David Owen leaves the Lib Dems

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MostUncivilised
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#1
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http://www.newstatesman.com/politics...ore-%C2%A37500

In a most extraordinary development, the man who with Roy Jenkins and Shirley Williams left the Labour Party in 1981 to form the SDP has all but thrown his lot in with the Labour Party again.

Owen's two main considerations were that the "one member, one vote" principle in leadership elections that he advocated in the early 1980s have been implemented, and that he is outraged and disgusted by Liberal Democrat complicity in the privatisation of the NHS and believes a Labour majority in 2015 is the only way to save the NHS from complete destruction.

Seeing Miliband's ability to unite the party, from Len McCluskey on the left to Tony Blair on the right is an extraordinary thing to behold. The centre-left is more united than it has been at any time since the early 1980s; with millions of left Lib Dem voters moving back to the Labour fold, the Labour-SDP rift of the early 80s has effectively been healed.

All this while the right is mired in the UKIP civil war. Roll on 2015
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gladders
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He wasn't in the Lib Dems? He never joined them. He remained in SDP until that wound up, and then became a Crossbencher. His Labour sympathies have been well-known for decades. I think the surprise would be if he switched his allegiance to the Lib Dems.
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MostUncivilised
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(Original post by gladders)
He wasn't in the Lib Dems? He never joined them. He remained in SDP until that wound up, and then became a Crossbencher. His Labour sympathies have been well-known for decades. I think the surprise would be if he switched his allegiance to the Lib Dems.
My mistake, you're quite right. Being an SDP man, I'd assumed he'd done the same as the execrable Shirley Williams.

Still, his statement reflects generally on the almost complete collapse of the left-wing of the Lib Dems, and the effective healing of the SDP-Labour rift. All this while the right undergoes its civil war.

The 2010-2020s will be for the Conservatives what the 1980s were for Labour.
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MostUncivilised
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#4
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(Original post by gladders)
He wasn't in the Lib Dems? He never joined them. He remained in SDP until that wound up, and then became a Crossbencher. His Labour sympathies have been well-known for decades. I think the surprise would be if he switched his allegiance to the Lib Dems.
I just did a bit of research, it seems David Owen exhorted the electorate to vote Lib Dem in the 1992 and 2005 elections, and desperately wanted to prevent Neil Kinnock becoming Prime Minister.

That is to say, he's been no friend of the Labour Party for some time, and generally more associated with the LD side of things than the Labour side up until about 2011.
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Macymace
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(Original post by MostUncivilised)
I just did a bit of research, it seems David Owen exhorted the electorate to vote Lib Dem in the 1992 and 2005 elections, and desperately wanted to prevent Neil Kinnock becoming Prime Minister.That is to say, he's been no friend of the Labour Party for some time, and generally more associated with the LD side of things than the Labour side up until about 2011.
Labour are just another capitalist party, **** them. The tories are SCUM, But Labour has done WORSE in Wales with the NHS, so stop with you 'saving' the NHS' bull****,your all just working for the dictatorship of the bourgeois.
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Rakas21
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Good, the further right the Libs are able to move the more comfortable I will be if the Tories elect a nutter after Cameron.
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MostUncivilised
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(Original post by Rakas21)
Good, the further right the Libs are able to move the more comfortable I will be if the Tories elect a nutter after Cameron.
If the Lib Dems move any further to the right, they may as well merge with the Tories. One hears rumours that this is precisely what Danny Alexander would like to do.
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Rakas21
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(Original post by MostUncivilised)
If the Lib Dems move any further to the right, they may as well merge with the Tories. One hears rumours that this is precisely what Danny Alexander would like to do.
Apparently David Laws was invited to join the shadow cabinet in 06. One Lib Dem MP has already invited moderate Tories to join them a few months ago.

It's a mess on the right at the moment but thankfully Ukip will be lucky to breach double digits versus the 25% for the 80's alliance. 66% chance Labour win i reckon.
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MostUncivilised
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#9
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(Original post by Rakas21)
It's a mess on the right at the moment but thankfully Ukip will be lucky to breach double digits versus the 25% for the 80's alliance
Two points I'd make. The first is that UKIP often polls around 15%, and it's very hard to know where they'll be in 2015.

The second is that it's not comparing like-with-like. The Conservatives have lost many of their most loyal activists to UKIP (as have the Lib Dems to Labour), whereas the SDP never really had a serious chance of getting the most loyal trade union and CLP activists.

66% chance Labour win i reckon
I agree. In fact, I'd put it perhaps slightly higher. Assuming a 37 vote share for Labour, 34 vote share for the Conservatives, 10 for the Lib Dems, Labour has a majority of about 80
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by MostUncivilised)
the SDP never really had a serious chance of getting the most loyal trade union and CLP activists.
I would disagree.

There was a moment when there was a bandwagon effect for the SDP when it was attracting young people who had no loyalty to any main party who could have provided boots on the grounds as tends to be seen in foreign elections.

In this country the average door knocker, envelope stuffer etc is probably aged 70. In the USA and most of Europe, it is probably about 22.

The Glasgow Hillhead by-election took place on 25th March 1982. On 2nd April 1982 the Falklands were invaded and the rest, as they say, is history.
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MostUncivilised
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#11
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
I would disagree.

There was a moment when there was a bandwagon effect for the SDP when it was attracting young people who had no loyalty to any main party who could have provided boots on the grounds as tends to be seen in foreign elections.
The problem with relying on the youth vote is that it is inherently transient. The trade unions, essentially the heart and soul of the Labour movement, wouldn't move over to the SDP. And youth voters will often express support for a party, but they are much more flakey when it comes to actually voting, let alone turning up week-in, week-out to stuff letterboxes, door-knock, attend branch meetings, and the like.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by MostUncivilised)
The problem with relying on the youth vote is that it is inherently transient. The trade unions, essentially the heart and soul of the Labour movement, wouldn't move over to the SDP. And youth voters will often express support for a party, but they are much more flakey when it comes to actually voting, let alone turning up week-in, week-out to stuff letterboxes, door-knock, attend branch meetings, and the like.
What I have highlighted shows the difference between UK politics and much of the rest of the democratic world.

In the United States, if I say I am a Republican, I am a Republican. I may register as a Republican with my state electoral commission. I pay no subscription as a result of being a Republican. I may run for party office. I may be invited to join a party committee. I am not a member of an organisation that has a corporate existance of which I am part.

In France, a politician will found a new party overnight. The party is a mailing list. You don't pay a subscription to join. There is no idea that the new party must open a nationwide network of clubhouses in which cheap alcohol and Sacha Distel tribute acts are to be found. When the politician retires or dies, the party will die. It is his personal fan club.

The SDP was going to break the mould of British politics. As I say, there was a moment when being a member of the SDP meant turning up to stuff envelopes; not paying a subscription, joining a branch and debating policy. That period lasted from the Limehouse Declaration on 25th January 1981 to the invasion of the Falklands on 2nd April 1982.
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