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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Right Honourable
 Joseph Grimond
 Baron Grimond, CH, CBE, PC

In office
12 May 1976 – 7 July 1976
Preceded by Jeremy Thorpe
Succeeded by David Steel
In office
5 November 1956 – 17 January 1967
Preceded by Clement Davies
Succeeded by Jeremy Thorpe

Born 29 July 1913
Fife, Scotland, UK
Died 24 October 1993 (aged 80)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Political party Liberal Party

Joseph "Jo" Grimond, Baron Grimond CH, CBE, PC (29 July 1913 – 24 October 1993) was a British politician, leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967 and again briefly in 1976.


Early life

Grimond was born in St Andrews in Fife and was educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford. He became a barrister, and in 1938 married Laura Bonham Carter, a granddaughter of former Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith, and aunt to actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Member of Parliament

After service in World War II, he entered Parliament in the 1950 general election as Liberal Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland, in Scotland, continuing to represent the constituency until he retired from politics in 1983. He was a life-long champion of Scottish devolution, and although he was often wary of the bureaucracy of the European Economic Community (EEC), was an early advocate of the EEC.


Leader of the Liberal Party

Grimond led the party through a difficult period in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The party he inherited commanded barely 2.5% of the vote. A man of considerable personal charm, charisma, and intelligence he was widely respected and inspired trust, and by the end of his tenure the Liberal party was once more a mainstream party. It was during his leadership that the first post-war Liberal revival took place: under Grimond the Liberals doubled their seats and won historic by-elections at Torrington in 1958, Orpington in 1962, and Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles in 1965. In 1967, he made way for a younger, more dynamic leader, Jeremy Thorpe. In 1976, when Thorpe was forced to resign because of a scandal, Grimond stepped in as caretaker leader until the election of a replacement, David Steel.

Among other posts, Grimond was a barrister and publisher in the 1930s, an army major during World War II, Secretary of the National Trust for Scotland from 1947 to 1949, and held the Rectorships of the University of Edinburgh and the University of Aberdeen and the Chancellorship of the University of Kent at Canterbury (elected in 1970). His many books include The Liberal Future (1959, credited with reinvigorating radical liberalism as a coherent modern ideology), The Liberal Challenge (1963), and Memoirs (1979).

Retirement and death

On leaving parliament, he was created a life peer as Baron Grimond, of Firth in the County of Orkney. He remained devoted to his former parliamentary constituency, and was buried on the Orkney Islands.

Personal life

Jo Grimond was survived by his wife Laura. Laura was the wife then widow of a Life Peer, the sister of another Life Peer, the daughter of a Life Peeress, and the great-granddaughter of a hereditary peer of first creation.

He had four children:

  • Grizelda "Gelda" Grimond (born 1942), who had a daughter by the film and stage director Tony Richardson
  • John Grimond, a foreign editor of The Economist who in 1973 married Kate Fleming (b. 1946), elder daughter of the writer Peter Fleming and actress Celia Johnson, and has three children with her. He is the main author of The Economist's style book.[1]
  • Magnus Grimond, journalist and financial correspondent, married to the travel author Laura Grimond (née Raison).
  • Andrew Grimond (born 1939), a sub-editor of The Scotsman, lived in Edinburgh until his suicide at the age of 26.



  • Jo Grimond, The Liberal Future (Faber and Faber, London, 1959)
  • __________, The Liberal Challenge (Hollis and Carter, London, 1963)
  • __________, The Common Welfare (Temple Smith, London, 1978)
  • __________, Memoirs (Heinemann, London, 1979)
  • __________, A Personal Manifesto (Martin Robertson, Oxford, 1983)
  • __________, The St. Andrews of Jo Grimond (Alan Sutton, St. Andrew's, 1992)
  • Jo Grimond and Brian Nevel, The Referendum (Rex Collings, London, 1975)

Grimond was also a prolific writer of pamphlets - see the McManus biography (below) for a complete list of publications.

Further reading

  • Peter Barberis, Liberal Lion: Jo Grimond, A Political Life (I.B. Taurus, London, 2005)
  • Michael McManus, Jo Grimond: Towards the Sound of Gunfire (Birlinn, Edinburgh, 2001)

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Basil Neven-Spence
Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland
Succeeded by
Jim Wallace
Party political offices
Preceded by
Frank Byers
Liberal Chief Whip
Succeeded by
Donald Wade
Preceded by
Clement Davies
Leader of the British Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Jeremy Thorpe
Preceded by
Jeremy Thorpe
Leader of the British Liberal Party
Succeeded by
David Steel
Academic offices
Preceded by
James Robertson Justice
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
James Robertson Justice
Preceded by
Frank George Thomson
Rector of the University of Aberdeen
Succeeded by
Michael Barratt
Preceded by
The Duchess of Kent
Chancellor of the University of Kent
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Horton


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Joseph Grimond, Baron Grimond (July 29, 1913 – October 24, 1993), Leader of the Liberal Party from 1956 to 1967 and Acting Leader in 1976. He was the Member of Parliament for Orkney and Shetland constituency from 1950 to 1983.


  • Our long-term objective is clear: to replace the Labour Party as the progressive wing of politics in this country.
    • November 1953, quoted in Alan Watkins The Liberal Dilemma (Macgibbon and Kee, 1966) p. 91.
  • Neither the Government nor the local authorities make any wealth or have any money of their own. If we want them to spend more and more we have to pay. The remedy is in our hands. Stop running to them asking them to do this, that and everything under the sun - and demand instead that they stop doing and spending so much.
    • February 1957, quoted in Michael McManus Jo Grimond: Towards the Sound of Gunfire (Birlinn, 2001) p. 120.
  • In bygone days, commanders were taught that when in doubt, they should march their troops towards the sound of gunfire. I intend to march my troops towards the sound of gunfire.
    • "Mr. Grimond names 'enemy we march against'", The Times, 16 September 1963, p. 6.
    • At the Liberal Party Assembly, 15 September 1963, indicating his intention that the party become involved in the central debates of British politics.
  • After listening to the debate on unemployment I can see a danger that Liberals lose to the Tories their claim to have new and sensible ideas and are left saying "Me too" to a Socialist conventional wisdom which is failing...The salient need of this country—to produce more and much more efficiently—hardly figured on the agenda.
    • The Sunday Times (19 September, 1976).
  • Why do I—the original advocate of realignment on the Left—object to the Lib-Lab pact? Precisely because I do not think it will lead to realignment. For one thing, the Gaitskellites have fled the field. The Labour Party looks and behaves more and more as the servants of the trade union leaders...When the election comes, either the Labour Party win—and if that happens they will say "Thank you very much" to us and go on with more collectivism—or they lose, and we shall be tarred with their failure...Don't let us become oysters to Carpenter Jim, however genuinely benevolent he may seem.
    • The Daily Mail (26 July, 1977).
  • The root objection to the pact is the nature of the Labour Party. It is not liberal. It is not becoming more liberal. The social democrats remain ineffective, or sneak off, after preaching equality to everyone else, to some of the highest-paid jobs open to the British. As a final spectacle of degradation, they are to be seen intimidating the Grunwick workers...The Labour Party remains without principle, clinging to office, paid by the trades unions, and with an anti-democratic Marxist wing. The pact, I fear, is having no effect on the nature of that party.
    • The Daily Mail (28 November, 1977).
  • 10 per cent inflation is not heaven and the factors are all still there to push it up much further next year. Nor has the Government any policy adequate to deal with unemployment. It is not capitalism that is in crisis. It is Socialism that is in collapse. The faith has vanished. The principles are shattered. It won't do for Liberals merely to say they will put on the brakes. Even if you slow down the Gadarene swine, they will go over the precipice eventually.
    • In The Spectator (21 January, 1978).
  • The state owned monopolies are among the greatest millstones round the neck of the economy...Liberals must stress at all times the virtues of the market, not only for efficiency but to enable the widest possible choice...Much of what Mrs Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph say and do is in the mainstream of liberal philosophy.
    • Jo Grimond, The Future of Liberalism (October, 1980).
  • We should not delude ourselves into thinking that an incomes policy is other than a serious infringement of freedom...Nor have the Liberals explained how it is to be worked, and even if they had, it is certainly not a permanent answer to our economic troubles...At present, the Liberal-Social Democratic Alliance occasionally looks too much like a half-way house on the old road to state socialism. It will spend more than the Tories but rather less than Labour...Such compromises may win votes, but they will not improve the country.
    • In the Journal of Economic Affairs (October, 1981).
  • Now the employer is to be told that if the unions force him to pay exorbitant wages or go out of business if he tries to continue, he will be taxed. The unions will escape any punishment. The employer will not be allowed to increase employment by paying lower wages nor to attract good labour by paying higher wages. We shall have another huge department to supervise the whole incomes policy is minted in the thinking of 1945.
    • In The Spectator (25 September, 1982).
  • The Liberal Party doesn't seem to know in its mind what to do about it—its ostensible view is that the mix of the mixed economy must be left as it is. This seems to be a slightly doubtful proposition...We have to reduce the public sector, the state-run sector, and hand it over to other bodies. The economy is probably unmanageable so long as the state attempts to do so much. The Liberals have not given nearly enough thought to the question of the bureaucracy of the state, what is suitable for the state to run...I personally agree with the SDP line, not with that of the Liberal unilateralists. I want to remain in NATO and I believe that a deterrent is essential and it promotes peace...I would not support unilateral disarmament either on moral or practical grounds.
    • In the Alliance magazine (December/January 1982–3).

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