Holding together working- and middle-class voters has been Labour’s historic Achilles’ heel. Can Keir Starmer do what Clement Attlee couldn’t in 1950? In April 1946, the Attorney General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, told Conservative MPs in a Commons debate, “We are the masters” and will be “for a long time to come”. Labour had just become … Continue reading Masters No More Masters Clement Attlee and the ‘Revolt of the Suburbs’
“Austerity is repealed for a day as Britons swarm to the pubs” The story of 1966 – the last time England were in a major a final Harold Wilson launched the tournament at a meeting of FIFA in London and claimed England had a good chance of winning. “England are playing together as a team. … Continue reading Route 66: Have you noticed how we only win the World Cup under a Labour government?
BY PAUL RICHARDS The leafy lanes and pretty Chiltern villages surrounding Chesham and Amersham are not immediately redolent of Labour history. Swan Bottom is a long way from Clydeside, and Cholesbury is no Tolpuddle. Yet growing up in the area, I was always fascinated by the stories of three Labour titans who were drawn to … Continue reading Three Lights Shining in Buckinghamshire
The Great Debate about education is a fascinating episode, both in the context of James Callaghan's Premiership and the ongoing argument about the purpose and practice of education. BY MARK WILLIAMS The Great Debate can be seen as a sequence of events, running from late 1976 to 1977. The critical moment was Callaghan's high-profile speech … Continue reading Back to School: Labour and the Great Education Debate
In the 1970s, the Daily Mail “outed” Maureen Colquhoun – making her the first openly lesbian MP in British political history. But she wasn’t accepted in society so easily. Maureen Colquhoun was born on 12 August 1928 and joined the Labour Party aged 18 She read for a degree in Economics at the LSE before … Continue reading Maureen Colquhoun (1928-2021): “My sexuality has nothing to do with my ability to do the job”
A new collection of essays provides a welcome reappraisal of the only man to hold all four offices of state. “If you must have a Conservative Prime Minister, I’m your man” – Sunday Mirror, April 1979 At the end of season three of Netflix’s The Crown viewers watched a tearful Harold Wilson hand in his resignation. … Continue reading James Callaghan: The Crisis PM
As Coronation Street celebrates its diamond jubilee, is it time to take it seriously as the chronicler of our times? On 9 December 1960, workers across the country clocked off after a week’s toil on the factories, steel plants and coal mines that made up much of heavy-industrialised Britain. With their wage packets, many would … Continue reading The Nation’s Favourite: Why Coronation Street Matters
As Spitting Image returns to our screens, its original impact has not been forgotten It’s February 1984 and English television is still ruled by just four stations. Regular political programming consists of the evening news, Panorama and a new debate show called Question Time, while television cameras are not yet allowed into the House of … Continue reading What Spitting Image did to British politics