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(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

With all this talk about splits in the Labour Party and the formation of a new centre party – it’s worth taking a look again at the 1981 Labour split and the fate of the breakaway Social Democratic Party.

The SDP – which eventually joined with the Liberal Party to form the Liberal Democrats – is often regarded as a failure by political pundits from all sides of the political spectrum. Mainly due to the fact that all but one of the 28 defecting Labour MPs lost their seats at subsequent elections.

But for a so-called failure – a fair few of the original members of the SDP seem to be running Britain.

For example, Tory Andrew Lansley – who introduced the original NHS ‘reforms’ which have effectively led to the privatisation of the NHS – used to be a member of the SDP.

So was Chris Grayling – who as employment minister introduced the slave labour scheme known as ‘workfare’ – and as justice minister cut the right of legal aid for the poorest.  Grayling is now Secretary of State for Transport in Theresa May’s new cabinet.

Anna Soubry – presently Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise – was one of the original members of the SDP.

And yet another Tory cabinet member – Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell – was also a founding member of the SDP.

Most of David Cameron’s worst ideas came from the leading right-wing think tank Policy Exchange – whose chair is Daniel Finkelstein, also a former SDP member.

Finkelstein is executive editor and chief leader writer for the Times – effectively making him the mouthpiece of British establishment thinking.

Of course the last coalition government was propped up by the Liberal Democrats – who could have ended the Cameron/Osborne government and its extreme right-wing agenda if it had wanted to. But the most influential voices supposedly on the left of the Lib Dems – propping up Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander’s insistence on the party becoming Tory-lite – were Vince Cable and Shirley Williams, both former SDP members.

Even one of the most influential voices in the Labour party and supposedly also on the so-called left – Polly Toynbee – used to be a member of the SDP.

By standing as an SDP candidate, Polly Toynbee, for example handed Lewisham East to Tories. But she has gone on to have a lucrative career in the media:

polly toynbee sdp

And no she hasn’t changed all that much – here’s one of her articles from as recently as 2011:

Some SDP thinking might strengthen Labour’s nerve

It’s also worth noting that Bill Rodgers revealed one of the names the founding members of the SDP considered using for their new party was New Labour!

In fact, the more I look into it, the more I find the SDP popping up everywhere.

The SDP a failure?

On the contrary, looks to me like they’ve got the country well and truly sewn up.


Please feel free to comment.