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 AvatarTechnicalEphemera 26th Mar - 7:08pm
    A grubby shambles and as such a fitting full stop for this obscenity of a government to end on. The fact that the Lib Dems...
  • User Avatarmalcolm blount 26th Mar - 7:05pm
    generally speaking productivity growth falls with increasing economic activity in a purely cyclical upturn cos the factors of production coming back on stream are of...
  • User AvatarTom Papworth 26th Mar - 7:00pm
    BTW Jack/George, the whole of chapter 6 is devoted to answering your point.
  • User AvatarTom Papworth 26th Mar - 6:58pm
    Jack and George, The point is that that spare capacity would be being used if it were possible to relocate demand from London to other...
  • User Avatartonyhill 26th Mar - 6:48pm
    I think the number of species cited must be wrong - an ecosystem in an area like this would have many more than 80 species.
  • User Avatarmalcolm blount 26th Mar - 6:47pm
    a good tax avoids distorting economic activity--more easily said than done--& the incidence of taxation (who actually bears it) is not always obvious eg stamp...
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