Modern Britain (1964-70)

Why did Labour win the 1964 general election?
- Pay freezes 1961-62
- Unemployment reached 800k in 1963
- Douglas-Home part of Establishment and chosen undemocratically
- Wilson was younger and 'more in touch'
- Wilson promised to deliver a 'White Heat' of technology and modernisation
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Wilson's image
- Classless and far from the Old Etonian style of his Tory predecessors
- Relaxed and skilful performer on television
- First PM educated at state secondary school
- Relied on his 'kitchen cabinet'
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Labour's economic problems (1964-70)
- Inherited £800mil debt
- 2mil kids lived in low-income households
- £ devalued by 14% to $2.40 in 1967
- Taxes raised on cigarettes, alcohol & petrol in 1968
- Shipbuilding & coalmining industries continued to decline
- Unemployment rose to 600k in 1970
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How did Labour improve its economic problems?
- Creation of DEA
- Prices & incomes policy limited price rises and wages to keep down inflation
- Jenkins used deflationary methods and cut gov spending by £716mil in Jan 1968
- Balance of payments surplus of £387mil by 1969
- Inflation still ran at 12%
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What was the DEA?
- Wilson established the Department for Economic Affairs
- In an attempt to break out of the stop go cycle
- Brown set growth targets and 'economic planning councils'
- DEA competed with Chancellor Callaghan
- DEA was abandoned in 1967
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July measures
- Cut public spending by £500mil
- Increased taxes
- 6 month freeze on wages and dividends
- More expensive school meals and reduction in welfare milk
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Industrial unrest under Wilson
- Losing support from TUs
- Strike action increased from 1.75mil in 1963 to c7mil in 1969
- National Union of Seamen and Dockers' strike of 1967
- 'Wildcat' strikes started by local activists
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How did Barbara Castle's 'In Place of Strife' (1969) propose to tackle Trade Unions?
- 28 day cooling off period before a strike went ahead
- Gov could impose a settlement between 2 TUs that claim to represent the same group of workers
- Strike ballots could be imposed
- An industrial relations court to prosecute those who broke the rules
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How did Wilson fail to deliver the 'White Heat' of technology?
- Concorde developed with the French gov
- Jenkins became first minister of aviation but lacked scientific knowledge
- Cousins, first minister of tech, had little interest in tech development
- Research & development was costly in light of devaluation
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What divisions emerged in Wilson's Labour government?
- Wilson feared leadership challenge from Brown, Callaghan or Jenkins
- Brown didn't recover from being passed over as leader or Foreign Secretary
- Wilson distrusted Jenkins, who had been a Gaitskellite
- Tensions between Callaghan and Jenkins
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Labour's immigration policies (1964-70)
- The 'Immigration from the Commonwealth' White Paper Act 1965
- Race Relations Act 1965
- Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968
- Race Relations Act 1968
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'Immigration from the Commonwealth' White Paper 1965
- Reduced work vouchers to 8500 a year with no more than 15% to be granted to any one country
- Children over 16 barred from entering as family members
- 90% of Britons approved of these measures
- Went against Labour's liberal principles
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Race Relations Act 1965
- Forbade discrimination in public places on the grounds of colour
- The Act made it a civil offence meaning the victim could gain compensation
- Protected arriving immigrants
- Discrimination in housing and employment
- Police were excluded from the Act
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Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968
- Restricted UK citizenship to those who held at least one British parent or grandparent
- Meant that most white immigrants were permitted
- Maintained support for Labour from their working class voters
- Done to prevent entry of Kenyan Asian refugees
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Race Relations Act 1968
- Banned racial discrimination in housing, employment and insurance
- Complaints against the police were excluded from the law
- Race Relations Board upheld only 10% of cases brought to it about discrimination
- Many had little faith in the system
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Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech
- Called for limits on immigrations
- Saw them as exploiting the welfare state
- 3/4 agreed with Powell
- 1000s of dockers marched in support of Powell
- Powell received 43k letters of support
- Gallup Poll 1969 voted Powell as most admired man in Britain
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Liberalising legislation
- The Murder (Abolition of the Death Penalty) Act 1965
- The Abortion Act 1967
- The Sexual Offences Act 1967
- The Theatre Act 1968
- The Divorce Reform Act 1969
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Abortion Act 1967
- 82 dead from backstreet abortion in 1958-60
- 35k complications from backstreet abortions
- 100k-200k illegal abortions occurred each year
- Abortions increased from 4% in 1968 to 17.6% in 1975
- Up to 28 weeks, from 2 doctors, for medical/mental needs
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Sexual Offences Act 1967
- Previously could get 2 years if convicted
- Must be between 21 consenting adults
- 16 age limit for heterosexuals, little equality
- Must be conducted in 'private', meaning not in the same building
- Strictly interpreted so still convictions
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Divorce Reform Act 1969
- Allowed for 'no fault divorce' following the 'irretrievable breakdown' of a marriage
- Divorce after 2 years if both agree or 5 years for one; long wait
- 7% of marriages ended in divorce at end of 1950s
- Increased to 1 in 2 in 1970s
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Evolving status of women (1964-70)
Matrimonial Homes Act 1967 - Gave man & wife the same right of occupation of the home
Matrimonial Property Act 1970 - Acknowledges wife's work at home when dividing property in divorce
Equal Pay Act 1970 - men and women should get same pay for same job
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Limited status of women (1964-70)
- Compliance to Equal Pay Act was voluntary until 1975
- 1/3 husbands in 1965 interview disliked the idea of wives working
- 1965 survey found most working women in low skill, low pay jobs, only 5% as managers
- Females made up 28% of HE students in 1970
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What influenced the 'permissive society'?
- Contraceptive pill became available in 1961
- Permissive ideas spread by the media (opposition from Mary Whitehouse's Clean Up TV campaign)
- Cocaine & heroine addiction rose 10 times
- **** cases increased from 300 in 1950 to 1500 by mid 1970s
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Fashion in the 1960s
- Girls wore miniskirts to express sexual independence
- By 1966 Quant made 500 designs per year with a turnover of £6mil+
- By mid 1960s fashion industry employed 30k
- 2000 boutiques in London alone
- Blurred class and gender boundaries
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Tensions in Northern Ireland
- Loyalists attacked civil rights marches in 1968
- In 1969 loyalist Apprentice Boys attacked by nationalists in Catholic Bogside area
- Two days of rioting, RUC failed to regain control
- RUC biased against Catholics
- Aug 1969 Wilson sent British army
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Why did British students protest?
Disillusionment with gov - US action in Vietnam, immigration controls, action against TUs
Concerns with HE - right to be represented on academic committees & governing bodies
LSE appointment of Dr Walter Adams - links with Rhodesia's minority white gov
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Withdrawal from east of Suez
- Gov wanted to reduce its military commitments
- Healey cut spending to bring the defence budget under £2bil
- Troop withdrawals were scheduled from Aden & Middle East
- Nuclear deterrent was not abandoned and would continue to deploy Polaris submarines
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The expansion of the mass media
- Ownership of TVs increased from 75% (1961) t0 91% (1971)
- Radios became cheap & portable
- Earphones meant that teens did not have to listen what their parents wanted to hear
- The Sun launched in 1964 became popular and reflected permissive attitudes
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Growth in leisure activities
- By 1969, TV accounted for 23% leisure time
- DIY & gardening became popular hobbies
- Use of cars grew to account 77% of journeys by 1974
- Shopping itself became a leisure activity due to mass production
- 41 mil total holidays in 1971
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The development of comprehensive schools
- Crosland issued Circular 10/65 to LEAs requesting them to convert to comps
- Made money for new school buildings conditional on going comp
- Only 8 held onto the old division
By 1970, 1/3 of children were at comprehensives
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Flaws of comprehensivisation
- Direct grant/private schools remained
- Parents who could afford to buy homes in a 'good' school district left poorer children in the weakest schools
- Little prospect of upward mobility
- Parents and poverty were not consulted on changes
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The expansion of higher education
- Quasi status given to leading colleges of technology renamed polytechnics
- Council for National Academic Awards set up to award polytechnic degrees
- By 1968 there were 30 polytechnics & 56 unis
- No of students grew from 457k (1970) to 516k (1975)
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The Open University
- Est 1969 and first students began their courses in Jan 1971
- Used radio, TV and, later, audio cassettes to teach students
- Attracted women and the disadvantaged
- By 1980, there were 70k students
- The OU awarded more degrees than Oxford and Cambridge
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Why did Wilson lose the 1970 general election?
- Economic problems (devaluation)
- Industrial unrest (In Place of Strife)
- Backlash against liberalising legislation
- Immigration policies
- Failures of modernisation (White Heat)
- Divisions in the party
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


Wilson's image


- Classless and far from the Old Etonian style of his Tory predecessors
- Relaxed and skilful performer on television
- First PM educated at state secondary school
- Relied on his 'kitchen cabinet'

Card 3


Labour's economic problems (1964-70)


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


How did Labour improve its economic problems?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What was the DEA?


Preview of the front of card 5
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