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How Can You Get A SDP style split of the Labour Left?

Time Enough

"Enthusiastic Cis Male Partner"
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How could gain a SDP style split of the Labour Left, because it seems rather hard, since it seems much of the Labour Left have an intense loyalty to Labour despite it all. But with a POD no earlier than (let's say) 1955 how could you have a SDP style split of the Labour Left?

Does Gaitskell managing to scrap Clause 4 lead to some of the Bevanites leaving?

Does Harold Wilson winning in 1970 eventually lead to a earlier push against Militant and the Left?

etc.
 

Time Enough

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I think you'd have to push out unions, since that's an integral part of Labour the party left is unlikely to want to be separated from. But if some of the unions consider leaving, I could see politicians following maybe?
Indeed, you'd need some of the big ones to do it. But how do you do that? Maybe if someone like Jenkins or Owen gets in control and tries to bulldoze them aside?
 

Nyvis

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Indeed, you'd need some of the big ones to do it. But how do you do that? Maybe if someone like Jenkins or Owen gets in control and tries to bulldoze them aside?
Welp that's where I stop being useful. I don't know enough about the intricacies of British parliamentary politics to tell you more. I'm sure there's plenty of people who do here though considering this is SLP!
 

bd_roberts

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I think you'd have to push out unions, since that's an integral part of Labour the party left is unlikely to want to be separated from. But if some of the unions consider leaving, I could see politicians following maybe?
OTL, Scargill tried to do something like that. He set up the Socialist Labour Party in opposition to Blair.

Imo, I think the problem with this premise is that unlike the SDP, any split of the Labour left is practically doomed to fail (like the aforemention SLP). There just isn't really much of an untapped voter base for them to unlock; unlike the SDP, which was able to draw on centrist and centre-right voters who were dissatisfied with right-wing Thatcherism and left-wing Footism.

That being said, I could think of a few instances where the Labour left might split; again, unlikely they'd be successful. Jenkins as party leader is unlikely but not impossible; though I think the breaking point would be less from a dispute over trade unions - given you had the more moderate ones that were actually hostile to the Labour left - and more from something to do with Europe. A Jenkins premiership which tries to position Labour as "the Party of Europe" could lead to a hostile reaction from the party left, which was at that point generally Eurosceptic. Could this lead to a split? If Jenkins made it his hill to die on then I could certainly see that happening, especially if Conference endorses a Eurosceptic motion that contradicts the leadership.

This is all of course just speculation, though!
 

Meadow

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It’s a bit boring, but OTL 2021 may well force this. Certainly an even more overt left purge by Starmer, so a POD earlier this year, could have seen something like this perhaps already begin to be talked about seriously, a la the many months of setup for TIG’s damp squib.

I agree that the Labour left pre-Corbyn would not go for this. They just didn’t ever seem to see the point. Now, though, having seen that they have more support than they thought and were capable of getting within spitting distance of the levers of power, I think there’s a different mood in the air. I can see some attempt at a big split and a new party, perhaps in the aftermath of a leadership challenge, certainly with a POD of Starmer being even less subtle about purging the Corbyn-era membership.

It doesn’t matter that they would have a ceiling of 20% and would likely go the way of the SDP within a generation (perhaps UKIP-folding-back-into-the-Tories, or Canada’s unite the right movement, is the more appropriate comparison because they would likely merge with the party they split from). What matters is whether it could be attempted, and I think this is a rare case of something probably remaining implausible in the past without big PODs, but becoming more possible as time goes by in the present day. I’m reminded of a thread in the other place, in about 2013-2014, that asked about the possibilities of a Socialist Campaign Group MP winning the Labour leadership. It was broadly laughed out of the room.
 

Time Enough

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What matters is whether it could be attempted, and I think this is a rare case of something probably remaining implausible in the past without big PODs, but becoming more possible as time goes by in the present day.
Yeah, the only ways I can see it happening is Clause 4 being scrapped at some point or if Roy Jenkins became leader and bollocked Tony Benn or something. But it's weird to think, if the Left gets control at some point and then are pushed out after some relative success, well I could see some going 'We're going to create our own Labour Left Party with Blackjack and Hookers'.

We're going to have some fun timelines in the future where Corbyn and Co just fuck off from Labour or something aren't we?
 

Comisario

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It doesn’t matter that they would have a ceiling of 20% and would likely go the way of the SDP within a generation (perhaps UKIP-folding-back-into-the-Tories, or Canada’s unite the right movement, is the more appropriate comparison because they would likely merge with the party they split from). What matters is whether it could be attempted, and I think this is a rare case of something probably remaining implausible in the past without big PODs, but becoming more possible as time goes by in the present day. I’m reminded of a thread in the other place, in about 2013-2014, that asked about the possibilities of a Socialist Campaign Group MP winning the Labour leadership. It was broadly laughed out of the room.
This thread of mine is very vintage.
 

Nyvis

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I think an interesting path would be someone without Corbyn's specific baggage or a better ability to play the media being the left's standard bearer, doing about as well against May but hemorrhaging less seats against Johnson leading to a bigger fight to remove them and a stronger left wing in the leadership election that still loses but in a much less decisive fashion, leading to a break when Starmer can't hold the house together and is felt to be soft on the Tories fucking up covid.

Without the antisemitism issue taking the scale it did, the main attack against the left would be "you're too left wing" and that's a better recipe for them packing their bags.
 

Elektronaut

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I don't really think it's an issue of loyalty, more that the conditions IOTL weren't met. Though they weren't real splits per se, Blair's tenure did produce relative fruitfulness in the form of the SSP and Respect. More than one or two former MPs did quit the party, and there was a sense post-Iraq that the party was in a bad state. So I think the right conditions could produce this.

I think there's probably a timeline where the post-sixties growth of the new left rubs up against a fairly Gaitskellised party and concludes that it's not the apppropriate vehicle. I don't think it takes a huge amount of imagination to see all that growth going somewhere else had it been firmly blocked in Labour, unlike OTL where it was basically open doors.

Think the highly doubtful responses from Owen et al still totally hold up. The electoral college would surely have prevented McDonnell from coming anywhere close to winning, in concert with the Blair-era membership composition - who David Milliband won more comfortably than the MPs section in 2010. MPs would have been massively against him, and a good few unions had been waiting for Brown to take over for years.

It's anachronistic to believe that because Corbyn, therefore any campaign group group candidate at any time. Corbyn was a product of a situation in Labour coming together with a specific system in place at the time. No-one did predict it because it was unpredictable.
 

Charles EP M.

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I'm thinking, as Nyvis said, the big problem with a SPD-but-left split is you need at least some of the unions, because that was the big thing about Labour. And will an appropriate Gang of Four leave without a union or two coming?

That's if it happens in the past, you can get one with a near-future "Corbyn or MP's We Have Heard Of" split and that might bring a union with them, like Unite. Assuming they want to split. (But they could threaten to do it and then get their bluff called and it happens)
 

RyanF

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I'm thinking, as Nyvis said, the big problem with a SPD-but-left split is you need at least some of the unions, because that was the big thing about Labour. And will an appropriate Gang of Four leave without a union or two coming?
Maybe some of the unions go and take MPs with them rather than the other way about?
 

Comisario

Hello Tony, I am 1952
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Think the highly doubtful responses from Owen et al still totally hold up. The electoral college would surely have prevented McDonnell from coming anywhere close to winning, in concert with the Blair-era membership composition - who David Milliband won more comfortably than the MPs section in 2010. MPs would have been massively against him, and a good few unions had been waiting for Brown to take over for years.
Yeah, many of the points made there are basically good. It was highly unlikely prior to the internal electoral reforms and without the 2008 financial crash having occurred, at the very least.

I remember being perplexed as to why everyone was going “well, it wouldn’t have happened, so?” though @The Red was really helpful answering the question I had actually asked.
 

Nyvis

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I don't really think it's an issue of loyalty, more that the conditions IOTL weren't met. Though they weren't real splits per se, Blair's tenure did produce relative fruitfulness in the form of the SSP and Respect. More than one or two former MPs did quit the party, and there was a sense post-Iraq that the party was in a bad state. So I think the right conditions could produce this.

I think there's probably a timeline where the post-sixties growth of the new left rubs up against a fairly Gaitskellised party and concludes that it's not the apppropriate vehicle. I don't think it takes a huge amount of imagination to see all that growth going somewhere else had it been firmly blocked in Labour, unlike OTL where it was basically open doors.
But then it's not really a split, it's more of an organic growth outside the party, even if it would be interesting to explore.
 

Elektronaut

Opinions from the Student Union
But then it's not really a split, it's more of an organic growth outside the party, even if it would be interesting to explore.
My point was you likely need success outside the party as a precondition for a split. The SDP had a backstory going back at least a decade before the actual split. You can throw in things like Dick Taverne's by-election, the Liberal success in '74 - maybe even the SNP breakthroughs - and the like as electoral paving events.

I don't think a serious split from the left is going to happen without some indication of electoral viability beforehand. By the same token I think all the notions of the unions leading the way is putting the cart before the horse. I think only if the alternative is proven would any of the unions even think about abandoning their institutional status in Labour. There were, after all, unions firmly lead from the right when the SDP went and they didn't move.
 
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