And Robert Wingrove sent in this correction to a correction we ran last week:
Sorry, but I think David Mendelssohn got one fact wrong
and missed out on a fairly important matter.
Peter Tatchell, who he refers to as influencing the
Liberals towards a left-liberal party, was in fact a Labour candidate in 1982/3
at a by-election in Greenwich where he got beaten by the Social Democrats. Peter
Tatchell grew up in Australia.
I think David means Peter Hain who was for a time the
leader of the Young Liberals and led protests against the Springbok tour to the
UK in the early 70’s, his family had left South Africa to settle in the UK. Hain
left the Liberals to join Labour in the late 70’s; he is now a firmly Blairite
minister in the Foreign Office (so I last heard).
The Social Democrats were pretty much the brainchild of
Roy “Woy” Jenkins, who had had his own leadership ambitions in the Labour Party,
Jenkins was the party’s first leader. The SDP was then run for a number of years
by Dr David Owen aka “Doctor Death” whose main interest was in bashing Labour at
any cost as it had failed to understand what a brilliant man he was. The SDP
rump that existed (and was home to a few people who later joined the Tories),
after the merger into the Liberal Democrats, knew it was time to hand in its
papers when it got beaten by the Monster Raving Loony Party at a subsequent