. He was a great Liberal whom I met by falling over his wheelchair a few years ago in the Southport Theatre during a Lib Dem Conference. His book on Scottish Independence 'In Bed with an elephant' is a good read as is his 'All in the mind - a farewell to God'. Another one of heroes gone...

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