From: John M Collins, Alwoodley, Leeds.
ALAN McGauley (The Yorkshire Post, May 20) asserts that the Liberals lost votes in the 1940s and 1950s because their leader Clement Davies, “moved the party to the right”. I was an active member of the Liberal Party and knew Clement Davies and his successors Jo Grimond and Jeremy Thorpe. I can therefore say with some knowledge that what he writes is simply untrue.
Clement Davies was an old-fashioned liberal, but he led a party which was radical. Back in 1950 the Liberals campaigned for abolition of a hereditary House of Lords, equality of pay for men and women, and many other radical policies. They did not fail because their policies were right wing, but because they simply did not have the financial resources of Labour or the Conservatives. So in 1951 and 1955 they were able to put up only a limited number of candidates. But even in 1955, before Clement Davies retired, the Liberal vote was beginning to grow. And, as they gained successes in by-elections, they were able to build the foundations of their successes in recent years.
Their success in 2005 was largely due to their courage in opposing the Iraq war. In 2010, although Nick Clegg won the debate, that was not translated into additional seats.
When David Cameron offered a coalition, Nick Clegg had a terrible decision to make. A coalition with Labour would not produce a majority. So he either had to accept Cameron’s offer or stay independent and leave a minority Conservative Government to face an exceptionally grave financial crisis. To his credit and that of the Lib Dems, knowing it would lead to a great loss of votes, in the interest of this country, he accepted the offer.
Despite their defeat in the last election, people know that the Lib Dems represent a force of essential decency in this country.
From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.
THERE seems to be a lot of jumping on the grave of the Lib Dems. This is a pity because the party did right by the country in stepping in to form a coalition which was the only viable option at the time. I would make one point.
Why do parties with no chance of gaining power insist on fielding candidates in virtually every seat? The Lib Dems lost 260 deposits and granted that some candidates may have paid these, it seems a shocking waste of money. The party would be well advised to be a bit more selective until they have rebuilt some support.