I’ve become the custodian, on behalf of the Liberal Democrat History Group, of a great treasure trove of interviews with party figures. Adrian Slade carried out all the interviews and here he explains their background:
Since 2004 the Journal of Liberal History has been the guardian of what, although I say it myself, is now becoming a uniquely interesting party archive – a set of CDs and audio-cassette tapes of in-depth interviews I have conducted with leading Liberal Democrats of the last decade. The collection spans the years 2002-2011 and each interview is now available for listening from the Journal Archive.
The collection includes the very last media interview given by Roy Jenkins, the very first UK interview given by Paddy Ashdown after his return from four years in Bosnia, interviews with the Federal Party Presidents and Welsh and Scottish leaders and London Mayoral candidates of the past ten years and, most recently, interviews with Nick Clegg and all the Liberal Democrat Secretaries or Ministers of State in the Coalition Government. I have also retained separately from this Archive taped interviews with all the new Liberal Democrat MPs of the 2005 and 2010 intakes.
In the summer of 2002 when, for my own interest, I interviewed former Liberal leadership contender John Pardoe, I never thought that this would become the first in a nine-year series of similar talks with other significant Liberal Democrats. Before 2002 the party had had no spoken record of how its leading members viewed their political past, their earlier party experiences, the more dramatic events that shaped their political lives or their current views of the party and its prospects.
All my write-ups of these interviews have subsequently been published in the Journal or Liberal Democrat News but inevitably they are in abbreviated form. Only the Journal Archive has the full, unexpurgated, recorded versions.
The list features all the most familiar Liberal Democrat names in today’s party, but there is also an interview with one significant name from the past, Ludovic Kennedy, and a 2006 interview with a beleaguered Russian Liberal, Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of Yablokov, the Russian Democratic Party, who addressed the Liberal Democrat Conference of 2006.
Now many of the original earlier recordings have been transferred from tape to CD and the Archive has been substantially expanded, exclusively on CD, to include more interviews conducted between 2006 and 2011. Readers of the Journal or any others interested can, for example, now listen on CD to any or all of the recordings of my 2011 interviews with the Liberal Democrat Secretaries and Ministers of State in the Coalition or my three full-length interviews with Nick Clegg in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
For a unique insight into the thoughts and motivations of all those above, enthusiasts for Liberal/Liberal Democrat History may now borrow these CDs and tapes from the Journal, to copy and listen to at home (subject to certain conditions) for a token fee of £3 per CD or £2 per tape. If you are interested, ask Mark Pack for a copy of the full interview list, summary content details, conditions of use and application form.
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2012: The archive now includes Adrian Slade’s most recent interviews, including one with Nick Clegg from earlier in the year.