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Life in Britain in the early 1980s

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  • #76
    Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
    I have heard of a lot of people who said that Michael Foot didn't even look like a Prime Minister when they saw the repeat of the 1983 General Election coverage on BBC Parliament. In the Nottingham City constituencies, the Conservatives won in all three, even though in Nottingham East for example, the Labour candidate was defeated on over 16,000 votes - a thousand more than his counterpart in 1979. Also, the SDP took around 3,000 votes away from Labour and had 4,000 more votes than the Liberal candidate in 1979, allowing the Conservative candidate to win, who was even opposed by an Independent Conservative candidate. Ironic that this was the election when Corbyn was elected for the first time.

    Labour were too left-wing under Foot, hence the "Gang of Four" and the foundation of the SDP - people still remember the Winter of Discontent in 1978-1979 which was full of strikes i.e. bins not emptied for a month and all that - that was one reason why Thatcher set foot in Downing Street as PM. Also, the left-wingness of Labour was another reason why Robert Kilroy-Silk took the Chiltern Hundreds in order to launch a career as a TV presenter.
    Michael Foot didn't look like a prime minister but Margaret Thatcher didn't function like a prime minister before the Falklands war started!

    The term political 'left' is vague. Michael Foot and Jeremy Corbyn are generally deemed to be far left but they are different flavours of the left. Foot was of the hard economic left but Corbyn is an internationalist of the Metropolitan set progressive left. A man who represents Johnny Foreigner and undeserving minorities rather than the interests of working class folk.

    Compare a political map from 1983 with one from 2019. Notice that in 1983 Labour lost the marginal constituencies and the more working class constituencies in the south, and did particularly badly in London, but solidly held onto the coal mining areas and industrial towns in the north. In 2019 Labour lost numerous (former?) coal mining areas and industrial towns in the midlands and the north (the so called red wall constituencies) to the Conservatives but solidly held onto London and the trendy cities like Bristol, Manchester, Oxford etc.

    Also of note is how there was no opposition from any small parties in the industrial and coal mining Labour strongholds in the north and midlands back in 1983. The Brexit party cut deeply into these areas in 2019, which is further indication of the hatred of Labour under Corbyn and which flavour of politics the residents of these areas prefer. In London and the trendy cities, the Brexit Party vote was subdued (or even quite poor) in comparison.

    The voters in coal mining areas would rather dig their eyes out than vote Conservative back in 1983, but several – including Sedgefield, Bassetlaw, Leigh, Don Valley – were won by the Conservatives in 2019 whilst Labour held onto middle class Canterbury (which they did not even win back in the 1997 landslide election).

    Foot and Corbyn had completely different demographic support bases. Labour under Corbyn probably took the vast majority of the votes from the very poor and socioeconomic group E, but otherwise it drew much of its vote from students, 20 something graduates, hipsters, and the comfortably well off Guardian reading progressive left from London and the trendy cities, whereas Labour under Foot drew much of its vote from the white British blue collar workers employed in the mining and manufacturing industries who read the Mirror and watched ITV. The quinoa salad and latte made with plant milk demographic vs the steak and kidney pie and builders tea demographic.

    Comment


    • #77
      Also take into account how there were fewer students, graduates, and hipsters around in 1983 compared with 2019. A 20 something in 1983 would more likely have only a secondary school, apprenticeship, or vocational level of education, rather than a degree; be married or seriously looking for a spouse; and a homeowner (with a mortgage) or saving up a deposit to be a homeowner unless they were a council tenant. They would also be a lot more socially conservative (with a small c) regardless of their economic views and desired to live in a pleasant suburb rather than a trendy city.

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
        The TV-am interview with Scargill from 1984 is worth watching on YouTube - fascinating to see John Stapleton interview him, and you know that Scargill looks out of place on that Thatcherite TV-am sofa.
        He does. My mother views Scargill as yesterday's man who's life revolves around coal mining and smokestack industries. His Socialist Labour Party is an analogue anachronism with an objective of transporting Britain back to the 1970s. It's members don't like computers and neither do they understand them well.

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by Arran View Post
          Also take into account how there were fewer students, graduates, and hipsters around in 1983 compared with 2019. A 20 something in 1983 would more likely have only a secondary school, apprenticeship, or vocational level of education, rather than a degree; be married or seriously looking for a spouse; and a homeowner (with a mortgage) or saving up a deposit to be a homeowner unless they were a council tenant. They would also be a lot more socially conservative (with a small c) regardless of their economic views and desired to live in a pleasant suburb rather than a trendy city.
          In the same year, academic quiz shows like Blockbusters were on TV, as well as University Challenge - interesting that in the early series of Blockbusters the contestants wore their school uniform, although I assumed that their school had made them do that a la the UN Conference Trip episodes of Grange Hill in 1984. Another thing was that some ITV stations like Central had a Jobfinder service at 4.00 am when 24 hour broadcasting on ITV started, and also the YTS was starting up.

          My older sister was very much in "beans on toast" territory after she was kicked out of the family home (a long story), - she studied art at a local college but she lived in cheap bedsits in inner-city areas before she found her niche and met Mr Right - my other sister went straight from school to being an assistant in a shoe shop, and apart from maternity leave in the early 1990s, worked in shops for most of her working life.
          I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
          There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
          I'm having so much fun
          My lucky number's one
          Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

          Comment


          • #80
            Originally posted by Arran View Post

            Michael Foot didn't look like a prime minister but Margaret Thatcher didn't function like a prime minister before the Falklands war started!

            I always think of Stanley Baxter as Mr Majeika when I think of Michael Foot!

            But I am sure you remember the Labour Party logo that they had before Kinnock introduced the rose in around 1985 - a red flag logo with THE LABOUR PARTY written across it. Now, that screams to me "COMMUNISM" when I see it now. And Pete "Open House" Murray on BBC's Breakfast Time was invited to review the daily newspapers, causing controversy by saying "a vote for Labour is a vote for communism - may the Lord have mercy on your soul if you don't vote Conservative". No one would have bat an eyelid if Murray had said that in The Telegraph or The Mail. The differences between written and visual media indeed. Labour were like flares - they were out of fashion by the early 1980s.
            I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
            There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
            I'm having so much fun
            My lucky number's one
            Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by Arran View Post

              He does. My mother views Scargill as yesterday's man who's life revolves around coal mining and smokestack industries. His Socialist Labour Party is an analogue anachronism with an objective of transporting Britain back to the 1970s. It's members don't like computers and neither do they understand them well.
              I used to think that everyone who sat on the TV-am sofa (and no doubt everyone who appeared on TV-am) in the 1980s (presenters included) were Conservative voters - only the political guests that Frost interviewed on Sunday mornings made me think otherwise. The fact of the matter was that: A) its first CEO was Jonathan Aitken - a sitting MP which the IBA forbid him to do because of political bias; B) Aiken's successor Bruce Gyngell was great friends with Margaret Thatcher, and to be honest, Gyngell felt to me like a Conservative MP in a TV executive's body; and: C) Carol Thatcher's (her daughter) worked at TV-am as well. D) Gyles Brandreth was a presenter who later became a Conservative MP, etc... I could go on.

              Trade unionists seemed to be "backwards" back then, and that trade unions again, like wearing flares - out of date.
              I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
              There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
              I'm having so much fun
              My lucky number's one
              Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

              Comment


              • #82
                The Labour Party technically died in 1979. It's been a ghost party ever since.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
                  I used to think that everyone who sat on the TV-am sofa (and no doubt everyone who appeared on TV-am) in the 1980s (presenters included) were Conservative voters - only the political guests that Frost interviewed on Sunday mornings made me think otherwise. The fact of the matter was that: A) its first CEO was Jonathan Aitken - a sitting MP which the IBA forbid him to do because of political bias; B) Aiken's successor Bruce Gyngell was great friends with Margaret Thatcher, and to be honest, Gyngell felt to me like a Conservative MP in a TV executive's body; and: C) Carol Thatcher's (her daughter) worked at TV-am as well. D) Gyles Brandreth was a presenter who later became a Conservative MP, etc... I could go on.

                  Trade unionists seemed to be "backwards" back then, and that trade unions again, like wearing flares - out of date.
                  There's a strange paradox that the political left in Britain defends the BBC to the hilt but the working and lower class folk have long preferred ITV to the BBC.

                  I think that a trade union was a stake holder in one of the competitors to Tyne Tees in the north east ITV region in the 1980 franchise round. Had that company won then it would have generated millions of pounds for that trade union.

                  The Daily Mirror owned a satellite TV channel called Mirrorvision which launched in June 1985. It showed films.

                  http://www.terramedia.co.uk/Chronomedia/years/1985.htm

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Arran View Post
                    The Labour Party technically died in 1979. It's been a ghost party ever since.
                    Very true! - I assume that Blair's New Labour wasn't the same party!!!

                    I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                    There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                    I'm having so much fun
                    My lucky number's one
                    Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Arran View Post

                      There's a strange paradox that the political left in Britain defends the BBC to the hilt but the working and lower class folk have long preferred ITV to the BBC.

                      I think that a trade union was a stake holder in one of the competitors to Tyne Tees in the north east ITV region in the 1980 franchise round. Had that company won then it would have generated millions of pounds for that trade union.
                      I would have thought that as most trade unions were allied to the Labour Party, it would mean that any union holding a stake in an ITV company (or any company for that matter) would mean that there would be political bias implicated. I wonder what the IBA thought of that at the time?

                      I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                      There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                      I'm having so much fun
                      My lucky number's one
                      Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by George 1978 View Post

                        Very true! - I assume that Blair's New Labour wasn't the same party!!!
                        Champagne Socialists

                        Comment


                        • #87
                          Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
                          I would have thought that as most trade unions were allied to the Labour Party, it would mean that any union holding a stake in an ITV company (or any company for that matter) would mean that there would be political bias implicated. I wonder what the IBA thought of that at the time?
                          Good question. Remember that ITV companies (or more precisely programme contractors) were owned by other companies or were a plc, with the result that their owners could easily be political biased, although the ITV company had to be impartial whilst on screen.

                          Southern Television lost because it was a closed company owned by companies that were not based in the region which were also involved in print media. At the time, simultaneous ownership of both broadcast media and print media was heavily frowned upon.

                          Comment


                          • #88
                            Originally posted by George 1978 View Post
                            Very true! - I assume that Blair's New Labour wasn't the same party!!!
                            I asked an interesting question during a history lesson at school: When did the industrial revolution (in Britain) end? The teacher was unable to provide a definite answer, but if I had to answer it myself then it would be 1979. The year that Margaret Thatcher was elected as PM which heralded the transformation from an economy based around manufacturing industry to an economy based around finance and the service sector.

                            The Labour Party was the child of the industrial revolution. The political wing of the trade union movement. A party established by the blue collar workers employed in the mining and manufacturing industries to represent them in Parliament.

                            The greasy overalls and flat cap heavy industrial workers were the bedrock of the support base for Labour prior to 1979. The majority of them were not particularly left-wing with only a tiny fraction supporting the theories of Karl Marx. They were usually quite patriotic and socially conservative people. Most could not stomach the whims and ideologies of the Guardian reading progressive left from Hampstead or the Trotskyists – which they commonly referred to as champagne socialists. They were employed in heavily unionised industries, so it was in their clear economic interest to vote Labour.

                            The decline in heavy industry after 1979 resulted in a decline in the number of blue collar industrial workers. By the late 1980s Labour realised that it could no longer rely on this demographic if it wanted to be a party that actually won a general election and formed a government. The Labour Party (as it was) was now technically obsolete.

                            New Labour (contrary to popular belief) was not a personal project of Tony Blair. It was a combination of several factors including:

                            1. The transformation of the economy based around manufacturing industry to an economy based around finance and the service sector.

                            2. Failure (Old Labour) trying to blindly copy success (Thatcher's Conservative Party) without a deeper understanding of the situation, and which Conservative policies should be adopted in the longer term and which are best left behind as short term fads of the 1980s.

                            3. Rogernomics from New Zealand.

                            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogernomics

                            4. Increasing influence and domination of the Fabian Society. Although every leader of Labour has been a member of the Fabian Society, its influence was kept at bay by the power and influence of the blue collar working class.

                            5. The champagne socialists and graduate progressive left increasingly worming their way into positions of power and influence in the voids created by the departure of the blue collar working class and their trade unionists.

                            6. The EU and how it straitjackets and handcuffs national governments when it comes to economic policy. Much of Old Labour economic policy violates 'level playing field' legislation imposed by the EU Competition Commission.

                            7. The impact of technology in the economy that eliminates jobs and puts more power into the hands of the capitalist class. Something that economic socialists worldwide have no real answers to.

                            8. This one is a bit contentious. A desire of Labour to be the party of immigrants and ethnic minorities despite many of them moving up the socioeconomic ladder into positions that are the demographic of the Conservative Party rather than Labour – such as businessmen, managers, landlords, investment bankers, etc.

                            Comment


                            • #89
                              Originally posted by amethyst View Post

                              Champagne Socialists
                              Grauniad readers.
                              I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                              There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                              I'm having so much fun
                              My lucky number's one
                              Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                              Comment


                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Arran View Post

                                Good question. Remember that ITV companies (or more precisely programme contractors) were owned by other companies or were a plc, with the result that their owners could easily be political biased, although the ITV company had to be impartial whilst on screen.

                                Southern Television lost because it was a closed company owned by companies that were not based in the region which were also involved in print media. At the time, simultaneous ownership of both broadcast media and print media was heavily frowned upon.
                                I have thought of Granada as being a very Labour Party, Grauniad readers' company - think of how many left-wing series produced by them such as What the Papers Say, University Challenge, World in Action, and a lot of tweed jacket journalists and writers such as Ray Gosling, Michael Apted, Colin Welland and so on. Cross the Pennines and Yorkshire TV feels like a Daily Telegraph retired Sergeant Major company with older, more conservative people on there - Bruce Gyngell was CEO of YTV and Tyne Tees and tried to take the television industry back a few decades by banning programmes with smut in them, even though they were on after 9.00 pm. Central felt like a students' TV company with no whiff of traditional ITV in the 1980s - they were a bit like Marks and Spencer's Food Hall - they preferred their own brand goods rather than other people's. I bet that it was a huge shock to the system to see the traditional ATV around from the mid 1950s give away to this 1980s "new kid on the block".

                                I thought that Southern had lost in a similar way that ATV had to change - poor coverage towards the east of its region - originally the South East was advertised separately with Anglia and the London companies applying although Southern won, and so, the South East was advertised along with the South. And Westward lost because of its business plan, although as TSW already took over Westward in August 1981, the transition on New Year's Day 1982 was as smooth as the ATV/Central one.
                                I've everything I need to keep me satisfied
                                There's nothing you can do to make me change my mind
                                I'm having so much fun
                                My lucky number's one
                                Ah! Oh! Ah! Oh!

                                Comment

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