Tag Archives: turning points

Review: Turning Point: Unscripted Reflections by Steve Richards – The formation of the SDP

Thanks to my friend Neil for drawing this one to my attention. Steve Richards has done a series of reflections on the big turning points in our politics over the last 40 years, from the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister to the 2017 election.

The second in the series concerns the formation of the SDP, when 4 former Labour Cabinet ministers left Labour over that party’s adoption of an anti European, pro nuclear disarmament platform along with internal reforms that gave more power to members and trade unions.

Richards makes the important point that if you are going to form a new party, you can’t just be against stuff. You have to have an agenda. He points out that the SDP had a definite left of centre vision that involved redistribution of wealth, high public spending  and definitely internationalist.

He observed that the party got masses of media coverage because they had credibility as well as novelty.

David Steel’s role in encouraging the formation of a new party rather than just having Labour people joining the Liberals was also highlighted as an early positive.

Richards says despite all of this, there were “impossible hurdles” for the party to overcome.

First of all, the Labour Party was never going to disappear. They were too well resourced.

Secondly, they didn’t attract those on the left of the Conservatives.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDoug Chisholm 4th Jul - 7:36am
    Really great article, comforting to read something so reasoned and realistic. I really hope you get elected next time. We need you.
  • User AvatarPramod Subbaraman 4th Jul - 7:06am
    Ah! Chris Cory, well observed. We are brilliant at talking the talk. As for walking the walk, that’s another story. Don’t forget that Sam came...
  • User AvatarCatherine Jane Crosland 4th Jul - 5:59am
    It might be a good idea if the leadership hustings could include sessions in which each candidate was interviewed individually by Andrew Neil, Cathy Newman...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 4th Jul - 5:23am
    The words right and left wing were invented by people. Like any words they have the meanings that people give to them. If we want...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 4th Jul - 2:29am
    Some define their left wingness by how much they hate Conservative policies rather than any positive criteria.
  • User AvatarMike Read 4th Jul - 12:23am
    Good post, thank you. As someone who voted in every leadership contest the party has ever had I am very undecided this time! In the...