Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Henley's last Liberal MP

My apologies to Stephen Kearney and the team, but I haven't made it to Henley. I feel bad about it, but both events and prior commitments meant I never quite got there.

So I will keep my fingers crossed for a Lib Dem victory tomorrow. Stephen clearly has an interesting background, having been head of an international development charity and lived on a houseboat.

However, he will have to go some to cut as colourful a character as Henley's last Liberal MP, Phillip Morrell, who represented South Oxfordshire between 1906 and 1910. He and his wife Lady Ottoline had a notoriously 'open' marriage - he fathered illegitimate children, while Bertrand Russell was merely the best-known of her lovers. They befriended and encouraged various writers and artists from TS Eliot to Virginia Woolf and their home at Garsington Manor was a kind of unofficial refuge for artistic conscientious objectors during the first world war.

Aldous Huxley's novel Crome Yellow is reputedly a thinly-veiled portrayal of the Morrell menage.

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