10 great liberals everyone in Wales should know about
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Will there be a list of Liberal women too?
Interesting note on Thomas Gee.
I welcome the educating article …. some of these liberals were great advocates against aristocracy and for land reform. For that I must salute them … however there were some unsavory links between Lloyd George and Hitler: https://lloydgeorgesociety.org.uk/en/article/2008/0130361/lloyd-george-and-hitler It is a shame Lloyd George also turned his back on the Welsh movement simply because his ego was hurt after Newport’s merchants laughed at him in a meeting. *Nick Clegg does not deserve to be on there … – Yes, I did actually lend him a vote to get voting reform which I admire – but he was originally part of… Read more »
Nick Clegg was not a member of the Young Conservatives – that was a rumour during the 2010 election. It was utter fiction.
It doesn’t seem to be fiction:
“Conservative MP Greg Hands has a record of CUCA members for 1986-1987, and Clegg’s name appears on the list”.
“There was only one ‘N Clegg’ at Robinson College”.
I’m sure Wikipedia would welcome a more informed update.
CUCA is Cambridge University Conservative Association, btw.
I went to Cambridge and went to CUCA. And my list was on there At least twice, and?
Does wanting to hear their points of views directly, to talk to them and consider their side of the story make someone a bad person?
There is no good and evil. People are individuals.
Labelling Hywel Dda as a liberal is pushing the boat too far…….It is far too back in history to label people then as “liberal/communist/socialist/ fascist” in the modern sense.
Maybe Hywel was a proto-liberal … but his other policies of making sure all starving people were fed, could also be described as state socialist or community communism (remember communism is anti-state though)
Thought-provoking piece. A few observations:- 1. A similar article could have been written 150 years by a Welsh equivalent of the great English historian William Stubbs, who drew a straight line from the Teutonic (English) invasions in the 5th century and the Tudors a millennium later — and by extension, the British Empire and Victorian constitution of his own time! I find it very difficult to connect the thinking and values of Hywel Dda with Michael D. Jones and Nick Clegg, on a common path towards a free, democratic and sovereign Wales. 2. Whilst there have been individuals in Brit… Read more »
Nick Clegg does not favour Catalunya’s independence, for as far as I know from what Ive read he views it as he views Scottish independence: a form of hatred and isolationsism. Which is where, after a great deal of agreement, he and I diverge.
When we abandon ideologies we can admire those we disagree with by seeing instead what we agree upon.
Some good stuff, Benj, but there’s more elastic in there than Hattie Jaques underthingies (God bless her, she was the business).
Suprised you didn’t include L. Georges pension, which should have been the grounding.
Wholeheartedly agree with your last comment. Just uneasy about presenting an ideology fundamentally based on Brit Liberalism as a more attractive alternative to Labour/Socialism. What we need is to step away from constraints of abstract ideology and tribal tags to pursue pragmatic policies that are clearly in the best interests of our country and communities.
What a load of rubbish! Have you ever been to Glynebwy? Have you ever been to Dudley in Birmingham? Go and spit in the face of people, you insult the poor! And you are trying to say Wales is not SOCIALIST! Who flew the red flag first, and who got us our ASSEMBLY SENEDD! No one cares about the 19th century and your Victorian Empire. The British Empire, part of Wales?!?!? Hywel Dda was a socialist, we all know it. And who are you, I don’t see any Liberals in Wales? And a Liberal Plaid Cymru, are you drinking absinthe?… Read more »
Laws in regard to women and inheritance in Cyfraith Hywel state that a woman was entitled to a different portion of land on divorce depending on her “status” by birth. Doesn’t sound very Socialist… A further note… Wales is not Socialist. Majority of people don’t really have a political alignment – they vote Labour because other family members did, because we on large are impoverished and also because we don’t like the Conservative Party – its the logical vote considering our current situation is what I mean. If the economic situation in Wales changed how many people in Wales would… Read more »
I hope you were able to rise above this woman’s verbal rampage, Benjamin. You have made valuable contributions to this site in the past, and were deserving of a more civil response. I would have presented your arguments differently. Since the Liberal Party were not formed until the 1850s, I would have looked at their record in defending Wales’s special interests and promoting home rule or independence since that time. From that perspective, their record from the mid-Nineteenth Century to the 1920s was commendable. The link with nonconformity indeed gave a political colouration, and a huge boost, to preserving the… Read more »
@Y Ferch … “This is a socialist country” ??? Just because we may will it does not make it so. Fundamentally, and irrespective of the will of the Welsh people, we are a Tory country.
All the key levers controlling economic and fiscal policy, and our natural resources, are ruled by a Tory government in Westminster. And the Labour Party are complicit in that by their response to the Silk Commission recommendations, which would indeed have seen significantly more power flowing to a Labour government in Wales.
Thanks an interesting piece which was worth reading. It is unfortunate that the present day liberals have given up on liberalism, had they not, they might have had a future. There is a need for a new party in Wales, something to push for Wales’ interests, her Independence, and eschewing the authoritarian, dependency model of Labour and ‘Labour Lite’ (Plaid Cymru)
It is a shame that we only have a British nationalist Liberal party available to us in Wales, and one which is more neo-liberal than classically liberal at that. To that end, I find myself gravitating towards Plaid.
A new (Welsh) Liberal party, free from the ills surrounding the Brit nat Lib-Dems would, in my opinion, be quite successful in drawing support from both Plaid and Labour.
Liberal Wales is in the Doldrums.
I’ll read through in more detail and perhaps comment later, but first: huge kudos for quoting Rosaria Butterfield, who is something of a heroine of mine.
The list started off well
There’s a great deal of anachronism here. Making Hywel Dda a liberal is too big a stretch for any historian, and if you take the route of simply looking at the ideas that they held, then many of these could equally be described as socialists or nationalists. And in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the ideas of ‘New Liberalism’ were a great deal closer to contemporary left-wing ideas than to the austerity economics enabled by Clegg. Indeed, had Clegg been more influenced by Lloyd George, Keynes and Beveridge then he would not have had the paucity of economic… Read more »
Thanks for this. But…
1) Where are the women?
2) Gwynoro Jones?!?!? Yes he won 2 elections, but come on this must be a wind up?
Ten men and the only woman gets a single solitary sentence. Are there no female liberals in existence or do you just not think them important?
Yes they are important, and that’s why I’m taking the time to answer you directly at length. It is demographics and history which has made so many Liberal leaders male, and no prejudice whatsoever. After WW1, they were decimated, and gradually pushed to the Celtic Fringe, which socially being more conservative produced fewer female leaders. Yes, there was Megan Lloyd George as someone noted above, the MP for Bath is a Liberal woman and a German, and while the leader of the Welsh Lib Dems is currently a woman she’s not been around long enough for me to include her… Read more »
Ah, I see now. I was drawn into the whole “British” thing, but you were Wales specific, but I still think that Lloyd George’s pension was the greatest thing
apart from slavery abolition of course. Thanks anyway!
OK, I’m going to address the gender imbalance by naming another Liberal who had a huge positive effect on Wales, and was very popular here, despite not being Welsh. If Paddy Ashdown and Nick Clegg deserve to be on the list, then she does far more so. Margaret Thatcher. Yes, that’s right; I know that she stood for the Conservative Party; but the Conservative Party before her and after her has borne so little resemblance to her that it should be obvious that she was never really one of them. It’s not just me who thinks so either – the… Read more »
A lovely post and an interesting one. I’m not overly versed in deep liberal political history, but I see divergence in policies of those of left leaning political parties. Its not helped our overall politics to see Liberalism decline. This Party has undoubtedly contributed to the rich political history of Wales and Britain. I suspect the FPTP voting and much discredited as a pure form of selecting MPs, continues to play a part in limiting it’s past success and continues to do so. But as the saying goes ‘ do the Maths’. I do hope a better, fairer voting practice… Read more »
GJH, may I say regards voting practice, this business of voting on Thursday (a remnant of market days in the past) be transferred to Sundays
as in many other countries?
Now then at least this idea of Sunday voting feels like a ray of sunshine to the promotion of greater attendances at the booth. It would not compromise or prevent attendances at church etc.. A consideration once of Sunday opening both of pubs and then retailing. But voters turning up to local booth is an anarchism in itself. There doesn’t seem to be a safe way to allow electronic voting. I’m a postal voter so I slip under the radar here. So much easier, a voting practice over a cup of coffee and armchair. Funny how I now vote on… Read more »
When I go to vote here (Finland) in the local elections, I am checked on the list then given a card. Inside the card is a circle. On the wall of the booth is a list, say 1 to 250 of candidates, the first 10 may be greens, the 10 to 15 cons. and so on. You write one number of choice in the circle with a pencil, a biro is also there if you don’t trust ’em! Ha. Take it to another table and the person stamps it, lifts the cardboard away from the slot, and you pop it… Read more »
There have not been many recent posts that have brought a smile, but JR, this brought a much needed lift to my spirits , more than a cup of hot chocolate ( my wife’s favourite ), and mine a Latte. Thank you!
So you start by saying you cannot interpret the politics of historical figures through a modern lense. There enough… And then you call Hywell DDa a liberal, examine his actions through a modern lense, and basically go ‘no its fine if i do it’ so liberalism.txt. This point was the least terrible in the whole article. Like, you are literally telling us to respect Clegg. To look up to him. Austerity has murdered countless thousands of our people, and we’re to kiss the shoes of the man who enabled this? Suck his dick because it could have been worse? Are… Read more »
Liberalism does not work properly when there is such massive unequal and uneven starting positions as we see today…and you can not blame that on Labour dependency…..vast inequality been around since the feudalist days – the only saving grace has been technological advance and the sacrifices of many workers fighting the status quo!
Dynion I gyd. Blessings mae’r menywod?
I did smile at the post from Wrexhamian that included ” the Senedd is in the position of a child that is allowed to go to the shop and not allowed to cross the road” . I’m in a reflective mood to both its lovely analogy, better than a large dissertation, and it’s deeper meaning . I did wonder Wrexhamian, if you ever thought that in desperation, and in sight of , yet frustrated, to seek either a Zebra crossing (old vernacular) might be green man now, or a footbridge that could solve this dilemma. I think we have tried… Read more »
Duw! I wish my analogy carried a much weight as you ascribe to it, Graham. The shop is actually (in my head) on the same side of the road as the little boy (let’s call him — plucking any old name out of the air — Carwyn, or Andrew, or, in the interests of gender equality, Leanne). He can go to the shop, but he’s not allowed to cross the road where all the good, life-giving stuff is sold in the better shops, because he’ll get a smacked bottom from the grown-ups in Westminster. With a few notable exceptions regarding… Read more »
I do think it gets better. I can see them in short trousers, with rosey cheeks, and fishing rods to catch tiddlers.
But only catch colds. Long live the innocence of childhood and pocket money! Time for adults!
Hywel Dda a liberal – duw a’n helpo. The concept didn’t exist at that time. He was a moderately successful warlord who had some sort of deal with Alfred a king of Wessex. Perhaps/probably hywel set up a commission (to use a modern term) to unify the laws used in Cymru (and possibly elsewhere in Britain – Galanas had entered medieval Scots law). Hywel may have been learned or enlightened. It was the laws that reflected our values at the time that can be seen as liberal in our age. Modern liberals are human rights deniers: nic leggu voted with… Read more »
Is there a difference between Liberal principles of its origin and latter day politicians who break the code.
Two points 1) Most of us identify with values that are loosely Liberal. The problem we all face is finding a political movement which not only embodies such values but also – more important – can give us practical political power. Yes this might not mean getting a majority, but it does require a truly significant political presence. In my own case, when I lived in England I could and did realistically vote Liberal. Still just about worth doing so in England. But not in Wales. They blew it over the Rainbow Coalition to keep Labour out of power in… Read more »