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 Avatarmarcstevens 9th Dec - 9:34pm
    Well if that's the case with a former cabinet minister eg Vince not portraying the right image, though I don't believe that, there are plenty...
  • User AvatarSimon Banks 9th Dec - 9:28pm
    It isn't just the losers from economic change who vote for Trump and Farage. Many people who are comfortably off, especially older people, vote against...
  • User AvatarLibcync 9th Dec - 8:57pm
    @Ric PE Long No not "everyone knows the LibDems are pro EU and have been campaigning for the ‘People’s Vote" at all. That's the point!
  • User AvatarSimon Pike 9th Dec - 8:15pm
    I suspect that the one reason why the People's Vote organisation is not emphasising the Lib Dems lies in its name - something 'of the...
  • User AvatarRobert Sayer 9th Dec - 7:49pm
    Allan..welcome to the world of politics.
  • User AvatarDavid Becket 9th Dec - 7:27pm
    @OnceALibdem At the risk of stirring the pot. I joined the party in 1991, and in 1993 was selected to stand for a strong Tory...