Liberal Party

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Various political parties calling themselves the Liberal Party have existed across time and space, having been most dominant around the late 19th century and in the British Empire. Excluding the Australian version, they all follow the common theme of 'liberalism.' Here are a few of the more notable ones:

Liberal Party of Canada[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberal Party of Canada is presently the governing party in Canada, holding 184 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. They were previously the third-largest party, behind the NDP and the Conservatives.

The party has been responsible for the creation of the welfare program and many other safety net social policies, along with the legalisation of same sex marriage and medical marijuana.

British Liberal Party[edit]

The British version of the Liberal Party formed from the Whig Party in 1859. It was powerful until 1890, and returned for awhile after the 1906 election. It declined in the 20's, being replaced by the Labour Party as the UK's primary leftist party in 1922.

The party hit an electoral nadir in the 1970s, with its number of MPs down to single figures, and a scandal involving party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who allegedly responded to a blackmail attempt by a former gay lover by hiring a hitman to murder the blackmailer. The attempt failed and the former lover's dog got shot instead. Another memorable character in its dwindling roster of MPs from this period was the morbidly obese Cyril Smith, who had a figure not dissimilar to 'walrus of love' Barry White, only without the love. Although he made up for that by sexually abusing teenage boys.[1]

Party fortunes revived somewhat in the early 1980s, when the Liberals (then led by diminutive Scot David Steel) entered into an electoral pact with the new SDP (Social Democratic Party - formed by a bunch of centre-left splitters from the Labour Party). Following the 1987 general election they merged with the SDP to form the Liberal Democrats. A rump Liberal Party continued formed of members who objected to the merger that formed the LibDems.

New Zealand Liberal Party[edit]

Generally considered New Zealand's first political party, they ruled from 1891 to 1911. Like the Canadian party, it was responsible for a number of social programs, including the introduction of pensions and women's suffrage. A remnant of the party eventually merged with their opponents, the Reform Party, in the 1930's to form the National Party, which is presently the ruling, centre right, party.

Liberal Party of Australia[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Liberal Party of Australia

The Liberal Party of Australia is, in the context of the rest of the world's 'liberal' parties, a misnomer: they are against more or less everything that liberals are for except for gun control, which they support.

Their name is explained by having been formed in the 1940's, when liberal meant 'opposed to communism' rather than 'socialist.'

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Cyril Smith child abuse inquiry 'scrapped after his arrest', Nick Hopkins and Jake Morris, BBC, 17 Mar 2015