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Sunday, January 04, 2004
Fascinating viewing

BBC Parliament is today repeating its coverage of the 1964 Election until 10:15pm. If you have a good connection and RealOnePlayer (which can be downloaded free from the RealOnePlayer site), you can watch it by clicking here. Coverage started at 9am and so far the Tories have held one seat in Cheltenham with no other results declared. Let's hope that's an omen of things to come: that awful Mr Wilson would be an absolute disaster for Britain.

Thanks to Paul Richards for the link.

UPDATE: Oooh, Nikita Kruschev has just resigned!

UPDATE II: It is obvious after watching this coverage for even a short time how the BBC became famous for objectivity. You can just feel with the presenters their recognition of their duty to give an impartial picture, untainted by their personal feelings. The difference from today goes beyond the sort of verbal bias that filled the Telegraph's BeebWatch columns. The absence of confident sneers, knowing smirks and sceptical raised eyebrows also makes an enormous difference. How much worse things are today.

UPDATE III: Speaking of which, seeing Anthony "I'll abolish every f---ing grammar school in England" Crosland win in Grimsby with a majority of around 4,000 was strangely moving. It really is striking to think that if just a couple of thousand people had voted differently on that night some of the best schools anywhere in the world - and Britain's education system along with them - might not have been destroyed.

UPDATE IV: Tory MP Bob Boothby just described Peter Griffiths' victory in Smethwick as the most disgusting election in two hundred years: "a racial fight in the worst American tradition". Interesting.

UPDATE V: Finchley has been held by a woman called Thatcher.

UPDATE VI: A Labour MP just chastised Robin Day for using "old-fashioned BBC speak" in describing some members of his party as 'left-wing'. I wonder what he'd have thought if he knew Charles Kennedy would be making exactly the same complaint forty years later!

UPDATE VII: The casual economic assumptions of the time must really shock any modern political observer who has forgotten how pervasive socialist premises were in those consensual, Butskellite days. The horror at trade deficits, the support for export subsidies, import and exchange controls and the claim that the only way to get higher productivity in the steel industry was to nationalise it and introduce state planning may still be held to by the odd Monbiot, but it is now unthinkable that they would be brought up nonchalantly in ordinary political discussion, or that anyone could swing masses of ordinary voters with such thinking.

UPDATE VIII: Bah. I fell asleep and woke up to find that Wilson chap had won after all. Still, the US Presidential Elections are only a month away. Let's hope that Barry Goldwater can make the difference.

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