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Harold Wilson at 100

In Uncategorized on March 11, 2016 by kmflett

Harold Wilson was born 100 years ago on 11th March 1916.

He was Labour PM from 1964-70 and 1974-76. My interest here is in those who seek to remember him.

Tristram Hunt MP notes- by comparison with other PMs-Wilson’s not inconsiderable record of reform.

But Wilson was not a follower of Labour’s right led by Hugh Gaitskell ( who many of the 2016 fans are in the broad tradition of). Instead, resigning as a Labour Minister in 1951 over NHS charges he was a leader of the Bevanite left.

As a man of the left he disappointed. Former ally and speech writer Tony Benn described Wilson in March 1966 as ‘cunning and crafty’.

Fast forward 10 years to the 1975 EU Referendum and Benn notes that the reaction to his impassioned EU speech at Cabinet was for Wilson to note that we have to be practical.

The debate will go on but Wilson had a far from straightforward position in post-1945 history. A man who appeared to come from the left who, in office, was reviled by the left. As Benn noted in his diary (13 March 1966) the longer Wilson was Prime Minister the less those who had campaigned for him to follow Gaitskell disliked him

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2 Responses to “Harold Wilson at 100”

  1. Paul Foot’s wonderful demolition job of this corrupt treacherous scumbag is still available for under a tenner.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/politics-Harold-Wilson-Penguin-specials/dp/B0000COC3J
    And one chapter available free online:
    https://www.marxists.org/archive/foot-paul/1968/xx/wilson.htm

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