Tag Archives: bill rodgers

“It was a tough battle” – Shirley Williams on the birth of the SDP

Shirley Williams tells the story of the 1981 Gang of Four breakaway, which eventually led to the formation of the Liberal Democrats, in the first issue of AD LIB magazine, out next week.

“…we said, if we haven’t got anywhere else to go, we’ll create one.”

Those nascent views crystallised after the party’s 1981 Wembley conference which committed it to unilateral nuclear disarmament and withdrawal from the EEC and NATO. Within hours Williams, Owen and Rodgers were drawing up the plans which would lead to the creation of the SDP.

“The three of us met – not Roy, at that point –

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 11 Comments

YouTube ‘cos we want to: an SDP special

If the SDP had lived on*, 2009 would have marked its 18th** 28th birthday – which spurious segue is all the excuse we need to dust off three video clips tracing its rise and fall.

Let’s begin at the beginning, with the explosion of the ‘Gang of Four’ – Roy, David, Shirley and Bill – onto the scene, here holding their first press conference in March 1981:

For a year or more it really did seem as if the SDP might truly break the mould of British politics. But the party was shattered by the results of the June 1983 general election, winning only six seats. Here’s the start of the BBC’s election night results programme.

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments
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  • User AvatarStephen Hesketh 23rd Nov - 8:08am
    I have just read this entire thread and must say I am now much better informed on this topic than before. I must also say...
  • User AvatarNick Barlow 23rd Nov - 8:07am
    I think the limit comes from the ERS technology which uses the drop-down menus for voting. I've found voting in preferential ballots online a lot...
  • User Avatarmatt 23rd Nov - 8:02am
    And whatever you say about Miliband, at least he is leading his party from the front. He has not been afraid to talk about the...
  • User AvatarPhilip Young 23rd Nov - 7:52am
    On the day of the election, the papers had headlines regarding the interview that Lord Razzel gave admitting he had been approached by those willing...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 23rd Nov - 7:51am
    stuart moran Can I ask him what you actually do to make the world a better place with your ‘entrepreneurship’ – have you invented something...
  • User Avatarmatt 23rd Nov - 7:50am
    What a bunch of baloney. As I said in previous posts, it has nothing to do with what she did or did not mean by...