Thursday, June 21, 2007
Hillingdon SDP Confusion
Confusion for SDP
Uxbridge Gazette June 20th 1990 There has been mixed reaction from Hillingdon members to the announcement of the death of David Owen's SDP.
Barrie Griffiths, former chairman of the Hayes constituency party, spoke of the loss of a great leader and admitted many members were now in no-man's land.
"Dr Owen is too good to lose from the political scene," he said. "It is very sad there is not a place for a man like this in British politics."
Mr Griffiths, a founder member who stood for election twice in Botwell ward, Hayes, pointed out the irony that the Labour Party had now taken on policies the SDP was putting forward nine years ago.
"David Owen stayed true to his principles, unlike Labour," said Mr Griffiths, who lives in Hayes. He ruled outvoting for the only surviving centre party, the Liberal Democrats, which many of his SDP former allies joined two years ago.
"The SDP was a breath of fresh air," he said. "Others just jumped on the bandwagon. I am back to where I was before the party was formed in 1981."
Another former SDP founder member, Beryl Bell, who went along with Paddy Ashdown's new party, thought it unlikely Dr Owen would join them. "It was a democratic decision to merge," she said. "Damage has been done by some of the SDP going it alone, and there has been confusion about the names. "At first, I would have liked Dr Owen in the merged party but some now feel very bitter about him." Mrs Bell, of Leven Way, Hayes, a former Labour councillor, praised Dr Owen, Bill Rodgers, Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins for their courage in 1981.
Neville Sandelson Hayes & Harlington MP defected to the SDP
Sue Slipman (ex Communist party student) stood as SDP candidate for Hayes & Harlington and secured very poor vote (she later joined (?) the Conservative Party with Harrow West SDP and SDP LSE student organiser Daniel Finkelstein )
Sue Slipman stated at the 1987 SDP conference that "The SDP should retain the classless opportunities provided by Thatherism" and that "The SDP should civilise the Thatcherite project" and that "The SDP should be a friendly critic of Thatherism"
The SDP never secured an electoral foothold in Hayes and only one Social & Liberal Democrat Councillor in the 1980s-1990's in Tony Little in Harlington
Piara Khabra later MP for Southall and Indian Workers Association was consistently blocked from rejoining the Hayes Labour Party because of his SDP membership (he later joined in Ealing)
Hayes Labour Councillors who defected to the SDP include Bob Lewis, Ron Williams, Maggie Broughton, Beryl Bell, Jim Doel (Group Leader of SDP Councillors),
Bob Lewis was disowned by the SDP after setting up with Jim Doel a Hillingdon SDP "Think Tank" called the Tawney Society on who's behalf in September 1982 he stated
"I am disturbed by the number of immigrants coming into this country from East Africa and India....if they keep on with this steady trickle of immigrants they are going to have warfare in the streets" and Jim Doel said " We have got to accept it as a problem and redefine our attitudes to it" Ron Williams stated they had no authority to make the statement
The Hillingdon Tawney Society claimed ten members