‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Friday, 28 September 2012

UKIP not happy with latest Tory defectors

Two Tory councillors defected to UKIP this week, in the wake of Lord Stevens’ conversion. They were greeted with the warning from UKIP member Andrew Cadman that they

‘risk infecting our party with the kind of chancers and careerists who have ruined the other three big parties’.

Describing his new colleagues as ‘chancers and careerists’ may sound harsh, but history does support Cadman’s view. More defectors leave their old party for better prospects than for any other reason. Defectors, on average, do improve their career prospects, often at the expense of existing loyal members of their new party.  Defectors also tend to be wealthier and better educated than loyalists, not necessarily endearing features in the eyes of their new colleagues.

The pattern of defections carries on, much as it has done for the last century, as charted in Defectors and the Liberal Party 1910-2010.

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