Tag Archives: social democrats

The future of Social Democracy: 40 years after the Limehouse Declaration

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On the 25 January 1981, Roy Jenkins, Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams and David Owen issued a joint statement signalling intent to leave the Labour party and form a new Council for Social Democracy that would later become the SDP.

Stemming from disagreements over the recent Wembley conference and an increasing far-left stranglehold from the Militant tendency, the ‘Gang of Four’ made the heart-breaking decision to leave their political home and start anew.

As I was born in 1990 the moments above are of pure historical reference to me, however, I have often felt a kinship to Jenkins, Rodgers and Williams in this regard.

I grew up in the Labour movement, I joined the party aged 15 having been a direct beneficiary of the New Labour Government in 1997 and the Lib-Lab Coalition in Holyrood. I grew up in a single income household, where my Dad worked nightshift on manufacturing lines at IBM to provide for our family. Growing up one word was always echoed by my Dad ‘Opportunity’, the chance to get on and improve your life. That’s why he went to College part-time and earned himself an HNC, moving into the office-based environment at IBM.

In 2011 my Dad was elected as the Labour MP for Inverclyde, still believing in those principles of opportunity and building people up to succeed. I was immensely proud, so proud in fact I served as his election agent in 2015.

Then in 2019 I had a decision to make. I’d been a Labour council candidate in Reading and Chaired/Founded the Fabian Devolution Committee but the party since 2015 had moved so far left, my politics hadn’t changed but the voices around me had: ‘Home ownership is wrong’ and ‘All business is evil’ are actual quotes of things I heard people say.

I moved to the Liberal Democrats, as the only party that can truly stand up for the policies and principles of Social Democracy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 24 Comments

How do we reach out to social democrats beyond the party?

social democrat groupMany Labour members are thinking of resigning. I’m sure we would love them to join us. How can we encourage them without being too pushy?

If you are a social democrat outside the Liberal Democrats, whether in the Labour party or not, if there are ways the Liberal Democrats could make it easier for you to switch to us let us know in the comments below.

Here are a few of my thoughts.

Don’t forget we lost too. Moderate members of the Labour party may have lost the leadership battle for their party, but we’ve lost most of our MPs. Let’s acknowledge these twin disasters for the centre-left, and talk about how we can move forward.

Posted in Op-eds | 61 Comments

Opinion: A Swedish lesson for Gordon Brown

So far in British political debates the word “Swedish” is usually bandied about in support of “free schools” by the Conservatives. But you won’t see anything about schools in this post – instead I will highlight a different political lesson from Sweden.

In 2006 the centre-right Alliance for Sweden (which includes our sister party) ended twelve years of Social Democratic government; this was only the third time that the centre-right has defeated a Social Democratic government since the Second World War. An important factor in the victory was …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | Leave a comment
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