Tag Archives: SDP

Dick Newby writes….Limehouse at 35

2016-01-20 13.51.09

35 years on from the Limehouse Declaration and the launch of the SDP it’s easy to see the similarities. We have a Labour Party with a very left wing leader pushing ideologically driven policies and zero prospect of winning the next election. And we have a Conservative Party which is pursuing harsh economic policies at home and is split down the middle over the UK’s relationship with the EU.

But if there are similarities with 1981 there are even more differences. Britain is now a very different place socially and economically. It is much more ethnically diverse, particularly in the large cities. It is far less deferential and far fewer people have a strong party loyalty. It is also much more affluent – the average household is now earns twice as much as it did in 1981 – and unemployment and inflation are both much lower.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: What’s in a name ?

 

Having recently finished reading a biography of Charles Kennedy, which covered the merger of the Liberal Party and SDP in detail, I pondered for some time on the controversy surrounding the names and philosophy of political parties.

In the late 1980s the Social and Liberal Democrats or SLD were lampooned as the Salads, the use of the shorter Democrats was unpopular because it omitted the word liberal, so we ended up with the Liberal Democrats – a title that is now long established.

If you look beyond the UK though, the confusion really begins.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 66 Comments

Ukip examined: who they are, what they stand for, and what it all means for British politics

revolt on the right ukipI’ve just finished reading Revolt on the Right, Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin’s fascinating book analysing the rise of Ukip and what makes the party and its voters tick. Mark Pack has already written a very good review for LibDemVoice here. Here’s my take on some of its key insights.

Who votes for Ukip? The ‘left behind’

For a start, it debunks the myth that Ukip is a party of disaffected, well-to-do, shire-Tories obsessed by Europe and upset by David Cameron’s mild social liberalism on same-sex marriage. Yes, there are some Ukip voters like that, but they tend to be its peripheral voters, the ones most likely to give the Tories a kick in the Euros next month then return to their traditional True Blue ways in time for the general election. Ukip’s core vote in reality is made up of what the authors define as ‘left behind’ voters, overwhelmingly comprising older white working class males with no formal educational qualifications.

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 85 Comments

“It was a tough battle” – Shirley Williams on the birth of the SDP

Shirley Williams tells the story of the 1981 Gang of Four breakaway, which eventually led to the formation of the Liberal Democrats, in the first issue of AD LIB magazine, out next week.

“…we said, if we haven’t got anywhere else to go, we’ll create one.”

Those nascent views crystallised after the party’s 1981 Wembley conference which committed it to unilateral nuclear disarmament and withdrawal from the EEC and NATO. Within hours Williams, Owen and Rodgers were drawing up the plans which would lead to the creation of the SDP.

“The three of us met – not Roy, at that point –

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Opinion: Why are we waiting?

We have played the waiting game before. It didn’t work in the 1980s, and it won’t work now.

In the 1983 Election, the Alliance reached a high water mark with a 26% vote. But there was discord. The Liberals, who won most seats, felt they should take the lead. The SDP, with their heavyweight experience, saw things differently. Problems grew when Owen took over, refused to collaborate properly, and set out to undermine theAlliancefrom within. A stalemate developed, and a waiting game began.

The Alliance announced to a stunned public that two-headed leadership was the new future. Their slogan “Not Left, Not …

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Thatcher papers show 25 Tory MPs considered joining early SDP

A number of things hit the headlines this morning as the Margaret Thatcher Foundation reveals papers from 1981.

The early morning BBC radio headlines focussed on a meeting between Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch around the time News International acquired:

Margaret Thatcher had a secret meeting with Rupert Murdoch at Chequers weeks before his 1981 purchase of the Times newspapers, newly released files show.

A note by her press secretary Bernard Ingham says the prime minister thanked Mr Murdoch for “keeping her posted”.

But the contentious issue of whether to refer the bid to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission was not raised.

But as …

Posted in LibLink and News | Also tagged , , , and | 9 Comments

Revealed: The Liberal Democrats’ new HQ

Great George Street SW1

The Liberal Democrats plan to relocate this summer to a new headquarters in Westminster, close to Whitehall and the Houses of Parliament.

The party has chosen newly-refurbished offices on the second floor at 8-10 Great George Street, opposite the Treasury.

Party staff can look forward to a modern, open-plan office on one floor, in contrast to the current Cowley Street offices – which are arranged over five floors, in an array of dolls’-house type compartments.

At around 7000 square feet, the floor area is …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , and | 29 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLorenzo 6th Feb - 1:16am
    P.S. Totally agree it is about supporting candidates too and changing our culture , the hours of parliament do not favour any one wanting any...
  • User Avatarjohn 6th Feb - 1:06am
    A criminal offence for anyone not to report it,routine medical examinations at school with strict liability for parents and mandatory prison sentences.
  • User Avatarmalc 6th Feb - 12:46am
    Last opinion poll I saw for Wales was carried out by You Gov in Dec 15. Lab 35% Tories 23% PC 20% UKIP 15% LibDems...
  • User AvatarLorenzo 6th Feb - 12:36am
    Alex , well said , nobody above dealt with any of the points I raised, I think not standing a candidate means people think we...
  • User AvatarJudy Abel 6th Feb - 12:02am
    I know what I'm going to say won't be very popular, but in all discussion on childcare, no one ever mentions what might actually be...
  • User AvatarTracy 5th Feb - 11:09pm
    Apologies for the typos above. I blame my phone!