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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 24th Mar - 9:46am
    It's hard for a party that wants a near part-time deterrent to support this. I wouldn't make any agreement specifically about nukes, it should just...
  • User AvatarGary 24th Mar - 9:34am
    West Somerset has been something of a black hole in West Country terms, in 2015 we appear to have stood only two candidates over the...
  • User AvatarPaul Murray 24th Mar - 9:25am
    Following on from the recent Lib Dem gain in Emmbrook Ward in Wokingham Borough Council, a Conservative councillor last night crossed the floor and joined...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 24th Mar - 9:11am
    I would have included the flags of the four nations of the UK. Nationalism for these countries is not incompatible with support for the UK...
  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 24th Mar - 8:19am
    At first glance the Labour vote in Dunster could be seen as in the "mustn't grumble considering..." category until you realise that there was a...
  • User AvatarAndy Coleby 24th Mar - 6:44am
    I am quite aware of what the rampant Lloyd George known as "The Goat" back then and Mr Asquith got up to in their private...