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Lack of Lib Dem rancour calls to mind a previous 'rancour'

Michael Crick | 17:54 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

There's been much talk today about the lack of "rancour" as Liberal Democrats agonise amongst themselves over how to vote in Thursday's Commons decision on tuition fees.

I can't help wondering if the ghost of Roy Jenkins has appeared?

Lord Jenkins, a former Lib Dem leader in the Lords, and before that leader of the SDP, and a Labour Cabinet minister, had a famous difficulty in not being able to pronounce the letter "R". It often came out as a "W".

In 1976, Jenkins resigned from Parliament to become President of the European Commission, and his Labour colleague David Marquand also resigned his seat to help Jenkins in Brussels.

Jenkins addressed his fellow Labour MPs and tried to tell them he was leaving "without rancour".

Only because of his speech impediment, it didn't quite come out like that. Whereupon, Dennis Skinner shouted out to great laughter: "I though you were taking Marquand with you!"


  • Comment number 1.


  • Comment number 2.

    Certainly a good day to raise the matter of mispronunciations, and highlighting those caused by a physical impediment vs. those deriving from pervasive, institutional, mental ones.

  • Comment number 3.

    Then it only remains to be said that there is much rancour in the country.

    If it was left to your colleague Mr. Naughtie then it would also be accepted that there are a lot of hunts as well.

  • Comment number 4.


    I still think Paddy expects to be recalled from obscurity (how obscure can one man be) to lead the NEW LIBERALS to heroic SAS-style victory.

  • Comment number 5.

    We know what the Today programme does to coalition ministers when they come on the Today programme. The 'accidental'(my foot) changing of 'H' to 'C' marks a new departure I must say. Can't they just shout at them, ask trick questions, and talk over them as usual?

    At some point will the BBC explore the Labour party's position on the Tuition fees vote? No, of course not. Will their presenters ever acknowledge the difference between coalition and single party government? Again no. The objective is to bring the coalition down as soon as possible by fair means or foul, and this week that means they abandon any attempt at impartiality or objectivity and ramp up the pressure on the Lib Dems in the hope of weakening the coalition.

    It's a shame really because I think our younger voters need to reminded of the vote in Westminster that had Blair's New Labour party seeking to introduce university tuition fees in England and Wales. The way in which the vote was won must go down in political history as one of the worst instances of brazen hypocrisy ever.

    In Scotland the Scottish Labour party SMPs had voted against bringing them in in Scotland, and then, the Scottish Labour party MPs voted in favour of it at Westminster allowing the government to scrape through with a narrow majority. I am Scottish by birth and after that episode I felt deeply ashamed of my country. These MPs shouldn't have even been allowed to vote, even if, to their eternal shame, they were actually prepared to do so.

    Also I just wanted to say that the way Paddy Ashdown was treated by an interviewer on BBC News 24 yesterday afternoon was a disgrace. At one stage he was shouting at Lord Ashdown so loud it was like listening to two people in a pub who were about to come to blows. Really, really poor!

    Is Jonathon Woss a relative of Roy Jenkins, sorry Ross?

  • Comment number 6.

    he did say ranguer didn't he? It's so easy to confuse things....

  • Comment number 7.

    Not really, Jonathan Ross also says W instead of R, hence my question. Thus Ross becomes Woss and rancour ends up sounding like that well known anagram of Newark.


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