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 AvatarConor McGovern 26th Sep - 4:22pm
    Great stuff. With a snap election potentially round the corner, I'm wondering where our policy is. Groups like ALTER help point the way - I...
  • User AvatarJock Coats 26th Sep - 4:19pm
    It really doesn't. It makes the same land more productive by increasing the capital improvements on it. And splits the rental value of the same...
  • User AvatarChristopher Haigh 26th Sep - 4:14pm
    @peterwatson yes I agree with you. But the centrist position is not soggy. Liberal Democrat ideology should simply be to run a modern economy in...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 26th Sep - 4:01pm
    Weimar Germany? (and the Menshevik revolution in Russia) need to be considered in context. Treasury advisor John Maynard Keynes said that Germany would not be...
  • User AvatarNick Collins 26th Sep - 3:50pm
    @ David Beckett. Some of us saw it coming rather sooner than that: in May 2010 to be exact. Sadly, we were in a very...
  • User AvatarDave Orbison 26th Sep - 3:42pm
    @ Dave Allen - thanks I appreciate your comments. I share pretty much Jayne Mansfield's views. Of course I accept Blair's Govt did lots of...