A marriage made in Portsmouth

One of our readers came across this BBC Parliament documentary about the merger of the Liberals and the Social Democrat Party in 1987-88. It was first broadcast in 2008 to mark the 20th Anniversary.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Martin Gray 25th Nov '22 - 9:20pm

    As the years go by & leaders come & go ….
    What we wouldn’t give for him right now .

  • Mick Taylor 26th Nov '22 - 7:05am

    A real trip down memory lane. Sadly, far too many of those featured are no longer with us. As someone who did not support the merger, but ultimately stayed with the new party, I am still not sure we made the right decision. I lost my council seat after 12 years in 1988 as a result of the merger, so my view is somewhat coloured by that. As for leaders, we had two great leaders in Charles and Paddy and unfortunately none have since matched them. And yes, without the merger we wouldn’t have had Charles, so there were definitely compensations.

  • Massimo Ricciuti 26th Nov '22 - 11:57am

    Thank you, Mary. I remember something about that. I was eighteen and involved as a young activist.

  • Massimo Ricciuti 26th Nov '22 - 12:02pm

    I still remember the 1987 English political election…

  • Very interesting to watch, and it can remind us of the experiences we had.
    It is principles that liberals hold rather than the name of the party and is reflected in the local names of the parties within the ALDE family.
    I was a member of the LibDem party for 15 years until I moved from England to Wales where I realised the political differences in Wales meant that liberals would be have a choice between the UK federal LibDem party (currently led by Jane Dodd) and the existing Plaid Cymru – the party of Wales which has had a longer history of liberals, Social democrats and Greens working together for a new Wales. Both existing parties have similar everyday policies.

  • (2 continue) ->
    The only main difference is Plaid Cymru believes that the UK is cannot be reformed and has the better alternative that Wales and Scotland (and therefore England) would be better as independent nations and as members of the European family within the European Union.
    The LibDems policy depend on bringing England on board and rebuilding a new GB on a federal constitution which could take even longer to achieve.
    The 3 new independents nations (Wales, Scotland and England) applying as new members of the EU would be better as we would this time all have our own government representatives at the EU council of ministers.
    I have not ruled out a federal Britain, that could still be possible, but the Conservatives and the other extremists would have to be weak and liberalism strong in England and they are in the Celtic nations.

    Plaid Cymru has pushed the Welsh Labour govt to introduce free school meals for all children and look to introducing free meals to all under 18s, Thus extending Kirsty Williams policy on Pupil Premiums.
    Plaid Cymru wants all elections to be conducted under the Single Transferable vote, and we are looking for joint backing from Jane Dodd group.

    The combined strengths of Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal democrats would make a major force in Welsh politics for the future.

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