Farewell, Orpington Man

I was sad to read of the passing of Lord Avebury, the central figure in a night that rocked British politics over a half century ago when he was known as Eric Lubbock:

I had the pleasure to work with Lord Avebury (Lubbock adopted his hereditary title after he left the House of Commons) on a Parliamentary bill and he had the same delightful, impish smile today as he displayed in the newsreel.

A great deal of political analysis was inspired by Lubbock’s upset victory, with many sociological theories put forth about the emergence of a new kind of suburban voter (The “Orpington Man”) who would leave the Tory party of MacMillan and make the Liberals dominant once more. None of these theories panned out for the Liberals, so perhaps Lord Avebury’s simpler explanation for his Orpington triumph is closer to the truth:

It was bitterly cold during the March of 1962, and the Conservative candidate spent most of the campaign sitting in a heated caravan, which didn’t go down too well on the doorstep. In contrast, we were out in all weathers.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.