Tag Archives: social democratic party

We must learn from the past to reshape the future

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On 25th January 1981 former Labour cabinet ministers Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams issued a statement which became known as the Limehouse Declaration.  This was to herald a new beginning for British Politics and yet here we are 38 years later with a new declaration born out of the same frustrations with the British Political system.

The opportunity to change British Politics for the better is here again, and we can either shout from the side-lines or join the team and play the game, no matter how much that prospect might scare us.

If the coalition has taught us anything it is that we cannot change politics by aligning ourselves with the status quo, the Labour and Conservative parties exist to take turns in holding power and they will do everything they can to ensure that nobody wrests that power from them.  Our job is to make it impossible for any one party to ever govern alone again, and the only way we can achieve that is in common cause with other smaller parties.

In deciding our response to the Independent Group, we must now ask ourselves a very simple question: “Is it our ambition to replace one of the big parties or do we want to change British politics for good?”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 49 Comments

Book review: Charles Kennedy: A Tragic Flaw by Greg Hurst

I had a chance to read this recently updated book while on holiday in West Africa. It is a remarkably fine volume. Painstakingly researched and impeccably sourced, it offers a skillfully balanced portrait of a remarkable and inspiring man. As the title suggests, the author does not hold back on the human frailties of its subject but these are, nevertheless, presented as part of a rounded, fair and endearing commentary. I feel this book helps us to inch forward a little further in understanding the rather enigmatic Charles Kennedy, while deconstructing a few myths along the way.

I’ll pick out a few parts of the book which particularly caught my attention:

Posted in Books | Also tagged , , , , and | 8 Comments

33 years ago today the launch of the SDP was announced

SDP logoThe Guardian has delved into its archives to bring us the announcement, on 18th March 1981, about the launch of the Social Democratic Party.

The Social Democratic Party is to launch itself to the end of the runway next week, and even its most devoted supporters admit that they have not the faintest idea whether it will take off.

But the launching is to be conducted with military efficiency. The big names, including Mr Roy Jenkins and Mrs Shirley Williams, will be deployed across the nation to ensure maximum coverage.

The operation was announced at the Commons yesterday by Mr Mike Thomas, MP for Newcastle East. He made it clear that substantial sums of money, including £80,000 in the bank, will be available to finance it.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 36 Comments
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