History

Leadership runners and riders, 1984 version

Probably the most famous, even infamous, version of Liberator magazine came out during 1984. With Liberal Party leader David Steel coming to the end of a long sabbatical as party leader, Liberator speculated that it was time for him to go and produced this pointed round-up of the strengths and weaknesses of possible successors.

The appearance of the piece enraged Steel, though reading it now it seems pretty tame compared to the sort of speculation all leaders are regularly subjected to. Even the waspish comments about some of the MPs are fairly kind compared to what passes for much of political commentary (in both online comments and more traditional comment pages).

Should Steel go? - Liberator magazine

Click on the image for a larger version

Thank you to Mark Smulian for providing me with a bumper set of missing back issues, including this one, a few years back.

3 responses to “Leadership runners and riders, 1984 version”

  1. I wonder how different the merger process in 1987-88 would have been with another leader. David Steel, who should have been actively leading the Liberal Party side in the negotiations, was by all accounts just letting things happen, and accepting whatever was offered. The result was an agreement that many Liberals (and not a few SDP) were unhappy with, and which had to be resolved over the following year or two by constitutional and policy changes. During which many left the new party, and it spent a year worrying about internal issues instead of campaigning to win against the other parties.
    Ideally, the merger would have been earlier, thus avoiding the “joint leader” fiasco in the 1987 General Election, in which the press exploited the “two Davids” leadership by getting David Steel and David Owen to give quite different answers to the same questions. But that probably needed a different leader for the SDP too …

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