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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The S.D.P. and I.R.A. Hunger Strikes
In 1981 David Owen, Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams and William Rodgers formed the Council for Social Democracy or the Social Democratic Party as became known.

In the Maze prison in Northern Ireland Bobby Sands began his hunger strike. His and other IRA prisoners' demands were to be treated as prisoners of war rather than criminals and to be separated from Unionists. Margaret Thatcher refused to make concessions. Bobby Sands died in May 1981 and the IRA bombing campaign was renewed with Margaret Thatcher being the prime target.

Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

  • Born in Illinois
  • Studied economics at Eureka College, Illinois
  • Worked as a sports journalist
  • Warner Brothers signed him and he moved to Hollywood
  • Starred in more than 50 films
  • Married twice, both times to actresses
  • Joined the Republicans in 1962
  • Became governor of California in 1966
  • Inaugurated as the 40th President of the United States in 1981
  • Elected for a second term in 1984

did you know?
In 1971 the first reports of a disease or syndrome was identified which would later be called HIV/AIDS.

Attempted Assassinations - 1981
On March 30th 1981 the 70-year-old US President Ronald Reagan was shot by a disc jockey called John Hinckley III. Reagan recovered and went on to serve not only the rest of his term but a second term as President of the United States.

In the same year, Pope John-Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca, in St Peter's Square. Four bullets hit Pope John-Paul. For a long time there was a belief that the Pope's would-be assassin had been financed by the KGB. There were some who would even link the attempted assassination to the idea that with the Pope dead, the Polish Solidarity movement would lose its most visible international champion.

President Anwar Sadat, who always understood the price of making peace with Israel, was assassinated during a military parade when gunmen swerved from the line and stormed his podium.

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1975 The Sex Discrimination Act is passed
1976 Wilson retires and Callaghan becomes Prime Minister (Labour)
Race Relations Act is passed
Concorde makes its first passenger flight
1977 Jimmy Carter becomes President of the USA
1978 Karol Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Minister (Conservative)
1980 Southern Rhodesia independent and changes its name to Zimbabwe
1981 Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer
1982 Britain defeats Argentina in the Falklands War
1983 Margaret Thatcher wins the General Election (Conservative)
1984 Indira Gandhi of India assassinated
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of USSR
1986Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to visit China

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