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A Stronger SDP?

Time Enough

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#1
So how would you get a stronger SDP in the 1980s? In particular one that’s able to hold its own against the Liberals (probably avoiding a merger as a result).

There’s always the classic ideas, Tony Benn wins the 1981 Deputy Leadership election or the Darlington By Election of 1983 goes to the SDP but are there other elements that could mean a stronger SDP (probably David Owen falls of a cliff or something).
 
#2
So how would you get a stronger SDP in the 1980s? In particular one that’s able to hold its own against the Liberals (probably avoiding a merger as a result).

There’s always the classic ideas, Tony Benn wins the 1981 Deputy Leadership election or the Darlington By Election of 1983 goes to the SDP but are there other elements that could mean a stronger SDP (probably David Owen falls of a cliff or something).
http://forum.sealionpress.co.uk/index.php?threads/wi-shirley-williams-in-warrington.1357/
 

Elektronaut

Sodomy and the Tory Tradition
#3
If you want to have an SDP that can 'hold its own' and avoid merger, why would you remove the one person who was most instinctively anti-Liberal and obsessive about the party keeping its independence? Without Owen, merger is inevitable and it would probably have happened earlier than OTL.

I don't really think it requires a lot to abort merger, but it would be a very marginal and diminished SDP that was left in such a scenario.
 

Time Enough

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#4
I don't really think it requires a lot to abort merger, but it would be a very marginal and diminished SDP that was left in such a scenario.
That's the main problem, how would you be able to have a SDP that's able to hold it's own against the Liberals and Labour? As I mentioned Benn winning the 1981 Deputy Leadership election is probably the best POD for this scenario because then you probably get Peter Mandelson and some of the other 'Modernisers' sailing over to the SDP and maybe being able to steer the party away from the Liberal embrace.

Though Owen and Mandelson in a party together sounds like a fucking nightmare in itself.
 

Elektronaut

Sodomy and the Tory Tradition
#5
That's the main problem, how would you be able to have a SDP that's able to hold it's own against the Liberals and Labour?
Under the current electoral system, you aren't. The SDP inevitably had to grow in tandem with the Liberals and even Owen's visions of a bloodlust contest for dominance foresaw an eventual return to the negotiating table between the two. There's no scenario in which the SDP is permanently taking on all comers and surviving as one of the main parties.

The route to a long-term independent SDP which is also a big party lies in the Alliance breaking the mould, changing the electoral system, and a multi-party system opening up. That's incredibly tenuous though, given it relies on the Alliance breaking through (Very unlikely, but possible) continuing to be interested in electoral reform given FPTP is now working for them (Unlikely, but possible) and then somehow getting one of the more radical electoral reform proposals passed which could open up a multi-party system. (Unlikely, but possible)
 

Milo

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#6
I think another fact to strengthen the SDP is to weaken the Tories as well, so maybe a failed Falklands and maybe a Tory split if in that scenario a wet and ineffective wet takes charge. Hard to see but for the SDP to thrive you need to weaken there enemies not just boost them.
 

Elektronaut

Sodomy and the Tory Tradition
#7
I think another fact to strengthen the SDP is to weaken the Tories as well, so maybe a failed Falklands and maybe a Tory split if in that scenario a wet and ineffective wet takes charge. Hard to see but for the SDP to thrive you need to weaken there enemies not just boost them.
It's much more important to weaken the Tories than Labour, Labour IOTL was about on its bedrock and the Alliance result is well-documented.

Tories don't really do splits, there hasn't been a major split since the Corn Laws, they do rifts, big rifts, but not splits. Certainly in a failed Falklands where Pym takes over it would be all-hands to the pump. I don't think the Alliance would really break through even in that scenario though, particularly given the Tories would have two years to recover from it. People expected Suez to be huge in '59, it wasn't.
 

Meadow

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#8
Iain's Election '84 TL is a great wheeze on the subject of A Falklands Catastrophe and yes, the Alliance ends up doing very well.

PODs within that world could possibly be a route to an SDP with a stronger identity that holds off the Liberals – note that Steel is the PM-Designate rather than Jenkins but you could play around with the backroom stuff that led to that in Iain's setting, maybe? IIRC the big thing is that SDP stops taking defector MPs from the Tories after a certain point because it's obvious they could end up completely entryist-ed.

This is all at the more extreme end and hopefully you don't have to kill a lot of British sailors just to make David Owen more of a thing, but there it is.
 

SenatorChickpea

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#9
Iain's Election '84 TL is a great wheeze on the subject of A Falklands Catastrophe and yes, the Alliance ends up doing very well.
Just read that, and it's a lovely little read.

Mind you, 2014 was a foreign country- you think anyone would do an early eighties election night timeline now without mentioning the young candidate for Islington North?
 

iainbhx

Nicht mein Zirkus, nicht meine Affen.
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#10
Just read that, and it's a lovely little read.

Mind you, 2014 was a foreign country- you think anyone would do an early eighties election night timeline now without mentioning the young candidate for Islington North?
I can't remember if I did mention it, but Islington North was worth a drive-by because of the SDP on SDP action in the seat.
 

Alex Richards

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#11
Just read that, and it's a lovely little read.

Mind you, 2014 was a foreign country- you think anyone would do an early eighties election night timeline now without mentioning the young candidate for Islington North?
Thande's done similar with his Partying/Kippery Slope duo when the slight unreality is heightened by the Beeb presenters making comment about things that would seem surprising in the modern day but were just 'well, yes' then.