The sixties 1964-1970

  • Created by: wilby99
  • Created on: 15-12-15 10:16

Roy jenkins and the liberal reforms

1965 abolition of the death penalty Act

  • Last woman executed (Ruth Ellis) in 1955
  • Aided by the derek Bentley case
  • Was temporary for first five years

1967 Abortion Act

  • Backed by Roy Jenkins 
  • Est. 100,000-200,000 illegal abortions every year

1967 Sexual offences Act

  • Decriminalised homosexual acts between two men in private.
  • Introduced by Leo Abse and backed by Roy Jenkins

1969 Devorce reform Act

  • No fault divorce: 2yrs + both consent/5yrs + one consent
  • made it available to the poor as well as the rich
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Beginnings of the troubles in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Politics in the sixties

  • Ulster unionists are the protestants and are the majority
  • Irish republicans are the catholics and are in the minority

Start of trouble

  • The Catholics complained that the protestants were descriminating against them and that the police were being institutionally racist.
  • In 1968 they started a series of civil rights marches.

Sectarian violence

  • Both sides developed political parties and paramilitaries, the police were stuck in the middle of this.

Battle of the Bogside

  • Fighting lasted for two days so WIlson sent the army in as a temporary measure: They only left in 2007
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The expansion of mass media

Mass media:

  • Before the sixties, TV only had 2 cghanels and radio only had 3
  • in 1964 BBC1 introduced BBC2 for educational purposes 
  • in 1967 BBC2 became the first to broad cast in colour  and in 1966 Cathy come home was the first drama to be broadcast.


  • Transister allowed them to be listened anywere 
  • young people could now listen to things in privacy which lead to a growth in pop music
  • 1967 saw Radio1 being launched as a less serious station, Radio Caroline was also very popular.


  • Rupert Murdoch took over the Herald and turned it into a tabloid in 1964
  • The sun was the most popular newspaper up til 2015

The theatres Act 1968 allowed nudity and swearing in a play (Oh! Calcutta! written to push this)

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Expansion of youth culture

  • cheap bright polyester fabrics became popular
  • 1965-66 was the start of the era of the mini-skirt, which shocked the older generation
  • Possibly because national service had finished, boys started to grow their hair long


  • The beatles, rolling stones and Kinks started to kick off
  • pop songs became laced with drug references and the music went strange as artists started to experiment with drugs


  • Middle class, peacefull, anti-war and into the enviroment


  • working class, tended towards violence, into reggae and ska

Mary white house launched her 'clean up TV ' campaign and set up th NVLA to act as a sort of Moral guardian for the countries entertainment.

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Divisions in the labour party 1964-70

Who in the cabinate was against Wilson?

  • George Brown resented being beaten to the leadership position and wantedthe top job
  • Wilson didnt like Roy Jenkins liberal reforms
  • Callaghan was feared to be lining up for the job after the seaman and dockers strike
  • or was Wilson just paranoid?

Was it simply Wilsons style that was wrong?

  • Some said they couldn't work properly because he kept changing his mind on things.
  • Some thought he was simply a people pleaser with his nice yorkshire accent.

How did he attempt resolution?

  • He tried cabinate reshuffles
    • worried that people were building strong power bases
    • kept people loyal if they feared demotion
    • this led to discrepencies and no long term stragies being implemented
  • Tried to det people up against each other
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women in the 1960`s

Laws affecting them:

  • Abortion Act 1967
  • Devorce reforms Act 1969


  • Married women started to work when the contraceptive pill was introduced in 1961 (this was originally intended for married women but single women gradually started to use it as well).
  • Work was also encouraged by the national health service (family planning) Act 1967


  • In 1970 the first womens luberation convention demanded four things:
    • Equal pay
    • Equal job opportunities
    • free contreception and abortion on demand
    • free 24-hour nurseries
  • Case study:Ford factory at Dagenham
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Harold Wilson and the labour victory 1964 & 1966

The man himself

  • Wilson won the labour party leadership election when hugh Gaitskill died in 1963.
  • Was originally a bevinite but then switched to become a member of gaitskills cabinate.
  • Key beliefs were meritocracy and modernism.

First actions as Labour leader

  • Instantley united the labour party when he became leader.
  • Declared that the previous tories had been "13 wasted years".
  • He made the "white heat of technology" speech in 1964, outlining his desire for Britain to put the past behind them and look foreward to a more confident future.

How Labour won the election

  • The tories seemed to be running short of new ideas with their "prosperity with purpose".
  • Wilson as a leader seemed to be more relatable for the people than the 'stuck up' tory candidates.
  • Labour and Wilson won the election narrowly but called another election two years later and won quite easily.
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The trade unions and 'in place of strife'

Where the problem started

  • Before the sixties, relations with the unions had been positive and there was a generally good opinion of them.
  • These relations started to sour when the seamans and the dockers strikes (1966-67) caused economic chaos for the government and demonstrated that the old union bosses were losing their power as more and more 'wildcat strikes' occured.
  • Wilson and his new empolment minister started to plan a law that would stop unofficial strikes.

In place of strife

  • there was to be a 28-day cooling off period before a strike
  • the government couldimpose a settlement on those who were in a demarcation dispute
  • strike ballots could be imposed
  • an industrail relations court could prosecute anyone who broke these rules

Why was it dropped? 

  • Protest from union leaders such as Jack Jones
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The British economy 1964-70

What was wrong?

  • Because of a balance of payments deficit, some thought Britain was on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • There was a growing power with the unions and the industry was also quite outdated compared to other countries like France and Germany.

What did Wilson do to save it?

  • 1964
    • seamens and dockers strike threatened Britain with paralysis 
    • Wilson devalued the pound by 14% instead of using the tory economic methods
    • Unfortunatley this damaged his credibilty as a man in control of the economy
  • 1967-70
    • Roy Jenkins was appointed as chancillor of the exchequer
    • he re-introduced the conservatives stop-go economics thus getting the economy back in line
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  • Development of comprehensive schools
    • The original system of those who passed the 11+ test going to grammer schools and those who didn`t going to secondary moderns was seen to be socially devisive.
    • Comprehensive scools seemed to be a good way of ensuring that every child had equal oppurtunities.
    • in 1964 1 in 10 pupils where being educated at a comprehensive and in 1965 the minister of education, Tony Crosland, accelerated this process.
    • some parents thought that this meant that all children would recieve a lower standard of education, but it was defended as being grammer school education for all children.
  • Higher education
    • The robbins report 1963 showed that Britain was laggiung behind France, Germany and America in the provision of university placements.
    • polytechnics were introduced and a number of new universties were established.
    • The open university was established in 19669 and it offered a chance for more disadvantaged people to gain a degree and an educatiuon that they would previously never have dreamt of being able to attain.
    • It was a hard degree course so that it could not be criticized and was on of the things wilson was most proud of.
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East of Suez and Rhodesia

East of Suez:

  • Britain had a lot of little naval bases east of Suez that gave them power around the world but were expensive to keep.
  • This coupled with insurgency and a moral obligation not to have an empire put pressure on Britain to withdraw from these bases
  • When the pound was devalued in 1967, it became far to expensive to keep and so they finally withdrew


  • Ian Smith issued a unilateral declaration of independance that Directly challenged Britain but also meant that apartide would be enforced.
  • Wilson and Smith met on the HMS Tiger just off gibralter with Smith looking like he gave in, but then when he returned to his own country not doing so at all.
  • this went on for about 15 years until Smith gave into America and not Britain

Both these situations were about an undignified end to the empire and they made Britain look weak.

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Britain and the Special relationship with the USA

Wilsons dilema over Vietnam:

  • He wanted to strengthen the special relationship with the USA and personally got on  very well with Johnson.
  • Britain had pleged support  when they got Polaris however Wilson was afraid of the reaction of those on the left of the labour party.
  • War was unpopular and Britain couldn't afford to seend troops, nither could they afford to  lose Americas support

Wilsons Decision:

  • He made a compromise and sent everything but troops even though this upset both sides


  • Made Wilson more enemies than friends
  • The battle of Grosvner square showed that the Younger gnerations especiallyy, where not at all happy with Willson actions aand decisions
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Britain and Europe 1964-70

Labour Euroskeptic:

  • Working class pople wanted things to stay the same and the unions thought it would lose jobs and be bad for trade.

Labour Europhiles:

  • Some were scared the economy would collapse after the devaluation of the pound and thought it woud distance them from the Vietnam.
  • Many thought it would bring in new Markets fro Britain, they were also in favour of the EEC

The application:

  • Wilson waited before he applied to join as he knew it would pull the party apart.
  • He met with deGaul and then toured Europe to gain support
  • On their second meeting deGaul said they could join if they abandoned American links, This  was refused and Britains second application was rejected.
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Enoch Powell and his Rivers of blood speech

1965 race relations Act - racism was banned in public and race relations board was set up

1968 race relations Act - illegal to refuse housing employment etc... on the grounds of race

1968 commonwealth Act - restricted immigration

Kenya 1963:

  • When Kenya became independant Jono kenyatta forced all non-africans out of the country
  • Many of them had no place to go other than Britain and so flooded into the country, Wilson went against Public opinion and pledged  to help them.

Rivers of blood

  • Enoch powell said that he didnt have the right not to give his speech
  • He said that the influx of immigrants would cause racial tensions and 'rivers of blood'
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