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 AvatarStephen Campbell 1st Oct - 12:58pm
    @John Roffey & @Matthew Huntbach are entirely correct in their assessment of corporate power. Many multinational corporations do indeed hold more power than many nation...
  • User AvatarDavid Evershed 1st Oct - 12:56pm
    At least some 71 UK teachers are researching why Chinese children do better than British children. See https://www.ncetm.org.uk/news/45671 There will also be an exchange between...
  • User AvatarRC 1st Oct - 12:49pm
    "What you say about the NE economy would turn people (sorry, already has turned people) there against us, not in favour." Why? "The direction of...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 1st Oct - 12:21pm
    David A - it's a bit of jump to infer that I am saying everyone is right. In fact I think people who are better...
  • User AvatarDavid Allen 1st Oct - 12:15pm
    The clever right-wing trick is to take some old-style radical liberal language from past times, such as "the stifling hand of Whitehall", and traduce it....
  • User AvatarJohn Roffey 1st Oct - 12:13pm
    @ Kelly-Marie Blundell Matt has pointed out why the coalition has effectively ended [apart from perhaps supporting a few measures agreed to in the past]....