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The Tudors

Bad news, another election but good news at this one the Conservatives, under Mrs Thatcher who replaced Edward Heath in 1975, won and stayed in power, with a change in Prime Minister in 1991, for eighteen years. Yippee. We can forget elections for a while.

Harold Wilson had resigned as PM in 1976, Jim Callaghan had taken over but by March 1977 he had lost his majority following some by-elections. He did a deal with the Liberals and they supported him on crucial votes. During the winter of 1977-78 there were many strikes across the country. I remember piles of rubbish on street corners as dustmen had gone on strike. It all became known as “the winter of discontent”, with thanks to old Bill Shakespeare. Look it up. Richard III. First line. Currently appearing in a car park in Leicester. You can look that up too.

The end result was that Labour lost, the Conservatives won and the UK had its first female Prime Minister.

However, things didn't get much better. There was very high unemployment and this mainly affected people in the major cities. Unemployment among young people was the highest. On 10-12 April severe rioting took place in Brixton in London.

Over the course of the three days 279 policemen and at least 45 members of the public were injured. Buildings were destroyed by fire and looting took place.

Brixton was particularly badly hit by the economic crisis as they were many poor families, one-parent families and people with disabilities living there. That's not to say that these people, or the large percentage of coloured people who lived there, are more likely to riot but they are people who often feel neglected and put upon by governments when things are bad. If you don't really have enough money for basics and then prices rise, what can you do? You can't make savings, you just struggle.

It would appear that the riots started because some coloured youths thought the police were arresting a young man who had been stabbed when in fact the police put him in their car to take him to hospital. Misunderstandings can lead to problems and indeed hatred and so the riots developed. It wasn't only Brixton that suffered and there were also riots in Liverpool and Manchester this year.

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