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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    @Tim Hill: "And as for Stephen Campbell who is now apparently a Green Party activist, why the hell’s sake should we take any notice of...
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    We have to strike the right balance in our local plans between housing development ,a viable infrastructure ,and a qaulity environment in which to live....
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    Simon Boyd 29th Jan '15 - 8:01am Trust Lord Carlile more than the rest of the party put together. 👍👍👍👍
  • User AvatarJennie 30th Jan - 1:14pm
    What Bill said
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 30th Jan - 1:08pm
    @malc If you care to watch the videos all the way through you'll see that the Scottish one replaces some of the English vox pops...