Saw Paul Burgin, purveyor of the fine Mars Hill blog the other week at the Fabian/Obama debate. He’s now tagged me to answer some questions on the General Election of 1979 which as I type is being re-run on the BBC Parliament Channel – sureally the words “Mrs Thatcher needs 14 more seats for an overall majority” have just flashed up on the screen over a young-looking John Cole jousting with Sir Robin Day.

Anyway in response to Paul’s starter for 10:

How old were you?

Seven years young

What are your personal political memories, if you have any?

I remember everyone saying “Maggie won” and my clever clogs older sister Nutun pointing out that Thacher was not the first woman in charge of a country, it was Golda Meir. My mum told me “If the tv cameras ever come to your school again tell them about how disgusted you are about the free milk being taken away by Thatcher”. I was at a school which was often filmed due to proximity with TV centre and as lots of BBC types had their kids there – I was on “Junior That’s Life” and “Look and Read” whilst I was there.

Political Views Held?

My parents were automatic Labour voters as most UK Asians were at the time, partly due to Enoch Powell and possibly for 1947 independence type reasons, notwithstanding often being socially conservative – small c. As for my own preferences in 1979 I will ditto the “youthful naivety” Paul pleaded. Little did I know what an era-defining moment this would be and how rough things would get in the next 18 years.

Where did you live?

Ealing London W5 in a 1930s semi, I’ve been downwardly mobile since. The ward is called “Pitshanger”.


Montpelier Primary – not at all in France but Ealing.

Favourite TV Programmes?

I was not usually allowed to stay up for it much but I was partial to Ted Rodgers’ 321 for the added bonus of “Dusty Bin”. We had a black and white tv mind so some of the detail must have been lost on me.

Favourite Band/Music/etc..?

All passed down to me via my older sister, 6 years my senior. She had a record player in her room and had some cool 7 inches – Blondie’s “Sunday Girl” with French version B-side and The Dickies’ souped up “Bannana Splits” theme on yellow vinyl.

UPDATE: Merlyn Rees analysing the defeat has been interrupted by footage of Callaghan speeding off to hand in his notice to the Queen. No 10 looks weird without its now-gated entrance.

Anyway I hereby tag Chris Paul, Will Parbury and Hopi Sen.

Final word:
Con Hold Skipton has just flashed up. Labour has lost their deposit and Shirley Williams is the first minister to be defeated. A youthful David Dimbleby says she will be “missed by all sides”. The rat of course went on to wreck Labour’s chances for years with the failed SDP experiment. GGGGGGrrrrrrrrr.