Thursday, 2 August 2012

Modern Lib Dem heroes: Lord Bonkers

This is the second in my fairly randomly spaced series of articles about people who I consider to be modern day heroes of the Lib Dems. And today I'm talking about Lord Bonkers, Liberal MP for Rutland South-West between 1906 and 1910, and sole survivor of the 1906 landslide which swept the Liberal party into power.


Lord Bonkers of Bonkers Hall

Lord Bonkers is also, sadly, fictional and was invented by Jonathan Calder. The noble lord's main job is as the diarist for the radical liberal periodical the Liberator but is also notable for running against Bill Rodgers to be leader of the Lib Dems in the House of Lords under the memorable slogan of "Don't be plonkers, vote for Bonkers."


The reason why he's a Liberal hero of mine, despite not being real, is because he represents something that the Lib Dems do better than anyone else in politics - having a sense of humour and being willing to make fun of ourselves. To that end, the remainder of this article will consist of  three of my favourite quotes from the noble lord.
On Labour: “By all means let us talk with the New Party where we agree with it; where we do not let us continue to indulge in acts of random violence.” 
On Europe: “People ask me if I believe in Europe. Believe in it? I've been there!"
On Lib Dem peers: “Shirley Williams is a very popular politician. In fact she must be the most popular politician to be defeated in three consecutive general elections. And Tom McNally used to be Jim Callaghan's adviser. When you remember what happened to his government you realise what good advice it must have been.”
He is also the author of the following books:

An End to War (1914),The Coming Propserity (1929), Edward the Great: Our New King (1936), An End to War - second edition (1939), The Death of Socialism (1944), The Death of Conservatism (1950), Jo Grimond: Our Next Prime Minister (1963), Jeremy Thorpe: Our Next Prime Minister (1969), David Steel (1982), Paddy Ashplant: Our Next Prime Minister (1996), Charles Kennedy: Our Next Prime Minister (2001)

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