Tag Archives: david owen

In pictures: Leaders from the archives

Just delving about in the Getty Images archive, I happened upon these great images of our current leader and some of our past leaders*. Please click on the images to read the captions.

* includes predecessor parties.

Posted in Photo feature | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 2 Comments

“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 –

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Do the Lib Dems have a core vote, and can we grow it?

Is it possible to build a bigger Lib Dem core vote? Mark Pack has previously written here on the need for the party to adopt a ‘core vote’ strategy to protect the party from the adverse headwinds of the next election. I don’t disagree with the aim, I’m just not sure of its realism. Here’s why.

What do we mean by a ‘core vote’?

First, let’s define what’s meant by a ‘core vote’: voters who identify with the party and stick with it through the bad times as well as the good. Traditionally this identification has tended to be class-based: working-class …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 49 Comments

Opinion: Why are we waiting?

We have played the waiting game before. It didn’t work in the 1980s, and it won’t work now.

In the 1983 Election, the Alliance reached a high water mark with a 26% vote. But there was discord. The Liberals, who won most seats, felt they should take the lead. The SDP, with their heavyweight experience, saw things differently. Problems grew when Owen took over, refused to collaborate properly, and set out to undermine theAlliancefrom within. A stalemate developed, and a waiting game began.

The Alliance announced to a stunned public that two-headed leadership was the new future. Their slogan “Not Left, Not …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 65 Comments

Opinion: The Flawed Logic of No to AV, Yes to PR

As a supporter and campaigner for a Yes vote in the referendum on the 5th of May, I have often faced the argument that, “I support a proportional system, but AV is not proportional, so I will be voting No”. A prima facie logical argument – if you do not like AV, then why on earth would you vote for it? Big names in the world of electoral reform have signed up to this “No to AV, Yes to PR” ethos, including Lord David Owen, one of the Gang of Four. According to the No to AV, Yes to

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 26 Comments

Chris Rennard writes… Why David Owen is wrong on the AV referendum

David Owen chose the weekend of the Lib Dem Conference to offer his advice for the AV referendum. Having attacked the ‘First Past the Post’ voting system so vociferously for many years, it may seem odd to some people that he now urges support for this system on May 5th. He says that he hopes for a referendum with an option of a Proportional Representation system instead.

Almost all those people who have consistently supported the cause of electoral reform for much longer than he has take a different view. It is very clear that voting against change on May …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 32 Comments

David Owen: Lib Dems should “campaign for a role in a government of national unity”

To be a fair, a former Labour minister, ex-SDP leader and Tory voter is probably the natural person to advocate a national unity government – and that’s exactly what David Owen has done today in an article in The Times:

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, and his deputy, Vince Cable, need to position themselves as ready to shoulder the burden of responsibility for hard economic choices, and help to provide, with one of the big parties, the principled, practical government that the country so sorely needs. That means talking to voters about participating in a government of national unity.

The

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    Dear Rebecca, As I was a Politics student and Union of Liberal Students member at Leeds University in 1966 I read your article with delight,...
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    The article is overblown, the responses almost measured in comparison. The policy is a compromise. Yes those to the left of Ho Chi Min and...
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    @Glenn - The trouble is that 'business' also includes the workers. Remember just how many of trade union call to arms has been about the...
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    @ Richard Underhill Yes, indeed. In fact why have a party at all ? It only causes vexation .