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'THE YOUNG UPSTART': DR. E. RODERIC BOWEN (1913-2001) The Liberal hegemony in Cardiganshire was a phenomenon nigh on unique in Welsh, perhaps even in British, political life, stretching back to 1880 and somehow reinforced and reinvigorated by the deep-rooted, ven- omous schism in Liberal ranks which poisoned local political life in the early 1920s and created a strange homespun dynamism which helped to delay the rise of the Labour Party in the county. No Labour candidate was ever to face the Cardiganshire electorate until the 'doctor's mandate' general election of October 1931 held swiftly upon the heels of the formation of the so-called 'national government'. I The 'sacred trust' of the county's Liberal inheri- tance found stalwart guardians in Rhys Hopkin Morris, a highly principled, avidly independent Liberal, with notable nonconformist antecedents, a bar- rister by profession, who represented the county in parliament from 1923 until his appointment as a metropolitan magistrate in the summer of 1932, and in his successor D. O. Evans, yet another barrister and a native of Llangrannog, who polled a majority of 5,761 votes over Labour in November 1935. Thereafter no parliamentary election took place for nigh on a full decade because of the 1939-45 war, while inevitably the build up of interna- tional tensions in the late 1930s and subsequent course of World War Two occasioned a greater local awareness of national events and Westminster pol- itics.2 The Cardiganshire Liberal Association did not convene a single meet- ing between October 1939 and October 1943 when it resolved its total sup- port for the allied war effort 'with inflexible determination until it ends in total victory over the Axis Powers and the liberation of the enslaved peo- ples'. The same meeting, looking to the conclusion of hostilities, called upon the government to prepare a system of domestic social security and to imple- ment the proposals of the Beveridge Report. D. O. Evans referred to his sup- port for the introduction of military conscription a decision which caused him sleepless nights, but he believed it was the only method to secure degree of equality of sacrifice and treatment of all citizens of all classes (applause).'3 The county's local Liberal associations, too, had fallen into decay, and in December 1944 the Association's anxious secretary referred to 'the political apathy in the county after nine years without an election'.4 As the allied victory seemed assured, and the restoration of peace imminent, in the spring of 1945, the local Liberal machine sprang to life determined 'to rally the electors'.5 One fillip to do so was the recent dramatic upsurge in the fortunes of the Cardiganshire Labour Party during the war years. By the spring of 1945 the county Labour Party had more than 600 members, thirteen branches, had affiliated local trades union branches, and had appointed an