The modern Liberal Party has already attracted a wealth of historical attention. Granted that the last purely Liberal government came to an end as long ago as 1915, that attraction might fairly be deemed excessive. In the twentieth century as a whole, the Liberals could claim nothing better than a poor third place in terms of electoral success, significantly behind their Conservative and Labour rivals. Yet the lack of Liberal success at the polls proved no barrier to continuing historical curiosity. Indeed, it was the party’s decline rather than its brief exercise of power that acted as a magnet to academic investigation.
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