‘the Failures of Wilson as Prime Minister Are More Significant Than His Achievements’ How Far Do You Agree?

1021 Words5 Pages
Harold Wilson was a labour politician who held two terms in office as Prime Minister, between 1964-1970 succeeding Alec Douglas-Home and 1974-1976, succeeding Edward Heath. Wilson had varying levels of success whilst in office, ranging from the popular and successful decision to relax theatre censorship in 1968, to his disastrous relationship with the Unions which led to a series of strikes in 1966/67. The beginning of Wilson’s rule in 1964 came about following 13 years of Conservative leadership and it was his mastery of the media which allowed him to take advantage of the mood of the time that Britain needed to modernize and replace the old fashioned out-of-touch establishment represented by the Tories, vowing to forge a new modern Britain in ‘the white heat of technology’. Although Wilson’s youthful and more modern approach to politics may appear to have allowed him to gain the advantage over the conservatives that allowed the Labour party to finally enter office, there is still the argument that following 13 years of Tory rule the public may have voted for Labour simply because they desired change rather than their belief that Labour was the better government. The fact that the 1964 election was won by a mere 4 vote majority by Labour supports this opinion and gives rise to the suggestion that if it had been Butler, and not Douglas-Home leading the Conservatives then perhaps they would not have lost the election. Although it cannot be denied that Wilson’s relentless talk of ‘The white heat of technology’ suited the mood of the time. However despite Wilson’s promise of a more modern Britain the country failed to match the growth rates of the USA, Japan and Western European countries. One explanation for the poor state of the economy was that Britain at that time was going through a major shift in its economic and social structure; changing from an industrial
Open Document