How the SDP took over Britain

Tom Pride makes an astute and much overlooked observation here:

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

The Social Democratic Party – 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.

I’m not so sure.

For example, Andrew Lansley – who introduced the 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 is cutting the right of legal aid for the poorest.

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

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

Of course the present government is propped up by the Liberal Democrats – who could end the government and its extreme right-wing agenda today if it 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 – are 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.

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 looked into it, the more I found 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 between them.” ( And for anyone interested in reading more on the topic Jon Lansman on Left Futures here takes a look at some familiar SDP faces: (
and back in 2012 David Lindsay said much the same (

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