The Making of Modern Britain 5A- Wilson and the Labour Governments

When Wilson entered Downing Street in 1964, what was he more in touch with?
The social and cultural trends of the 1960's.
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An example of this is Wilson's speech that promised Britain would catch up with...
The White Heat of Technology.
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How did Labour consolidate it's position iin power?
Winning the general election in 1966.
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Why were they able to do this?
Even though the Conservatives replaced Douglas-Home with Heath, Heath was no match for Wilson.
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How was Edward Heath seen as?
Stiff and lacking in personality.
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What was Wilson seen as?
A better political tactician and was able to portray a more attractive picture to voters.
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How many seats did Labour win in the 1964 election?
317 to Tories 304.
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How man seats did Labour win in the 1966 election?
363 seats to Tories 253.
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Did Wilson appear on the Left or Right of the Labour Party initially?
Left. He had been a Bevanite, resigning in 1950 over prescription charges.
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Who did Wilson challenge for leadership in 1961?
Gaitskell. He lost- but it made him an obvious candidate for the future.
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But how was he on the Right of the party?
He supported Britain's nuclear deterrant and attempted to reform the trade unions.
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What might critics argue about Wilson?
That he was just a opportunist.
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But what did he successfully link the Labour Party with?
To modernisation.
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What did this contrast from?
The 'wasted years' of the Conservative government.
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How was this modernisation seen in Wilson's own image?
He was seen as classless, first PM educated in a state school, and smoked a pipe, and spoke with a yorkshire accent.
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But what was Harold Wilson in private?
Anxious and insecure about his leadership. Concious of balancing out his potential rivals so they he would remain unchallenged.
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Who did Wilson rely upon?
A personal team of trusted advisors from outside the government and civil service.
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What was one of the key elements in post-war consensus?
The influence of the trade unions.
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What have all governments seen as eseential?
Full employment and keep the unions happy.
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In opinion polls in the early 60's, how many were happy about the trade unions?
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in 1964, who did Wilson make minister of technology?
Frank Cousins.
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Why was Wilson relying on union cooperation?
For the prices and incomes policies.
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in 1966-7, how did relations with the trade unions begin to deterioriate?
Strikes by the seamen and dockers caused economic problems for the government.
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What did these strikes also demonstrate?
the old-style union bosses were losing their control.
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How did these strikes start with?
With 'wild-cat strikes' by local activists who would not take orders from the top.
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What are 'wild-cat strikes'?
Sudden, unofficial local disputes beginning without reference to the national leadership.
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What was the policy the Conservatives announced to combat this?
'Fair Deal at Work'
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Wilson and his new employment minister, Barbara Castle plan to do?
To use the law to limit unofficial strikes.
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What did Barbara Castle believe in?
A powerful trade union movement but in the need for it to act responsibly.
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In January 1969, what did Barbara Castle produce?
Her white paper- In Place of Strife. She knew it would be controversial, suggesting it could be political suicide.
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What did Castle's policies aim to do?
Strengthen the unions, in dealing with the employers.
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But what key aspects were difficult for the unions to accept?
28-day 'cooling off' period before a strike goes ahead, strike ballots could be imposed, and the government can imposing a settlement when unions are in dispute.
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Who supported the proposals?
Many Labour MP's such as Roy Jenkins, the chancellor.
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But who disliked them?
The unions and the left of the Labour party.
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Who protested against In Place of strife?
Powerful union leaders like Jack Jones of the Trasnport and General Workers Union, who was supported by James Callaghan and at least 50 other Labour MP's who wanted to rebel.
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Why did the row end?
Wilson gave in. June 1969, TUC negotiated a compromise. but in reality it was a humilitating climbdown for the govt.
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Even though Wilson wanted to empathsise technology and science in modernising Britain's economy, what hindered it?
The government lacked expertise. Roy Jenkins (first minister of aviation) admitted he had difficulty understanding his briefings, and Frank Cousins, had little interest in technology.
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Who was replaced as minister?
Tony Benn, department performed better.
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But what were all Labour''s domestic policies overshadowed by?
The economic problems of the late 60's.
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What hindered all Brtish projects?
Research and development was costly
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What projects did Britain pursue?
the supersonic plane, Concorde in partnership with the French government.
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But who could Britain not compete with?
the USA, who spent vast government sums on research and development.
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Did divisions between Labour remain?
Yes, between the Left and Right of the Party.
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What did the deaths of Bevan in 1960 and Gaitskell in 1963, do for the leadership of Labour?
Wilson emerged as the conciliatory leader of the party.
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What united the party?
Wilson's concentration on the Labour Party as the party of technological modernisation. It minimised the underlying tensions of Clause IV.
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But who were their personal rivalries between?
Wilson and most of his powerful cabinet colleagues.
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What did Wilson fear?
Might face a leadership challenge from Brown, Callaghan or Jenkins.
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Why was Brown upset?
Hugely resentful that he lost of the leadership election to Wilson. Further disappointed when he wasn't made Foreign Secutary in 1964.
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Why was Wilson suspicious of Jenkins?
He was a gaitskellite. Didn't support Jenkin's liberalising legislation. Tried to get the cabinet to support devaluation after the sterling crisis of 1966.
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What did this highlight?
Wilson's paranoia, as Callaghan and Jenkins would not work together.
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Why did Callghan not like Jenkins?
Jenkin's was pro-European and he didnt' like his liberalising legislation.
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Why was Jenkin's critical of Calllaghan?
Because of the failure to devaluate when Callaghan was chancellor. Callaghan tried to block trade union legislation which Jenkins supported.
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By 1970, what were there the first signs of?
That post-war consensus was breaking down.
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How did Britain's economic problems show this?
They couldnt be solved by consenus policies.
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How were trade unions showing this?
Uncooperative, forced Labour to try and reform industrial relations.
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Why was the outcome of the 1970 election a surprise?
Wilson had come through difficult times, Jenkins had made the economy stable, and Wilson seemed to be a master campaigner.
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But what did Heath possess?
Hard-working, conscientious and had an image of competance.
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What did Enoch Powell do that may have influenced Labour voters?
Hir Rivers of Blood speech in 1968. Others believed Heath's actions made him appear strong and principled when he sacked Powell.
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How many seats did Conservatives win in the 1970 election?
330, compared to Labour's 287.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


An example of this is Wilson's speech that promised Britain would catch up with...


The White Heat of Technology.

Card 3


How did Labour consolidate it's position iin power?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Why were they able to do this?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


How was Edward Heath seen as?


Preview of the front of card 5
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