[ Lancelot Spicer and Radical Action. ] Two Typed Letters Signed to Mark Bonham Carter, discussing the aims of the group, the resignation of Wilfrid Roberts and a dinner for Sir William Beveridge. With copies of two letters from Bonham Carter.

Lancelot Spicer [ Lancelot Dykes Spicer ] (1893-1979); Mark Bonham Carter, Baron Bonham-Carter (1922-1994) [ Radical Action; The Liberal Action Group ]
Publication details: 
Spicer's first letter: On letterhead of 16 Pelham Place, Kensington. 31 December 1943. Spicer's second letter: On Radical Action letterhead, 346 Abbey House, Victoria Street, London. 17 November 1944.
SKU: 17039

The four items in good condition, on lightly aged and worn paper. ONE: TLS by Spicer, 31 December 1943. 4pp., 12mo. With a couple of minor autograph emendations. A long and wide-ranging letter, discussing the aims of the group (in response to Item Three below). Topics include: 'intellectuals in the Group', whether it is 'disuniting the Party', 'the future of the Party', 'going into opposition', 'the position of the Liberal Party at the next General Election, or at the conclusion of the European War', and whether Radical Action is 'pin-pricking the Parliamentary Party'. At one point Spicer exclaims: 'Would you have Radical Action make decisions as to opinions on the matter of "co-belligerency", "demobilisation policy", "the nationalisation of the mines" or the "Mosley dispute"?' Spicer concludes: 'I am only anxious to see an active Liberal Party. Once we have that, Radical Action can either fade away, or take on the useful but calmer role of the Eighty Club.' TWO: TLS by Spicer, 17 November 1944. 4pp., landscape 8vo. With autograph postscript. Begins by dealing in detail with the resignation of Wilfrid Roberts, beginning: 'No, it is not true that Wilfrid Roberts was asked to resign. What happened is that the Executive Committee felt that his position vis-a-vis Radical Action was becoming somewhat invidious and that he seemed to be out of sympathy with our actions.' Spicer is at pains to deny Bonham Carter's claim that 'the whole thing was done secretively'. Spicer is aware that 'Radical Actioin has come in for censure at various times', and hopes that the days when it was 'suspect of trouble-making are coming to an end'. He describes the 'two aims that at one time seemed to cause most trouble': 'the independence of the Party at the next election' and 'Planning v. Anti-Planning'. The latter has been 'considerably eased with the acceptance of Sir William Beveridge into the Party'. In response to Bonham Carter's claim that the group is 'making itself more and more into a clique, cutting itself off from the main body of the Party', Spicer states that the original 'informal evening' planned by the group for Beveridge and his wife on 2 February 1945 has, with Beveridge's approval, is now planned as a 'formal occasion', to which Spicer now intends to ask Bonham Carter's mother, 'as our new President of the L.P.O. and Percy Harris representing theh Parliamentary Party'. THREE: Typed copy of Bonham Carter's letter to which Item One is the reply. 1p., 4to. Written following the 'disccusion on Thursday', which he found 'rather disturbing [...] As far as I could gather from conversation at the dinner the Action Group believes that the party should go into opposition. [...] Mr. Churchill whatever his faults is the only Englishman who means anything abroad today - and luckily he means a lot. I remember last year just before Alamein the Action Group complaining of a lack of concerted strategy - I feel that the present attitude is almost ridiculous.' He objects to 'this policy of continual pinpricks at the Parliamentary Party (the members of which have at least got into the House)'. FOUR: Autograph copy of letter from Bonham Carter to Spicer. On letterhead of Victoria Barracks, Windsor. 1 February 1944. 10pp., 12mo. Discussing Britain's foreign policy and her place /among the allies, with reference to 'our behaviour towards Spain' and the 'dismissal of Torres from the BBC'. 'Jingoism is no longer a danger in this country - in fact the reverse is true. In this war - morally this country has the best record of any of the united nations [...] alone of the allies we represent the European tradition. Some say that we are fighting the war for improved social conditions - it seems to me a very roundabout & bloody way of passing Acts of Parliament'.