The 25th anniversary of the Limehouse Declaration this week has recalled to mind a conversation I had with Dr David Owen at a lunch in Westminster a few years back.
Asked whether he thought that he would have become Prime Minister had he stayed in the Labour Party, he replied: "Oh, there isn't a shadow of doubt about that."
You have to admire the man's self-belief, but I think in this instance it was misplaced. Owen may have been a Blairite before Blair - but Blairism's time had not yet come.
I look at the history and legacy of the SDP in greater detail in this column.