On Friday the 5th June the University of Nottingham’s Centre for British Politics, in conjunction with the People’s History Museum, held a conference to mark 50 years since Harold Wilson’s speech to the Scarborough Conference. The speech was one of the most memorable and influential pieces of oratory of the twentieth century. Wilson’s phrase that Britain would be ‘forged in the white heat of this [scientific] revolution’ somehow captured the spirit of the 1960s.
Aside from the many excellent papers one of the day’s highlights came before lunch, in a round table discussion between Geoffrey Goodman and Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP. Geoffrey Goodman is one Britain’s most eminent journalists. He began working at the Daily Mirror in 1969 becoming industrial editor and then assistant editor before retiring in 1986. He covered the 1963 Labour conference for the Daily Herald. While Sir Gerald, elected and MP in 1970, served in a number of ministerial roles and was also a member of Wilson’s ‘kitchen cabinet’. Both men knew Harold Wilson well, and both were able to provide unique personal insights into the man behind the speech.
Some of the papers given during the day have been written up as blog posts which can be found on the University of Nottingham’s Ballots and Bullets blog. The conference was also written up in the Telegraph.
The actual anniversary of Wilson’s ‘White Heat’ speech is the 1st October. To commemorate it further, visitors to the People’s History Museum can hear an actor read the speech read in its entirety . This will take place on the 1st floor galley at 13:15.
Hopefully see you there.