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



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 26th Jul - 9:50am
    I was impressed by Farron's speech. I like politicians like Farron and Cable, but I still feel the radical wing of the Social Liberal Forum...
  • User Avatarjedibeeftrix 26th Jul - 9:46am
    @ MH & JO - fascinting line of debate, please do respond to Matthew, Joe, he is making some interesting points. @ AndrewR - "An...
  • User AvatarAndrewR 26th Jul - 9:35am
    Jeremy is suggesting 35% to 38%, on the basis of some comparisons with other countries. China/India too low; France too high, etc. Austrialia, UK 1997-2001...
  • User AvatarTony Rowan-Wicks 26th Jul - 8:56am
    I'm not getting the 'fairer society' part at all. LD parliamentarians have been totally overwhelmed by Tory proposals - and [many not all] voted for...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 26th Jul - 8:55am
    Joe Otten Jeremy is suggesting 35% to 38%, on the basis of some comparisons with other countries. China/India too low; France too high, etc. Austrialia,...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 26th Jul - 8:50am
    Although, I'll say I am in favour of a bit of speaking out, but lots of demonising plus little action from the police are two...