Today’s the anniversary of the Limehouse Declaration

On 25 January 1981, four senior Labour politicians – Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams – issued the Limehouse Declaration, so called after David Owen’s East London home. It set out their plans which were to result in the formation of the SDP. As you can see, many of their policy concerns are still highly relevant:

Limehouse Declaration 25 January 1981

Text courtesy of the Liberal Democrat History Group.

For more about the declaration and its consequences, see Formation of the SDP.

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53 Comments

  • “As you can see, many of their policy concerns are still highly relevant:…..”

    Yes indeed; many of those who supported the fledgling SDP having felt unable to stick with Labour must be experiencing a sense of deja vu with the LD’s now!

    How sad.

  • @ ‘Andy’ ;

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Jan '11 - 3:54pm

    And 30 years on the children of the SDP are helping to maintain Thatcher’s children in power – talk about history repeating itself!

  • @ toryboysnevergrowup

    Labour has just had 13 years in power, during which time it undermined the important arguments in favour of government spending and positive state intervention by wrecking the public finances through careless squander. That too is history repeating itself.

    We will all be fated to repeat history – swing to the right, swing to the left, everyone suffering in the process – until we adopt an electoral system that gives sufficient weight to the moderate, reformist centre and stops us from careering off in one direction or the other every few elections.

    That was one of the key demands of the SDP and one of its core ideas. Hopefully, when AV is adopted later on this year, we will be one small step in the direction of achieving this.

  • @ toryboysnevergrowup

    Errrrmm.. no, a hell of a lot of them are doing no such thing in fact.

    Like me they are probably wondering who to support now…. I doubt many will be attracted by Newer Labour, and even fewer by the Tories….

  • @ olly

    Some may have followed you olly… but I suspect more couldn’t bring themselves to support Ed’s Newer Labour any more than they could support Old Labour (and still less New Labour!). I’m certainly not ready to believe Labour has changed until they show me the cold, dead corpse of New Labour, and demonstrate that they can be a radical, progressive force. Unsurprisingly given recent history, I won;t be holdng my breath.

    It will be interesting to see where this large group decides to vote in upcoming elections though…!

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Jan '11 - 5:27pm

    Robert C

    I can accept that spending could have been tighter from 2005 onwards – but that is not the same as squandering the public finances. The more significant problem with the Labour governement was that it placed too much faith on the ability of financial markets to regulate themselves and price risk properly – and these markets then collapsed leading to a severe contraction in the level of bank lending, the economy and tax revenues. There were some economist who pointed this out without the benefit of hindsight e.g Stiglitz, Krugman – but there wasn’t much challenge to deregulatory consensus from most parts of the political consensus (including the moderate reformist centre) beforehand. At least some parts of the spectrum have started to learn this lesson – but the LIbDems appear to be in coalition with those who haven’t.

    If you get the economic analysis correct then you might start to get the political analysis correct and actually give some meaning as to what is meant by a “moderate, reformist centre” – anything else is really just meaningless posturing and will still be so with or without electoral reform.

    Andy

    And what is the logic of your position?

  • @ toryboysnevergrowup

    “Andy
    And what is the logic of your position?”

    Who knows? It rather depends on what electoral system we have come the next election doesn’t it? If the AV referendum fails, and the Coalition is seen to have been a failure, then Labour may manage to win an outright majority without the support of disaffected social democrats, or that enough of them will support Labour as the “least worst” option.

    Otherwise, in an AV election I suspect many such voters will vote tactically depending on local conditions, or perhaps vote for minor parties. YouGov polls recently show an upward trend for minor parties, which are collectively polling higher than the LD’s.

  • David Allen 25th Jan '11 - 5:43pm

    “What is the logic of your position?”

    Well, as an ex-SDP member and left-leaning Lib Dem, my position has been that it is vital to throw the Cleggites out and reclaim the party. If we don’t, we let the Tory stooges take over our organisation, our funds, and our local government base, and throw their weight behind the Right for the foreseeable future.

    (Before the inevitable comments: I am not saying I would rule out ever partnering with the Tories, indeed last May i briefly thought that was the right thing to do, until it became clear how badly we’d done it. But I am quite sure that Clegg would never partner with Labour, not never ever. When he says he could, he’s only trying to disguise his real intentions.)

    Mind you, I am now starting to wonder if reclaiming the party is the right aim. What is it that is worth reclaiming? Have we got a reputation that could be restored by a new leader? Or have we made just too many mistakes, and shown too many character faults, for it to be worth the candle? Would we do better just to cut our losses and start again with a party and new name? Like, er, “Democratic Social Party” or something (it’s on the tip of my tongue….)

  • @ David Allen

    LOL…. I like your post. I think there are probably a large number of people with a similar background and outlook who feel the same. Perhaps it’s a case of “If you build it, they will come”? 😉

  • @ toryboysnevergrowup

    “I can accept that spending could have been tighter from 2005 onwards – but that is not the same as squandering the public finances.”

    In terms of what Balls and Brown did, it is exactly the same.

    Frankly they pi**ed a load of public money up the wall on wars, PFI , excessive pay growth in the NHS and in local council administration, selling off the government’s gold reserves at rock bottom prices, huge headquarters staffs for regional quangos, useless public “art” like B of the Bang. You name it, they wasted money on it.

    “If you get the economic analysis correct then you might start to get the political analysis correct”

    In which case, Balls isn’t even on the starting blocks, so don’t try to lecture us about it. He is still deep in denial about Labour’s deep involvement in our current economic problems and until he acknowledges what Labour did wrong (i.e. until hell freezes over), then Labour will lack even the slightest credibility.

  • The formation of the SDP is what captured my political imagination when I was really young. I remember writing an essay about it as part of an exam at school and I won a scholarship for a third of the fees on the back of it.

    The idea that we needed a fundamentally different British political system that wasn’t controlled by entrenched special interests represented by the Conservatives and Labour and destructive swings from left to right and back again was a potent vision and one that retains a huge appeal for me today. I hope one day I will see it. That is why I remain, despite everything, a Liberal Democrat.

  • David Allen 25th Jan '11 - 6:08pm

    “Frankly they pi**ed a load of public money up the wall”

    The Tories also supported the war, the total of public spending, and the inadequate bank regulation. Anyone who vilifies Labour while letting the Tories off scot-free on these issues is “deep in denial”.

  • @ David Allen

    “The Tories also supported the war, the total of public spending, and the inadequate bank regulation”

    It appears to have escaped your attention that we are NOT the Tories. The clue is in the name: Lib Dem Voice. Please go and post on Conservative Home if you want to talk about their failings.

    Yes, the Tories were and are totally rubbish, but Labour got kicked out at the last election with a miserable 29% of the vote, so the Tories were the only party with whom we could form a government.

    Were by any chance you abroad in May when we had the general election?

  • @ Olly

    Sorry, which bit of Balls’ economic analysis are we supposed to be taking on board?

    What is his economic analysis and his plan for economic success and growth? Please explain. I’m dying to hear.

  • @ George Kendall

    You may be proud George, but many former supporters are not. Fair enough if you think they are making the best of a bad job, but again please understand that many of us do not share your outlook. The price is too high, the benefits too meagre.

    This isn’t about the (misleading) narrative that it’s all Labour’s fault. Don’t get me wrong, I detest New Labour in particular, but they didn’t cause the international economic meltdown. Plenty of right of centre governments around the world were equally or more culpable, and if you think the Tories would have been doing anything much different you are sadly deluded.

    It is one thing to compromise and limit criticism in the name of coherent government and/or cabinet responsibility, it’s another to sell the farm!

  • What miraculous recipe for debt free sustainable growth is Balls going to propose that he didn’t actually get round to implementing while his party was in power for 13 years?

    The fundamental problem is that almost all growth during the Labour era was driven by two things: public and private debt. As such it was unsustainable. Yet Labour say piling on even more debt is now the solution.

    What the current GDP figures show us is that the sustainable growth rate bequeathed by Labour is at or below zero. Thanks Balls.

  • @ Andy

    All countries got hit by the international slump, but some, like Germany are springing back vigorously without massive public spending deficits (theirs 4%, ours 11%). The UK, on the other hand, is hooked on massive injections of public debt and apparently can’t survive without it.

    Whose fault is that, precisely?

  • @ Robert C

    I didn’t say they were blameless, I said they can’t be held responsible for everything that went wrong… not that difficult really.

  • @ Olly

    “How about the bit about cutting more slowly so that deficit reduction doesn’t throw economic recovery into reverse ?”

    Public spending is still rising. The problem is that Labour has left our economy so dependent on public spending and consumer debt that it doesn’t have any other cylinders to fire on.

    I defy any Labour supporter to answer the question “what would YOU do?” without using the word “not”.

    What would Labour actually do?

  • paul barker 25th Jan '11 - 7:57pm

    OLLY, you beleive that most of the c 30,000 SDP members who joined the merged Party have now left & joined Labour ? No-one can disprove that but it does seem a bit unlikely. When did they move ? Libdem membership rose for most of last year, by around 8,000 I beleive so it cant have been then.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Jan '11 - 9:11pm

    For those who want to blame the deficit on Labour overspending and be in denial about the impact of the financial crisis (which does hit the UK more because we had an economy which is more dependent on financial services) could I suggest they compare the level o fthe deficit pre and post the financial crisis. Whether you like it or not there was a failure worldwide in financial markets – and real social democrats recognise that although markets are very valuable they are far from perfect and do need regulation and management from time to time.

    I would count my self as a social democrat (small s small d) if we are talking about the political philosophy in the tradition of Tawney and Crosland. It is quite clear from the comments here that many (but not all) in the SDP didn’t subscribe to social democracy either then or now – and their natural home is with the Manchester liberals in the party or “sound money”

  • Simon McGrath 25th Jan '11 - 10:08pm

    @robert C – you are on cracking form today!

  • Robert c,

    “@ David Allen

    “The Tories also supported the war, the total of public spending, and the inadequate bank regulation”

    It appears to have escaped your attention that we are NOT the Tories. The clue is in the name: Lib Dem Voice. Please go and post on Conservative Home if you want to talk about their failings.

    Yes, the Tories were and are totally rubbish, but Labour got kicked out at the last election with a miserable 29% of the vote, so the Tories were the only party with whom we could form a government.

    Were by any chance you abroad in May when we had the general election?”

    Ten out of ten for misdirected sarcasm and (LDV moderators please note) personal abuse. Four out of ten for a very belated recognition of my point, that “Labour’s failings” were shared by our new best friends in the Tory party.

    If we are ever to regain the trust of the voters as an independent party not in thrall to Cameron and his cronies, we shall have to start by regaining our equidistance between our two opponents! Are you going to help – or hinder?

  • “The point I was trying to make was that the substantial numbers of voters who have moved from Lib Dem to Labour since May have most likely come from the “SDP-wing” of the party (for want of a better description) and that the point being made earlier in the thread that ex-SDP supporters are now propping up a Thatcherite government. is largely inaccurate. Orange Bookers appear to be the most enthusiastic supporters of the Tories as far as I can tell and ex-SDP Mps like Mike Hancock & Bob Russell seem to be amongst the least enthusiastic”

    Shows how much you know. Where did Vince Cable come from then? (Hint – rearrange these letters PDS)

    Many ex SDP members are more economically liberal than former Liberal members. And during the 1980s when the SDP really was around, ISTR surveys showed that in a forced preference they would have gone Conservaitve rather than Labour.

  • @ David Allen

    Which bit of my comments amounts to personal abuse, precisely? Sarcasm yes, abuse no. Not guilty, m’lud.

    If you read my posting above I said that the Tories were and are rubbish. But at the moment we happen to be in government with them while Labour are outside the tent, unhelpfully and gleefully peeing in. Their hostility knows no bounds – after all, how many Tories do you get posting here compared to the constant critical postings from Matt, EcoJon, Olly, etc. etc. That is the context to the points I am making.

    @ Toryboysnevergrow up

    Other countries got hit by the international downturn, just like we did, but e.g. Germany only has a deficit of 4% and is bouncing back very well nonetheless because its economy has been well run. With the figleaf of increasing debt removed, the UK economy on the other hand has shown itself up as being puny and stunted.

    The UK is now seriously underperforming its competitors and the difference doesn’t lie in how much debt we can run up (Labour left us champions there) but in how poorly developed our productive industries are. On that score, only the party that has been in power for the previous 13 years can possibly be to blame.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Jan '11 - 11:28pm

    Robert C

    While you may wish to go off on a rant about debt being a bad thing perhaps you should note that nearly all sucessful companies carry debt in their balance sheets as a means of financing their investment and expansion – and those that don’t will typically often be seen as underleveraged and poor investments. Keynes also showed that debt and government borrowing can be used as a means for preventing the economy finding equilibrium at a level with low growth and high unemployment as is presently the case. As for Ed Balls and other Labour politicians accepting that intervention and regulation of markets now have a role after the deregulatory consensus of recent years – he will of course find it difficult, as all politicians do, to issue his mea culpa but unlike most of your lot you can see that is implicit in most of what he says – contrast this with the “children of Thatcher” with which many LIbDems are becoming increasingly comfortable. As for how social democrats should regulate and intervene in markets so that can be used to generate growth for the economy as a whole (and yes markets should be the servants rather than the master) there are a whole gamut of ideas new and old should you wish to look closer – personally I’m more in favour of solutions which look at structures (e.g. the investment management sector in this country is pretty hopeless and useless) rather than micro managment and picking winners approach, but that is another debate in which the Right does not have much interest as they believe free markets will deliver all.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Jan '11 - 11:31pm

    Robert C

    And perhaps you could explain how cutting the deficit and reliance on “sound money” will generate growth – or are you relying on a combination of devaluation, other countries inflating their economies and normal economic cycles (which of course failed in the 1930s).

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Jan '11 - 11:40pm

    Robert C

    I didn’t say that overreliance on the financial sector was a good thing – although you ally Boris Johnson clearly still does. The UK has been deindustrialising since at least 1960s , it isn’t just a problem of the last 13 years. Yes Labour did worship too much at the altar of frre market capitalism – but it is learning to stop unlike the present Government, which continues the old hands off approach.

    You should note that Germany and many of our rivals have levels of public debt which are still in excess of our own.

  • I joined the Liberal Democrats in 2008, having never previously been a member of any other party.

    I find it very difficult to tell who was a Liberal and who was SDP most of the time. Some of the most ‘right wing’ or ‘low tax’ councillors and activists were in the SDP and a lot of anti-tory left wingers were in the Liberal party.

    I think the majority of the Lib to Lab switchers have moved simply because they hate Tories. Nothing about deficits or spending cuts or coalition agreements or electoral reform, just the idea that all conservatives are scum.

    There’s no point in trying to ‘take the party back’ from the Cleggites – that would involve taking the party back into eternal opposition where we have no influence on anything. Sure, we might get to crow about how everything the government does is bad, but I’d rather support a party which actively seeks to govern. Clegg has got us further as a party than I could’ve imagined when I joined. And before some troll accuses me of being a Thatcherite, one of the people who inspired me to join was Simon Hughes.

  • @ Mike

    ” think the majority of the Lib to Lab switchers have moved simply because they hate Tories. Nothing about deficits or spending cuts or coalition agreements or electoral reform, just the idea that all conservatives are scum. ……..
    There’s no point in trying to ‘take the party back’ from the Cleggites – that would involve taking the party back into eternal opposition where we have no influence on anything.”

    Constant repetition doesn’t make this line of argument any more convincing you know. No doubt many people who have switched support did so because they hated the idea of being in a coalition with the Tories, but it’s a tad more complex than that. Many of the switchers (as often pointed out) have no intention of supporting Labour either, which doesn’t leave us with much alternative but to support Greens or independents.

    The Cleggites have hijacked your party just as the nauseating adherents of New Labour hijacked that party. It is by no means clear to me that getting rid of Clegg and his acolytes would condemn your party to eternal opposition; rather it seems to many people that given the collapse in your support it is adherence to the Coalition that will reduce your influence. Even if AV is successful, I don’t see how you expect current levels of support to result in anything other than a reduction in your influence.

    By all means pray for a miracle to get you out of the mess you are in now, but it looks increasingly likely that’s exactly what it’s going to take!

  • Mike – “There’s no point in trying to ‘take the party back’ from the Cleggites – that would involve taking the party back into eternal opposition where we have no influence on anything. Sure, we might get to crow about how everything the government does is bad, but I’d rather support a party which actively seeks to govern. Clegg has got us further as a party than I could’ve imagined when I joined. And before some troll accuses me of being a Thatcherite, one of the people who inspired me to join was Simon Hughes.”

    My sentiments exactly.

    Someone on this forum a while ago characterised the current debates as mostly between purists and pragmatists.

    Purists scream “Betrayal!” at every opportunity, but very rarely if ever get the chance to govern. Pragamatists get on with it. I know where I am and where I’d rather be.

  • TBNGU – “perhaps you should note that nearly all sucessful companies carry debt in their balance sheets as a means of financing their investment and expansion – and those that don’t will typically often be seen as underleveraged and poor investments”

    Quite – but with the proviso that the money that is borrowed is used to invest (ie purchase capital goods), not used on current (eg consumable) expenditure. Far too much of Labour’s borrowing has been used on the latter and we are still extremely weak on the former.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Jan '11 - 10:09am

    Tabman

    Many ex SDP members are more economically liberal than former Liberal members. And during the 1980s when the SDP really was around, ISTR surveys showed that in a forced preference they would have gone Conservaitve rather than Labour.

    Indeed. We are more and more seeing this re-writing of history from people who clearly were not around at the time.

    Many of the tensions around the Liberal SDP merger came from the Liberal Party being to the left of the SDP, not to the right as we are now seeing people like “olly” claim. There simply was NOT a significant “Orange Book” tendency in the Liberal Party at the time, by which I mean a group which was keen on free-market economics and saw City-style commercialisation as the solution to almost any problem. Actually, I don’t recall EVER meeting anyone in the Liberal Party who was like that. There were a few, generally deemed very eccentric, who were keen on what they called “free trade”, but they always linked it with strong to the point of obsessive support for Land Value Taxation. Others who might be held up as pioneers of the “Orange Book” approach tended also to be very keen on things like industrial democracy, so VERY different from orthodox thinking now where the dog-eat-dog commercialisation that is being sold to us as the way everything everywhere should be run is accompanied by the cult of the Chief Executive and the whole structure whereby “business” means a few at the top making huge amounts of money in their bonuses etc, and everyone else slaving away even more for less pay, worried sick about meeting targets or being thrown out of their jobs, and so keeping their heads down and doing what they are told to tick the right boxes, as that sort of survival mechanism is what the dog-eat-dog culture really leads to.

    Those in the Liberal Party who were happiest about merger with the SDP were those who were to its right. It is strange now to see some of those figures, who we on the left of the Liberal Party then tended to dismiss as right-wing stooges (we might not have been as rude as that in public, but that ls what we thought in private), now criticising the current leadership of the Liberal Democrats from the left. To put it in perspective (but mirror image), it is as if people who left the Labour Party to join the SDP were now to find Tony Benn, Dennis Skinner and the like their allies in fighting against an even more extreme-left group which had taken over the leadership of the Labour Party.

    The obsession with commercialisation was just starting as the SDP was forming, and by the time of the merger it was already the trendy way to think, so getting picked up by some of those in the SDP. David Owen was showing signs of going that way, doing what Blair did with the Labour Party. Seeing this happening was given by many anti-merger Liberals as a reason to oppose merger.

    When the merger happened, there was a document that was put together supposedly written by the leaders of the two parties, David Steel and Robert Maclennan (who had taken over as leader of the SDP on David Owen’s defection to start his new party which he called by the same name). Maclennan left his part of this to be written by two interns who were working in his office. They gave it a pronounced slant to what we would now call “Orange Book” politics. This almost wrecked the Social and Liberal Democrats (as our party was then called) on its formation, because Liberals were so unhappy about. The document became known as the “Dead Duck” document.

    I write this from my recollection as someone who there, playing a minor part in the merger as I was on the national executive of the Young Liberals at the time, our chair was one of the negotiators in the merger, and we worked closely with her giving advice and receiving feedback on what was happening. I remember in particular when this idea of the leaders’ document was raised, I advised her that I felt it was very foolish and potentially damaging, particularly in the way it was just being left to them to write unseen. So, you see, I have a VERY long history of being right in predicting in advance strategic mistakes made by our party’s leadership.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Jan '11 - 10:34am

    MIke

    There’s no point in trying to ‘take the party back’ from the Cleggites – that would involve taking the party back into eternal opposition where we have no influence on anything. Sure, we might get to crow about how everything the government does is bad, but I’d rather support a party which actively seeks to govern. Clegg has got us further as a party than I could’ve imagined when I joined

    Well, you may think me a troll, but so be it.

    What you are saying is that the only way our party could even get a sniff of power if by moving to the economic right.

    “Taking the party back from the Cleggites” means a belief it as been taken too far to the right and needs to be pulled back from there. Some of that is deliberate taking us to the right from those who are ideologically that way, some of it is a perception, caused by the fact that we are in coalition with the Conservatives and this inevitably colours what people think of us. It was made worse by the very foolish strategy on the formation of the coalition pushed on us by our leader – but urged then and now by the right-wing press – that the only way to handle the coalition was to act almost as if our two parties had merged.

    So, Mike, when you say that “Taking the party back from the Cleggites” means taking it into “eternal opposition”, you are saying that the ONLY way our party can ever gain power is to become more right-wing and to put out publicity that gives the impression a “Liberal Democrat” label is just another brand name for a company whose main brand name is “Conservative”. Do you really believe this? Do you really believe what you are saying, that having any sort of image that takes us back a little more to the left and a little more to not being seen as another label for Conservative economic policies means we are not “actively seeking to govern”?

    Well, the Murdoch press may tell us that, but I don’t believe it. I accept it was necessary to form the coalition in 2010, I am not even now saying we should pull out of it, it was what the people voted for so they should get what they voted for. However, I certainly believe we should be open in our criticisms of it, open in saying our influence on it is small, and open in saying had there been many more Liberal Democrats MPs thing wouldn’t be as they are. Do you REALLY think being open in that way would lose us support? Personally I think if our party is to survive, it has to move in that direction, more so as the next general election approaches. It also has to consider pulling out early if it becomes obvious that the Conservative-led government has taken us the wrong way and the British people have lost confidence in it.

    As for “further as a party than I could’ve imagined when I joined”, well your imagination must be very limited. It was obvious a time would come when we would be in a no-majority situation, it did not require much dreaming to see that. We have been able to give a little influence from that, but not a lot. Do you honestly think your hyperbolic comments are going to help? Because I certainly think the electorate on seeing such things will think as I have “what a very limited imagination these people have, if they are so impressed by the little they have got”. I look forward to a different situation in which our party has a much stronger influence, and I think we will only reach that by “Taking the party back from the Cleggites”.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 26th Jan '11 - 10:55am

    Tabman

    Companies also use debt/bank overdrafts to fund their working capital requirements as well as longer term investments.

  • TBNGU – yes, in the short term. But that sort of debt has to be repaid quickly because its so expensive and meeting the interest payments on it becomes a major additional form of expense.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 26th Jan '11 - 2:12pm

    No Tabman — plenty of companies have bank overdrafts to fund their working capital requirements – yes it is (often/sometimes more) expensive but it is also flexible and can be quickly varied to meet the inevitable fluctuations in the level of working capital.

  • TBNGU – but that sort of facility is a requirement for dealing with cashflow fluctuations. Growth/investment is matched with long-term sustainable (and cheap) debt. But the important thing is that the level of debt is stable, and only increased to fund investment for comapny growth, and that profits and cashflow are sufficient to cover interest payments.

    Labour left us with a situation where receipts were shrinking and borrowing was increasing.

  • toryboysnevergrowup 26th Jan '11 - 3:50pm

    “But the important thing is that the level of debt is stable, and only increased to fund investment for comapny growth”

    1. Levels of company debt are not stable
    2. So what is wrong with governments increasing debt to achieve growth in the overall economy, including the level of future tax receipts. Sounds better than cutting debt and reducing the rate of growth in the economy as per the present policy.
    3. At least we seem to be getting beyond the household budget analogies that are so beloved of right wing politicians.

  • “2. So what is wrong with governments increasing debt to achieve growth in the overall economy, including the level of future tax receipts. Sounds better than cutting debt and reducing the rate of growth in the economy as per the present policy.”

    Problems arise when the level of the increase of interest outstrips growth in the economy, whereby you get an increasing proportion of your annual spend going on interest*. Sooner or later the markets lose confidence in your ability to pay that debt interest and your economy is fckued.

    * the corollary to this is less money available to spend on other areas

  • toryboysnevergrowup 26th Jan '11 - 5:40pm

    Problems arise when the level of the increase of interest outstrips growth in the economy

    Hasn’t this problem just got worse unde rthe Coalition?

  • @ Robert C

    “until we adopt an electoral system that gives sufficient weight to the moderate, reformist centre and stops us from careering off in one direction or the other every few elections.”

    That will mean the Liberal Democrats holding the balance of power permanently and with their paltry votes determining the fate of parties which have received many, many more votes in a General Election than the Liberal Democrats. No thanks. I’ll be voting against AV. I don’t want to see losers voting twice and at least First Past the Post will ensure that the Liberal Democrats are always kept in their place, which is THIRD. (If they’re lucky!)

    As for the SDP/Liberal Alliance — Steele was Dr Owen’s puppet, just like Clegg is Cameron’s.

  • Matthew Huntbach 27th Jan '11 - 10:33pm

    Matthew Huntbach

    The document became known as the “Dead Duck” document.

    Is there really no-one else around who remembers all this? I just might have put this in to see if someone noticed the deliberate mistake (but actually it wasn’t deliberate, it was just a mistake).

    I meant, of course, the “Dead Parrot” document.

  • Am I the only one that remembers the SDP largely being to the right of the Liberals, particulalry after Roy jenkins stood down as their leader (eg: fetishising nuclear bombs/David Owen generally) and often being very conservative on social issues?

    Still, they were a well-meaning attempt to clear up the mess left by an incompetent and discredited Labour administration which had virtually bankrupted the country, failed to bury dead bodies and then self-indulged in meaningless left wing policies and electing ludicrous leaders to take on the Tories …oh, sounds familiar!

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    Well, Peter, the absurdity was just not taken account of, it seems. Yet a shrewd friend of mine, a Lib Dem in his youth and...
  • User Avatarfrankie 15th Dec - 11:55pm
    But David I seem to remember you were a fan of Bevan's quote about rats. That was a man who through bitter experience knew what...
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 15th Dec - 10:52pm
    @ Martin Typo, not intended
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 15th Dec - 8:35pm
    I wish he was !!
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 15th Dec - 8:26pm
    The cinema site in Tunbridge Wells has been cleared and covered with broken bricks. A new cinema cannot legally be built precisely where the previous...