Friday 8 May 2015

Life Is Full Of Surprises

Well I never, really I might have seen it coming but did not.  Cameron is still PM, with a bigger smirk than ever and able to construct his own Cabinet and Government and plan his own policies.  Big Boris will have his clout and doubtless his own following and things will not be the same.

What also may happen is that the Blair age in the Labour party has ended and what we will have is possibly going to be very different but quite where it will finish will depend on the infighting.  What Labour have to do now is work out how to regain Scotland, if they ever can because the only way is Left.

Back on the night of 8th October 1959 we were in the big halls where the local constituency results were being counted.  The Labour people were confident that they would retain their seats with increased majorities, the local Tory might be ousted and Harold Macmillan would be handing over the keys to 10 Downing Street to Hugh Gaitskell, one of Labour's sons of The Raj who believed in firm state control by intellectual planning.

When the first result came through and was announced there was a shocked silence and then polite clapping from one corner, the Labour man had only pipped his Tory opponent by a whisker.  As the night wore on it became apparent that not only had Gaitskell failed but grouse shooting aristocratic Harold Macmillan remained in power with an increased majority.  The single local hard line Tory MP man of Empire had doubled his majority.

Virtually nobody had seen it coming.  It was not the only surprise that year, in the Spring Loughborough College, picture above, had beaten London Welsh, full of internationals to win the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham and I was in the crowd.  The favourites, London Scottish, had failed to make the finals.  The media could not believe it.

In the Labour Party the result led to a long period of infighting ending up with Harold Wilson in charge.  But the Tories, then faced with the economic problems to which they did not have answers failed to build on their advantages and fell into a muddled state that lost them the 1964 election, by which time the problems had mounted.  The Liberals went off the radar.

The 1960's for all the talk of pop music and "change" was a difficult time for many when the distractions meant that the population at large did not realise and were not told what changes were going to and had to happen.  In some ways it was a period of political stasis that increased the eventual problems.

In November of 1959 I found myself in Loughborough up against the College.  It was a decent running game, we nearly gave them a shock, but not quite.  It is all about the margins and they can be a lot tighter and a lot less predictable than we think.

A week is a long time in politics.

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