Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Remembering Viv Bingham

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 6th March, 2012

Viv Bingham, President of the Liberal Party 1981-1982, who has died, was one of those politicians who never quite made it, in the sense of succeeding in getting elected . He tried often enough, standing for Parliament in Heywood and Royston (February and October 1964), Hazel Grove (1979), Derbyshire West (1983) and Stalybridge and Hyde (2005). He also had a stab at the European Parliament in 1979. In the days of the old Liberal Party Council, he was often a thorn in the leadership’s side and at later Liberal Democrat conferences he often found his natural allies among the young. He was granted an OBE in recognition of his political activities but never got the peerage he felt he richly deserved, having toiled away for decades in furthering the Liberal and Liberal Democrat cause. Despite his eye on the ermine and his experience in the business world, he was remarkably unstuffy and saw himself very much on the Left of British politics, actively supporting CND. Viv summed up his passion for Liberalism in one word: Freedom, and he raged against injustice. He could at times be a charicature of a gruff Northerner and at others the total gentleman, rooted in family and community, but with a non-Conformist compassion that embraced the whole of humanity.

RIP Vivian (Viv) Bingham 1932-2012


6 Responses to “Remembering Viv Bingham”

  1. Jessica Newton said

    Thank you for this tribute to my late father, Viv Bingham. Both my sister and I have been very touched, and a little overwhelmed, by the kind words and sentiments already expressed by so many. Jessica Newton, nee Bingham.

    • Jessica, I have been trying to get an address for you so that I could write a proper letter.- I’m of Viv’s generation – even if a bit younger. I loved your Dad!! he was fun, he was wise, and always a loyal friend. I last spoke to him (on the phone) when Liz Rorison died – I knew that he had been a great support to her – because Liz and I spoke regularly and she always talked of how supportive he was to her. Even when his own health wasn’t so great he thought of others. We go back a long way – I was on Party Council Committee when he was President and I like to think that we were friends from that time on. He was so proud of “His Girls” and always talked of you – family was most important – I think almost more important than banning the bomb and Liberalism!. I shall always remember Viv smiling to greet me at Conference as though we’d only seen each other yesterday, and his memory will always make me smile..
      My sincere condolences to you , your sister and the family. Valerie Silbiger

  2. Paddy Ashdown said

    Jane and I have just returned from a spell abroad to hear this terrible news. he was a GREAT Liberal and a great servant of the Party, but most of all he was a great friend. For me at least Conference will not be the same without him. jane and I are terribly sad at this loss and send our love, thoughts best wishes and condolences to his family.

    Thank you Jonathan for this splendid and just tribute. We have lost a doughty and utterly fearless fighter for our cause.

    Paddy and Jane Ashdown

  3. roger roberts said

    Conferences will never be the same with out Viv there
    He was always an inspiration to many that went not only in the debates but also in the Glee Club.
    He epotomised the Liberal values and will be sorely missed
    Roger Roberts

  4. I just want to add that Viv was hugely supportive of colleagues and younger – well compared with him – candidates, and he was always great fun to be with. What the above does not record is his serious business career at the highest levels in the Co-op

  5. Kathy Ludlow said

    I have only just seen this very sad news, on the anniversary of my sister Liz Rorison’s death. I did know he hadn’t been well, but had been perked up by the birth of his latest grandchild. Liz talked a lot about Viv, and was always cheered up by their numerous phone conversations when she could no longer engage with LibDem events. I was most grateful that Viv agreed to give a reading from Milton’s “Areopagitica” at her funeral, as Liz had requested this in her ‘List of Wishes”. My condolences, belatedly, go to Katy, Jessica and their families.

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