Tag Archives: Harold Wilson

Special Edition: Harold Wilson’s ‘white heat’ speech fifty years on

To mark the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s iconic ‘white heat’ speech, the Centre for British Politics held a conference this summer at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. Ahead of the conference we ran a series of blog posts on Ballots & Bullets. In ‘White heat and low politics‘, Steven Fielding provides the context […]

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White Heat Fifty Years On

The Centre for British Politics and the People’s History Museum recently marked the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s iconic ‘white heat’ speech, which he used to open a debate on science held at the Labour party’s national conference on October 1st 1963.

His first speech to conference as leader, having only been elected in February after the sudden death of Hugh Gaitskell, and with an election in the offing, Wilson mapped out what Britain would have to do to prosper in a post-war world defined by the radical application of new technologies of production, one that posed as many threats as opportunities. Hoping to reverse the party’s apparently fatal electoral decline, Wilson claimed that only Labour could help the country advance in this context by using the state in new ways, thereby unlocking the full potential of science and of the British people themselves.

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Picturing Politics: the future of Trident

The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have clashed over the replacement of Trident. Whilst the Conservatives want to see a like-for-like replacement of the four boat fleet, the Liberal Democrats want the fleet reduced to three boats. In the ninth Picturing Politics Dr David Gill looks at the history behind the four boat fleet, tracing its […]

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Harold Wilson and the difficulties of democratic planning

This is one of a short series of posts based on papers that will be presented to a conference to be held on 5th July, organised by the People’s History Museum and our Centre for British Politics  to mark the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s iconic  ‘white heat’ speech. If you want to read the speech in full, it can be downloaded […]

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Wilson, Benn and Blair and the narrative of technological change

This is one of a short series of posts based on papers that will be presented to a conference to be held on 5th July, organised by the People’s History Museum and our Centre for British Politics  to mark the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s iconic  ‘white heat’ speech. If you want to read the speech in full, it can be downloaded […]

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Communicating the white heat of technology

This is one of a short series of posts based on papers that will be presented to a conference to be held on 5th July, organised by the People’s History Museum and our Centre for British Politics  to mark the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson’s iconic  ‘white heat’ speech. If you want to read the speech in full, it can be downloaded […]

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Hugh Gaitskell: what is the Labour leader’s legacy?

It’s now exactly fifty years since Hugh Gaitskell, Leader of the Labour Party from 1955 to 1963, died of a mysterious illness. The Labour Party tends to revere those leading lights that have been prematurely taken away from it. Since their respective deaths in 1963 and 1994, both Hugh Gaitskell and John Smith have now […]

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Harold Wilson: ‘ideas’ or ‘ideals’?

During the course of my research on the history of the party election poster, I came across this interesting shift of meaning between the original design for a Labour poster and what was actually used in the 1970 general election. The poster was meant to appeal to young people, as the 1970 election was the […]

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