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Title: The grass roots organisation of the Liberal Party, 1945-64
Author: Egan, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0001 3441 7734
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2000
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Studies of the survival and revival of the Liberal Party after 1945 have focused on the Party's strength in the UK's Celtic fringe, its efficacy as a vehicle for protest voting, and the role played by the Party's leaders, particularly Jo Grimond. The reasons why the Liberal Party's constituency associations continued in being and activists continued to be recruited to the Party after a series of disastrous general election results, and the factors explaining the Party's revival in local government have, so far, been overlooked. This thesis draws on a number of new sources of information, including the records of Liberal constituency and district associations and interviews with ordinary Liberal activists from the 1945-64 period, to provide new perspectives on the survival and revival of the Party. It shows how the independence and self-sufficiency of Liberal associations, the recruitment of Liberal activists during the 1945-50 period, and the Party's strength in local government in Yorkshire and north west England were important reasons for the Party's survival. A new wave of recruitment after 1955, inspired by the leadership ofGrimond and the new policies he and others devised and popularised, facilitated the Liberal revival, but a key factor previously unidentified was the development of early forms of community politics by Liberal activists in a number of towns and cities in England and Scotland. Decisions by activists to concentrate on local elections led to an explosion in the number of Liberal councillors, particularly in suburban areas, and drew more activists into the Party. This change in the Party's strategy, which has influenced the development of Liberal politics since 1964, was derived from grass-roots activists rather than the Liberal leadership, although the Party's Local Government Department had an important role to play after 1960.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Jo Grimond; Associations; Activists; Leadership