Alan Sked FRHistS (born 22 August 1947) is a British academic and politician. He is Professor Emeritus of International History at the London School of Economics, founded the party now known as the UK Independence Party and has stood as a candidate in several parliamentary elections.
Alan Sked talking to the Sewell-Hohler Syndicate in June 2018
|Leader of New Deal|
13 September 2013 – March 2015
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Leader of the UK Independence Party|
3 September 1993 – May 1997
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Craig Mackinlay (acting)|
|Born||22 August 1947|
Cathcart, Glasgow, Scotland
Sked's doctoral supervisor at Oxford was A. J. P. Taylor, who was a major influence on him. In particular, Sked's writings on the Habsburg Monarchy owe much to Taylor, although their interpretations are very different. In addition to writing on Habsburg history, he has written texts on British political and European history. His books have been translated into German, Italian, Czech, Portuguese, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.
At LSE he taught courses on US and modern intellectual history, and on the history of sex, race and slavery. He retired in 2015, and as of January 2018 is an Emeritus Professor in the LSE's Department of International History. Sked is a member of the British-American Project, which exists to promote Britain's political ties to the US.
In the 1970 general election he stood at Paisley as a candidate for the Liberal Party (which later combined with the SDP to form the Liberal Democrats), but later rejected the party's support for what would become the European Union (EU). He served for ten years (1980–1990) as Convenor of European Studies, a postgraduate MA programme at LSE, where he examined many theses on the EU and served as joint chairman of LSE's European Research Seminar. He came to believe that the EU was corrupt and anti-democratic, and a liability to the British economy. He was a founding member of the Bruges Group and remained a member until 1991, when he was expelled by its executive committee. This was because in November 1991 he had founded the Anti-Federalist League (AFL), an anti-EU political party that ran candidates, including Sked, in the 1992 general election, when he contested Bath.
In 1993, Sked stood in two parliamentary by-elections; one at Newbury, where he shared a platform with Enoch Powell, who spoke in his support, and a second, soon after, at Christchurch. On both occasions he came fourth after the major parties (there were 19 candidates at Newbury). Encouraged by these results, the AFL changed its name that September to the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Sked, however, resigned the leadership shortly after the 1997 general election, citing party factionalism and the growing influence of radical, far-right opinion in the party's ranks, saying that it was "doomed to remain on the political fringes". He also opposed its plan to take up places in the European Parliament if seats should be won there, wanting all party efforts to be concentrated on the UK Parliament.
Shortly before each subsequent national election (1999, 2001 and 2004) he published articles accusing UKIP of extremism and incompetence. A few days before the 2004 election to the European Parliament, in which UKIP increased its representation from three to twelve seats, he criticised his former party in a national newspaper, saying, "They are racist and have been infected by the far-right." He also went on record as saying, "UKIP is even less liberal than the British National Party (BNP). Certainly, there is a symbiosis between elements of the parties," and, "UKIP's MEPs are a standing joke at Strasbourg, where their attendance record, even by the standards of most MEPs, is relatively poor and where, according to independent research by the European Studies centre at the London School of Economics, the three often vote in different ways on the same issue."
In 2003, just before the Iraq War, he wrote that opposition to the militaristic foreign policy of George W. Bush within Europe was not born of principle, but rather stemmed "largely from jealousy of the United States" and a purported knowledge that European countries, united or otherwise, "have no military, diplomatic, moral or economic resources with which to challenge the United States".
In September 2013, he founded New Deal, a political party described as "a new left-of-centre, anti-EU party which he hopes will challenge Labour", and appeared on the BBC TV Daily Politics show to discuss it. New Deal was de-registered in 2015, having never fielded a single candidate in any election.
After the 2014 European Parliament electionsEdit
Following the 2014 European elections, he further criticised UKIP as "Frankenstein's monster" and said that he intended to stand against the Labour leader Ed Miliband in the 2015 general election. He also described his former UKIP colleague Nigel Farage as a "dim-witted racist".
"After I stepped down to return to academic life, however, the party came under control of a preposterous mountebank named Nigel Farage, who reoriented it to the far right. The clause about a lack of prejudices was abolished and all sorts of nasty statements were made against blacks, Muslims and gays. Former members of the National Front were allowed to work for the party or become candidates. The party itself has deliquesced into a cult around Farage, whose electoral failure in 2015 has made him an object of scorn in the media and prompted his financial backers to desert him. Farage has become a convenient figure with which to frighten moderate voters about the consequences of fulfilling my party’s original mission—withdrawal from the European Union."
Sked announced in early December 2018 the founding of the political party, Prosper UK. The party split from UKIP following Tommy Robinson's admission as a special advisor to the current leader Gerard Batten, as a eurosceptic alternative in response to perceived radical elements growing within the party. Sked will prevent former leader and prominent eurosceptic Nigel Farage from entering as he has not maintained contact with him for some time, later also branding him a 'brextremist.'
UK Parliament elections
|Date of election||Constituency||Party||Votes||%|
|1970 general election||Paisley||Liberal||2,918||6.2|
|1992 general election||Bath||Anti-Federalist League||117||0.2|
|1993 by-election||Newbury||Anti-Federalist League||601||1.0|
|1993 by-election||Christchurch||Anti-Federalist League||878||1.6|
|1997 general election||Romsey||UK Independence Party||1,824||3.5|
- Sked, A. & Cook, C. (eds.) (1976) Crisis and Controversy: Essays in Honour of A.J.P. Taylor. (London: Macmillan) ISBN 0-333-18635-4.
- Sked, A. & Cook, C. (1979) Post-war Britain: A political history
- Sked, A. (1979) The Survival of the Habsburg Empire: Radetzky, the imperial army and the class war, 1848. (London: Longmans) ISBN 0-582-50711-1.
- Sked, A. (1987) Britain's decline: problems and perspectives. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell) ISBN 0-631-15084-6.
- Sked, A. & Cook, C. (1993) Post-war Britain: a political history (1945–1992). (4th ed.) (Harmondsworth: Penguin) ISBN 0-14-017912-7.
- Sked, A. (2001) The Decline and Fall of the Habsburg Empire, 1815–1918. (2nd ed.) (London: Longman) ISBN 0-582-35666-0.
- Sked, A. (2007), Metternich and Austria: An Evaluation. (London: Palgrave MacMillan) ISBN 1-4039-9114-6
- Sked, A. (2011) Radetzky. Imperial Victor and Military Genius. (London: I.B. Tauris)
- "Professor Alan Sked". lse.ac.uk. London School of Economics. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
- Andy Beckett (6 November 2004). "Friends in high places". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
- "British American Project". Sourcewatch. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
- "Scottish election: UK Independence Party profile". BBC News. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- The 1975 Referendum on Europe, Vol. I: Reflections of the Participants, Mark Baimbridge (ed), Exeter, 2007: article "Reflections of a Eurosceptic", Alan Sked, pp. 140–147 (imprint-academic.com)
- Sked 2003.
- "UKIP founder Alan Sked launches New Deal party". BBC News. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- Malik, Shiv (8 September 2013). "Ukip founder creates new leftwing anti-EU party". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- Stuart Jeffries (26 May 2014). "Ukip founder Alan Sked: 'The party has become a Frankenstein's monster'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
- "The Case for Brexit". The National Interest. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
- "Ukip Founder Announces New Political Party, But Won't Let Farage In". LBC.
- UK General Election results 1970, politicsresources.net. Retrieved 14 October 2014
- The Guardian, 11 April 1992
- Constituency profile: Newbury, The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2014
- Constituency profile: Christchurch, The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2014
- Romsey (Archive), politicsresources.net. Retrieved 23 June 2016