Wednesday, 23 May 2018

At 60 looking back at the Thorpe years....

The BBC drama on the Jeremy Thorpe scandal. has had the effect of making me reflect on that period of the late 70`s, In those days over forty years ago there was another milleau and paradigm.. Whatever can be said about Thorpe does not take away from the fact he understood proto-Environmentalism, called for the bombing of Rhodesia and thought in challenging ways. He was a long way from the bland Liberal Democrats of today.

I had just been elected Chairperson of the Welsh Young Liberals. It was a difficult election I had begun as the outsider and was facing two other candidates . I stood on a Libertarian Socialist platform andd my main rival was a traditional Liberal from Cardigan and another candidate from Cardiff.

Leighton Andrews our former Minister of Education in Wales pushed the Bangor delegation my way and I narrowly won.I think of other events of the 70`s. Peter Hain`s aquittal on a bank robbery charge in 1975 and at that time we beleived that the South African Secret Service was seeking to destroy the old Liberal party to make Tory victory certain at the next election. We believed the same thing about the Thorpe allegations and some hints from Harold Wilson’s reflections made us more suspicious of intelligence plots. Then I remember a TV programme about infiltration of the Stop the 70s tour by police and intelligence services. And now in ny 60th I still reflect on this role of the state in disrupting the radicals. Even Fred Fitton of the SWP had spent a sort time as Young Liberal at the time of Louis Eaks Chairperson ship of the Young Liberals

I remember Dai Griffiths beating the former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans to become President of Swansea Students union.
I remember a book written by Peter Hain called “ Radical Regeneration” in it he condemns Labour as a hack party. Having lived in his constituency for three years I realised that he was as he describes many faetures of traditional Welsh polutics and I wonder if late at night he reflects upon the things he wrote In chapters 4 and 5. He describes a realignment of the radicals into a new political movement. Looking back nearly forty years I realise that the time has come to see those principles in the Corbynistas. That makes me rave on the hot T6 as it wends it's way to Ystradgynlais.. .... . Take a look you will be surprised. We in Momentum are there in Peter Hain`s book and are looking back at you Peter.....

The Jeremy Thorpe scandal reveals the prejudices and attitudes of the period of over 50 years ago. Thank goodness for Wolfinden and the 60s ...perhaos now we can fulfil its hopes and dreams. As for myself I have finally cone home . I have always been a Libertarian Socialist yet the parties I have belonged to have like the curate's egg have been good in parts..

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