British Political history 1945-90: consensus and conflict edexcel as- Wilson, 1964-1970- Labour

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Wilson, 19641970 Labour
Wilson new progressive image for Labour ­positive comparison to the
huntin'shootin'fishin' aristocratic DouglasHome who was out of touch ­
Wilson :less privileged background and was younger, seen as modern
with his pipe and openness to the "swinging sixties"
Labour increased their vote share by only 0.3% so their victory was more
down to decreasing Tory popularity as their vote share had decreased
by 6%
The conservatives were seen as weak and lacking control ­ EEC
rejection, scandals, unemployment at 870,000 in 1963
Wilson promised "white hot technological revolution" white heat of
Economic difficulties ­ balance of payments deficit of £373 million ­
Department of Economic Affairs under George Brown : National Plan to
modernise ­ success stimulating 1966 election victory and majority of
nearly 100 ­ but few targets ever met and plan abandoned by 1977 ­
IMF loan only a stopgap ­ lost control of finances ­ 1967 pound devalued
from $2.80 to $2.40 ­large drama and failure ­ pound in your pocket is
worth no less ­ Callaghan stood down as Chancellor ­ unions angered
as Wilson blamed them for troubles ­ was also too much R and D on
defence ­ between 1966 and 1970 Britain spent 25.6% while Japan spent
0.9% BUT important to note that unemployment always below 2.7%
and welfare expansion with more councilhouse building and further NHS
Unions ­ warned to be more realistic with wage demands ­ Prices and
Incomes Board set up to regulate pay settlements ­ angered unions and
Labour left ­ caused TGWU leader Cousins to resign ­ strikes over pay
between 1966 and 1967 especially seamen and dockers ­ Wilson
convinced that economic problems stemmed from bad industrial relations ­
imposed legal controls on strikes with In Place of Strife proposals
presented by Barbara Castle ­ stipulated member ballots before strikes ­
angered unions and Labour left as said it undermined principles ­
problem as unions were main source of Labour funding ­ proposals
never passed the white paper stage

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EEC ­ rejected by France again ­ "sick man of Europe" ­ open
annoyance of other 5 members ­ humiliation ­ demonstrated economic
Social ­ much passed by Roy Jenkins ­ tolerant, sophisticated, civilised
Race Relations Act, 1965 and 1968
Abortion Act, 1967
Sexual Offences Act ­ 1967
Common Wealth Immigration Act, 1968 ­ limits on immigration ­
consensus on number control
Theatre Act, 1968
Abolition of death penalty, 1969
Divorce Reform Act, 1969
Open University, 1969 ­ education more accessible
Vietnam ­ Britain's…read more


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