Monday, 11 October 2010

The 1970 general election

From time to time, BBC Parliament re-runs the coverage of a general election, although this is not always well publicised. On Saturday they featured the 1970 general election.

In such unedited material it is the little points one noticed. One regional correspondent had a cigarette smoking in an ashtray. A new Conservative woman MP who was interviewed, Janet Fookes (later to become a deputy speaker and now in the Lords) was described as a 'gorgeous redhead' for the benefit of viewers watching on black-and-white sets.

This hardly fitted well with her declared intention to pursue issues relating to the legal status of women. Robin Day also tried to talk up some romantic interest in Edward Heath, but she insisted that she was not interested in sailing.

'Mad Mitch' who have defeated Laura Grimond in Aberdeenshire West had a rather acerbic interview. He gained his nickname after re-taking the Crater district of Aden from nationalist insurgents on his own initiative. This was described as 'the last battle of the British Empire'. Mitch stood down in 1974 to pursue what turned out to be a failed business venture. The maverick right-winger later described this as his biggest mistake, but all his attempts to return were unsuccessful.

A very posh lady interviewer attempted to talk to racegoers at Ascot but either they didn't want to talk her or they had little understanding of politics despite being declared Conservatives.

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