A week is a long time in politics
As a young boy in the 1920s, Harold Wilson stood in front of the door of Number 10 Downing Street and posed for a family snap. Forty years later, he would do the same thing, but this time, in front of an army of press photographers.
He was Britain’s Labour Prime Minister from 1964 until 1970 and again from 1974 until 1976.
Wilson’s origins were humble, but he had a great mind and a sharp wit. He rose fast in politics. At 31, he became the youngest cabinet minister of the 20th century.
Wilson won four General Elections – more than any other post-war UK political leader. The raincoat he often wore, and pipe he smoked, became familiar features of his public image.
Asked how it felt to be Britain’s new prime minister in 1964, he replied: “Frankly, I feel like a beer.”
During his tenure as Prime Minister, the Government liberalised laws on censorship, divorce, abortion, and homosexuality, and he abolished capital punishment. He also believed a “technological revolution” would propel the British economy into the future.
When he suddenly resigned in 1976, many conspiracy theories soon developed concerning the reason for it. Most likely, Wilson was sensing the beginnings of the dementia which would mar his old age.
He always maintained the achievement he remained proudest of was overseeing the creation of the Open University. His legacy, continues to this day.