Dick Taverne

  • Memoirs by Jo Grimond
    Heinemann, 316 pp, £7.95, October 1980, ISBN 0 434 30600 2

As Leader of the Liberal Party, Jo Grimond was stimulating, charming, full of flashes of insight, and often irritating. His memoirs, which are only partly about politics and otherwise consist of a leisurely amble through life in his constituency and with his family and friends, have much the same qualities. They are utterly unpretentious: ‘Not a contribution to serious history,’ he tells us, ‘but a series of footnotes to things and people as I saw them.’ They are often funny and witty, never dull. But when he writes of historic events in which he played a part, or of his hopes for a realignment in British politics, or of the issues which he feels the major parties had neglected, the record is brief, almost perfunctory, and ideas are somewhat haphazardly picked up and quickly put down again, as if it would be tedious for himself or for the reader to examine them at any great length or in any depth.

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