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Cymdeithas Lloyd George - Lloyd George Society

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Liberal weekend schools of 1970s recalled

February 22, 2008 5:21 PM

Davies book coverGeraint Talfan Davies is the Chairman of the Institute of Welsh Affairs. He has a distinguished CV, showing how close he has been over the years to the heart of Welsh public life. He was Chairman of Welsh National Opera and former Chairman of the Arts Council of Wales (2003-2006) and Controller of BBC Wales (1990-2000). He is also a board member of the Wales Millennium Centre, a non-executive director of Glas Cymru Cyf (Welsh Water), and a trustee of the Media Standards Trust.

Now he has written a book, "At Arms Length" published by Seren in which he recalls political life in Wales over 40 years. The Society's attention was drawn to a passage in the book, as reported on the website icWales (the site powered by the Western Mail and the South Wales Echo amongst other news outlets). The article gives Davies' memories of the political parties over the years and his recollections of the Liberals take us back to the time of the first Welsh Liberal Weekend Schools, the predecessor organisation to the Lloyd George Society.

'The Liberal Party of Wales, though occasionally frequenting Llandrindod, was more at home deeper in the Cambrian Mountains in a hotel that had seen better days at Llanwrtyd. Largely untroubled by power, it preferred to hold "Liberal weekends" that required rather less organisation and money, both of which the party lacked.

They resembled a large house party, with guests including junior academics, an assortment of London Welsh, an overseas speaker to add breadth, and a relative of Lloyd George. The two MPs, Geraint Howells and Emlyn Hooson, a farmer and lawyer respectively, were as different as the constituencies they represented, canny Ceredigion and lush Montgomery. The party seemed blessed with pianists, leading to much singing of the first verses of various Welsh hymns and, rather surprisingly, choruses from Gilbert and Sullivan. Policy discussion was earnest but diffuse'.

Sound familiar at all?

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