Friday, 22 January 2016

Emergence of social democracy in Britain

Gwynoro Jones has a most enlightening post about the roots of the Social Democratic Party. As an aide to Roy Jenkins he was close to the various strands of opinion within the Labour Party and the "parties within a party" that they led to. He has some fascinating insights and reminders of some nearly-forgotten figures.

Many commentators claim that history is repeating itself. But I am with Ian Stewart (in Does God Play Dice?) when he says that history does not move in circles, but in spirals. (I have a feeling that others may have expressed the same thought before Stewart.) There are similarities between Labour under Michael Foot and under Jeremy Corbyn but not exact congruence. Clearly the same sort of infighting will intensify and Labour will plunge at the polls until the party works out a coherent, rational message. However, I do not see a new party arising from within Labour as the SDP largely (there was at least one Conservative defector and it recruited large numbers new to party politics) did. There is a ready home in the LibDems for those who see themselves as social democrats rather than socialists and UKIP has attracted the working-class conservatives which the Conservative party used to recruit.

1 comment:

Frank H Little said...

Please read also Jonathan Fryer's report of the party celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Limehouse Declaration.