Who is the Bill Rodgers of The Independent Group?

The Gang of Four from the SDP - Shirely Williams, David Owen, Roy Jenkins and Bill Rodgers

My favourite title for political memoirs is the self-deprecatingly titled Fourth Among Equals. It is by Bill Rodgers, the lesser known of the Gang of Four who launched the SDP along with Shirley Williams, Roy Jenkins and David Owen.

His lower profile did not, however, reflect a lack of importance. Far from it. He was crucial to the creation of the SDP, but in a way largely out of the public eye. He was the political organiser of the gang, using organisational skills honed in campaigning such as for Britain’s membership of Europe in the 1970s.

Such skills are often under-appreciated not only because they are out of the public eye but also because the fruits of relentless organisational competence attract little attention. As with functioning sewage systems, it’s only when you don’t have them that you really notice.

All of which makes me wonder who is the Bill Rodgers for The Independent Group? Both from what I know of its members so far and from what can be seen in its organisation so far, it is far from clear they have one.

For the moment that may pass without notice. For the moment it may appear unnecessary.

But only for the moment.

6 responses to “Who is the Bill Rodgers of The Independent Group?”

  1. Could be Shuker from Luton. He is the sole director of the company that takes donations for TIG, and their website was designed by a company based in Luton. This info from an online article, so should be checked.

  2. I am more concerned about which one is the David Owen equivalent. He arguably stymied the cooperation between the Liberals and the SDP and destroyed the chances of the merger leading to an historic breakthrough. I worry that Chuka Umunna has David Owen like tendencies.

  3. I just hope that they don’t allow themselves to get sidetracked, for example, one Lab MP considering joining them ‘if they would first declare their position on Trident’. It would be dangerous and divisive to set any policy that will cut across the common principles that they have already declared. They should focus first on renewing and reforming our democracy, at present we don’t have one.. When we have done all that THEN we can have a whole conversation about the place of this little island in the world, and then, after that, the role of nuclear..

  4. No one of that calibre and experience in TGI. They may be pulled in all directions I fear. And they could do us damage short term. But, if they get going, they may change the tribalism of the 1st-past-the post system and allow for the PR to be considered. And they may detoxify Lib Dem brand medium to long term if they are even modestly successful in simultaneously challenging Tories and Labour.

  5. I cannot see chain UK being around for long .. 5 years MAX .. they are not underpinned by a philosophy, so a ‘Bill Rodgers’ probably not needed 🙂

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