Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Liberal Hundred Thousand

Well logically there are another 99,999 of these certificates around somewhere. Has anyone else come across one? This one belonged to Mrs Shollick  who was a stalwart of the Gladstone Women's Liberal Association in Southport and active in the Sussex Ward-now part of Norwood Ward. She handed the certificate over to canvassers in about 1975 including Norman K Jones a long time Southport councillor who moved to Cornwall on retirement and actively supported Andrew George. His widow Barbara still lives in the West Country. Norman's father was a leading Methodist Minister in Southport. 

The Gladstone Women's Liberal Association continued to flourish well into the the 1960's and held a weekly Whist Drive. I have their account books for the period 1960-1968 and I can reveal that in this month in 1960 they held four Whist Drives and raised £3.7s 0d as well as collecting £1. 1s 0d in subscriptions (surely that should read 1 guinea). In the same period they paid out £2. 4s 0p in prizes and for 11/6d paid for a share of a teapot-some tea pot!

The Liberal Party had 're-united' in the 1923 General Election, the so called Free Trade election, under Asquith. In Southport Sir John Brunner (junior) won the Southport seat for the Liberals. I once met his agent whilst canvassing! The Liberal Summer Schools were at their height with Beveridge, Keynes, Ramsey Muir, E.D.Simon and the  redoubtable Margery Corbett Ashley -a   leading campaigner for women's suffrage who went on to help found the Townswomen Guild and stood several times for Parliament-were in the vanguard.The following year,1928, the Yellow Book -Britain's Industrial Future was published. This formed the heart of the most progressive manifesto at the 1929 General Election. The shorter version was called; 'We Can Conquer Unemployment.' It's two key themes were the restructuring of industry on the principle of partnership and secondly the belief that central government cannot and should not try to control every aspect of policy. There is still much to achieve. 
I think the policy items picked out in the Certificate are of interest-Temperance, Land Reform. the League of Nations, Disarmament, Equal Laws for Men and Women and Progressive Local Government-whatever that is?
Thanks to Michael Braham who was in that canvassing team with Norman Jones for lending the certificate to the Birkdale blog 


  1. I have one signed by my husbands Grandfather in 1928. Was this the birth of the Liberal Party? Sadly the issues on the wish list around the border have in some ways become worse rather than better. The fact that they are there at all shows amazing foresight.

  2. Hi, The Liberal Party was established one hundred and fifty seven years ago, on the 6 June 1859, at Willis Rooms in St James, Westminster, Radical, Peelite and Whig Members of Parliament met to formalise their Parliamentary coalition to oust the Conservative government and finally brought about the formation of the Liberal Party. More information at: http://www.liberalhistory.org.uk/events/the-strange-birth-of-liberal-england/

    This initiative was part of the 're-unification' of the party after it split during the first world war and led up to the 1929 election fought on the manifesto 'We can conquer unemployment' This was the most radical document placed before the electorate and was based upon the ideas of the Liberal economist Maynard Keynes. When I say radical I mean that in the sense of progressive not the extreme right wing position taken up by some market fundamentalists.


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