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 AvatarAndrew McCaig 29th Jul - 2:58pm
    Paul, well firstly our polling average is actually up a percent or two since April.. and secondly people are asked how they would vote in...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 29th Jul - 2:52pm
    @ Lorenzo, Like, Jayne, I'm sorry I have been unable to respond before. I think Jayne makes a very powerful point about Local authorities in...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 29th Jul - 2:44pm
    Matthew Huntbach 28th Jul '16 - 11:19am "everyone" is too sweeping. There is lots of land in Greater London as the previous mayor said. The...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 29th Jul - 2:17pm
    Jayne Thank you for your reply, very good to see what you have written.As you allude to two things I commented on , let me...
  • User AvatarFiona 29th Jul - 2:03pm
    Thanks for your insight Caroline. It's great to read about you getting stuck in. I imagine it must be a challenge to balance addressing the...
  • User AvatarPhil Beesley 29th Jul - 1:53pm
    I think this is a lovely exercise. The environment of the NLC will no doubt subdue the passions of historians battling over The Strange Death...