Monday, April 1, 2013

What if! David Seligman had won Cardiff West in 1983

I had read an interesting comment on Twitter this morning, which caught my eye. It concerned the 1983 general election in the UK particularly the result in Cardiff West when the Tory Stefan Telezki won the seat that had belonged to the former Speaker George Thomas (Lord Tonypandy). I remember it well. It was a unusual time, Maggie Thatcher had just won the Falkland’s war but despite that her economic policies made her as popular as VD in a “Greek knocking shop”, but the country was not the only thing that was hemorrhaging the Labour party was with the biggest schism in its history which produced the SDP, but particular the Cardiff West SDP.

If memory serves me right, Caerau councilor David Seligman was the official Labour candidate whilst the Cardiff West SDP had the former Abertillary MP, Jeffrey Thomas as their candidate. It was claimed that Thomas won votes because of his surname was same as George Thomas (somewhere I always thought was absurd) . I think the real reason the strength of the Cardiff West SDP which consisted of those in Radyr.  They campaigned hard and consisted of such people as Cllr Marion Drake and her husband Geoff (who stood in Cardiff West in 1987), Marion rejoined the Labour party (she and her husband did not join the Liberal Democrats if memory serves me right) at the rise of New Labour and Tony Blair and served in Russell Goodway’s cabinet until she lost (or retired) from her seat in 2004).

The What If is quite interesting how things would have turned out if David had won in 1983. First, there would have been no Rhodri Morgan in 1987 and perhaps no Rhodri Morgan as First Minister in 1999 and no Welsh Labour. How would have things turned out?
Those involved in that Twitter exchange decided probably not to speculate probably not it would just bring recriminations.

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1 comment:

  1. Mike

    I am Paul Seligman, David's son, and I am currently documenting (for family records) some of his memories. We've just covered this period.

    You may think that the fact the SDP candidate was called Thomas was unlikely to affect the result. I can tell you that at the 1983 election, voters left the polling stations saying to Labour tellers 'Don't worry, we've voted for George', even though he was not standing. They saw "Thomas" on the ballot paper and ticked it.It's impossible to know to what extent this affected the result.

    By the way, you shouldn't use photographs without accreditation or permission.