Tillerscast 13: the Britain of the ’60s and ’70s – an introduction

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Britain 1964-79

ONE – The 70s: where Britain went wrong  OR The Age of Opportunity, Britain 1945 -2010?

TWO – Wilson 1964-70, 1974-76, Heath 1970-74, Callaghan 1976-79

  • General Elections 1964, 1966, 1970, February 1974, October 1974: the Conservatives only won one, 1970. You can read about 1964 here,  1970 here, 1974 here and snap general elections (1966, both 1974) here
  • Harold Wilson is the only party leader since 1906 to have won four general elections

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  • Wilson is one of only four Labour leaders to have won a general election
  • Heath is the only Conservative leader since 1906 to have lost three general elections

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THREE – Economics of the madhouse?

  • Inflation, stagflation
  • Sterling 1966/67 (1967 devaluation), 1976 (IMF)
  • Unions: seamen’s strike 1966, In Place of Strife 1969, 1972 Industrial Relations Act, Miners Strikes 1972/74 (‘Who governs Britain’?), Winter of Discontent 1979

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  • Chancellors: spenders (Maudling, Barber, Healey mk 1), retrenchers (Callaghan, Jenkins, Healey mk 2)
  • Income policies: Wilson, Heath, Healey
  • The Heath U-turn of 1972
  • Oil shocks 1973, 1979
  • Taxes were high
  • The end of Keynesianism: Callaghan & paying ourselves more than we can afford
  • You can get a good overview of economic policy and the crises by reading about the chancellors: Callaghan, Jenkins, Barber, Healey

FOUR – Labour’s small majorities and minority governments

  • Wilson 1964-66, Labour 1974-79
  • You can read about the Callaghan Years here

FIVE – There were bitter internal divisions

  • Labour in government: especially 1966/67, 1969, 1975/76
  • Labour in opposition 1970-74
  • Labour & Europe
  • Labour left, especially in the late ’70s
  • Tories in 1968 (Enoch Powell), 1975 (Heath vs Thatcher)

SIX – Race was a big issue

  • Smethwick 1964
  • Rivers of Blood 1968 & Alf Garnett
  • 1968 and 1971 Immigration Acts
  • 1965, 1968 and 1976 Race Relations Acts
  • Ugandan Asians

SEVEN – The permissive society: Swinging ‘60s, 70s dystopia?

  • Sex and drugs and rock’n’roll

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  • Progressive education
  • Anarchy in the UK

EIGHT – Into Europe

  • 1967: you can read about it here
  • 1971/7: you can read about it here
  • 1975: you can read about it here and here

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NINE – World

  • East of Suez
  • Vietnam
  • The return of the Cold War

TEN – Northern Ireland

  • Robert Tombs, The English & their History or David Edgerton, The Rise & Fall of the British Nation
  • 1969 saw the deployment of British troops
  • 1972: interment, direct rule
  • The abyss: 1972 saw 496 deaths
  • In Dublin & Monaghan 1974: 33 killed, 300 injured in attacks by the Ulster Volunteer Force
  • Birmingham Pub Bombing, 1974: 21 killed, 182 injured
  • 1974 Prevention of Terrorism Act, counter-terrorism
  • Airey Neave and Lord Mountbatten murdered in 1979

ELEVEN – The good ‘70s?

  • Social mobility: Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?2235

Watch the opening credits. Can anyone work out where Terry is trying to catch the bus? The first episode also features one of my favourite one-liners, concerning Hartlepool…

There is an excellent documentary on the rivalry between Wilson and Heath:

Some books:

 

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