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Toynbee vs Churchill

The Guardian was full of its characteristic self-righteousness this week over the revelation that Tory front-bencher Greg Clark, the MP for Tunbridge Wells, has suggested that Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee is a better source of ideas than Winston Churchill. (I'm not if that this has been discussed in any other papers, since I only read the Guardian, even when, as on this occasion, it annoys me.)

There is a connection between Greg Clark MP and Polly Toynbee which I did not see mentioned in the course of the discussion. Both of them were members of the Social Democratic Party (the SDP) in the 1980s; Clark was an exact contemporary of mine at Cambridge (the only vote I've ever cast in a Westminster election was for the SDP), and while I really only got involved in politics after the merger with the Liberal Party in 1988, I was aware of him as the leader of the pro-David Owen, anti-merger group of SDP students - indeed, more than aware, we got on very well on a personal level. Interestingly, Toynbee too opposed the merger. I have no idea if they knew each other in those days, but I'd be a bit surprised if one of the party's brightest student activists had had no contact at all with one of its most visible supporters in the media, especially give that this was not a massively huge party.

Polly Toynbee now sees New Labour as the true inheritor of the SDP's ideas; Greg Clark thinks it's the Conservatives under his close friend David Cameron. Myself if I were living in England, Scotland or Wales I wouldn't vote for either of them; but we all have choices to make.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 25th, 2006 09:47 am (UTC)
The matter got discussed, in a typically callow and intellectually vacuous fashion, in one of the free London rags.
Nov. 25th, 2006 09:59 am (UTC)
Ah yes, there are a couple of other survivors from our time in Cambridge circulating there.
Nov. 25th, 2006 11:29 am (UTC)
I am glad I don't live in England now. At least up here there are actual alternatives to the NuLab/Con front. ;o)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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