SDP

SDP : The Birth, Life, and Death of the Social Democratic Party

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Description

Launched on a wave of euphoria in 1981, the SDP aroused the hopes and enthusiasm of millions of people. Promising to break the mould of British politics, its leaders included four of the most respected figures in British public life - Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers, and Shirley Williams.

But the SDP failed. Despite winning with the Liberals a quarter of the vote in two general elections, by the autumn of 1987 it had disintegrated amidst acrimony and bitter in-fighting.

This book, based on unprecedented access to the SDP's archive and extensive interviews with all the leading players, chronicles the party's short but turbulent history and analyses in detail the reasons for its early success and its ultimate demise.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 636 pages
  • 158 x 237 x 43mm | 1,164g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 12 pp plates, line figures, tables
  • 0198280505
  • 9780198280507

Back cover copy

Launched on a wave of euphoria in 1981, the SDP aroused the hopes and enthusiasm of millions of people. Promising to break the mould of British politics, its leaders included four of the most respected figures in British public life - Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers. But the SDP failed. Despite winning, with the Liberals, a quarter of the vote in two general elections, by the autumn of 1987 it had disintegrated amidst acrimony and bitter infighting. This book, based on unprecedented access to the SDP's archive, analyses in detail the reasons for its early success and its ultimate demise.
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Table of contents

Pre-history: 1964-1979 ; The Gang of Three ; Jenkins and the Jenkinsites ; Anguish: 'Severe Mental Pain' ; Born in Despair ; Defectors and Loyalists ; What Kind of Party? And Whose? ; The Golden Age: March - December 1981 ; Jenkins as Leader: 1982-3 ; A 'Partnership of Principle' ; Disappointment: June 1983 ; New Institutions for a New Party ; Machinery, Members, and Money ; A 'Media Party'? ; The Party of a New Class ; The SDP, The Alliance, and the Electorate ; The Owen Ascendency I: 1983-5 ; The Owen Ascendency II: 1985-7 ; Humiliation: June 1987 ; The SDP Disintegrates: 1987-8 ; Of Merger and a Dead Parrot ; Who Was to Blame? ; SDP: A Study in Failure ; Epilogue
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Review quote

Our two professors ... write clearly, sometimes wittily and without academic jargon. They are masters of their material. * Douglas Hurd, Daily Telegraph * This brilliant history - definitively researched, graced with wit, insight and countless pungent anecdotes * Gerald Kaufman, Sunday Telegraph * If there were a Booker Prize for social sciences, here would be the obvious nomination. * Kenneth O. Morgan, New Statesman * Professors Crewe and King have produced a masterpiece of contemporary history. They marshal complex arguments and masses of detail with the art that conceals art. Their narrative sweeps forward with captivating energy and style, and bristles with mordant phrases. * David Marquand, Observer * This study of the SDP is a classic of its kind, accurate, detailed, perceptive, mercilessly honest. * Shirley Williams, Times Higher Education Supplement * It is British political science at its best, combining intimate knowledge of the players with a firm grasp of the numbers, all gracefully and thoughtfully presented. * Nelson W. Polsby, Choice *
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About Ivor Crewe

Ivor Crewe and Anthony King are Professors of Government at the University of Essex, and frequent contributors to the national media.

Ivor Crewe directed the British Election Study from 1973 until 1981 and is now Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex. His books include Decade of Dealignment (with Bo Sarlvik) and The British Electorate 1963-1992 (with Anthony Fox and Neil Day). He is well known as a political commentator on television and radio and writes for the Guardian and the Observer.

Anthony King has been Professor of Government at the University of Essex since 1969. His books include Westminster and Beyond (with Anne Sloman), British Members of Parliament: A Self-Portrait and Britain Says Yes: The 1975 Referendum on the Common Market. He analyses the Gallup Poll for the Daily Telegraph and appears frequently as an election commentator on BBC Television. Since 1994 he has been a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the
Nolan Committee).
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Rating details

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