Monday, December 21, 2009
The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Xmas 1970
In the run-up to Christmas, the return of our 'Ghosts of Christmas past’ musical feature.
As bookies odds on a white Christmas in 2009 in Britain tumble and most of the country- and indeed much of Europe- enjoys some decent snowfalls- I thought we’d kick off by taking a Tardis ride back to the white Xmas of 1970.
It was the first Xmas of a decade which marked the zenith of 20th century progressive politics. The decade of Palme, Kreisky, Trudeau, Kadar and Nyerere, the National Enterprise Board and détente between east and west.
A decade when the top rate of income tax in Britain rose to 83%- the highest since the second world war. Imagine what the neoliberal fanatics would say if that was proposed today- they already want us to think that a rise in the top rate to 50% in 2010/11, will be the end of the world.
In June 1970, Harold Wilson’s Labour government, had suffered a rather undeserved general election defeat.
But not to worry: Ted Heath’s Conservative government, even with Margaret Thatcher as a cabinet minister, was still far to the left of New Labour (not that that’s too difficult). And a little more than three years later, Wilson and Labour were back in power, elected on an unequivocally socialist economic programme.
Riding high in the charts at Christmas 1970 was Grandad, by Clive Dunn, a star of the era's most popular comedy series, the wonderful Dad's Army.
And please write in with any memories you have of the snowy Xmas of 1970.