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Conrad Oct 15

Lots has happened in the last week while I’ve been too busy to blog, but the one thing I must mention is the death yesterday of the 5th Earl Russell.

I met Conrad only a handful of times but knew him enough to feel dwarfed by his intellect. When Conrad was called as the last speaker against the motion in the monarchy debate at party conference last year, I knew the motion would fall. With thirty seconds before my summation to come up with a counter to his points, it took me several days.

Committed to his students as a professor, Conrad took a strong interest in student welfare issues. He was a former vice-president of LDYS and a regular speaker at LDYS fringes at party conference. At the student funding fringes at spring conference in Southport, we shared a few thoughts about the impact of top-up fees on university libraries. As someone who had worked for many years as an academic in the US, he railed against the Government’s attempt to Americanize the student funding system here.

Conrad was the liberal anchor of the Liberal Democrats. Although his hereditary peerage dates back to a Liberal Prime Minister, he was a true liberal in his own right and the party will have a permanent hole at its heart with his passing.

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