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James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. He served as a member of the Labour Party and led it during five general elections, winning four of them.

Born in Huddersfield, Wilson won a scholarship to a local grammar school. However, due to a failure to get work, his father moved the family to Spital, on the Wirral, and he then became the first head boy of the school he attended for [[UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem Sixth Form]], and then he went to Oxford. After a brief time as a Liberal, he became a Labour member and was one of the very large class of Labour [=MPs=] that arrived in the 1945 landslide, after being a civil servant during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he challenged Gaitskell for the Labour leadership but failed. When Gaitskell suddenly died less than three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his Conservative opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]]Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led the latter to retort, "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson."[[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

Under his leadership, Labour narrowly defeated Douglas-Home's Tories in 1964, winning a majority of four. This quickly proved unworkable, so he called another election in 1966 and this time won a {{landslide|Election}} victory. He lost the 1970 election to UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath in a surprise defeat. It is often said that Wilson/Labour lost because England had been knocked out of the World Cup just four days before the vote, though the announcement of an unusually bad balance of payments in the same month and anti-immigration sentiment may have had more to do with it. The hung parliament of February 1974 led to Labour winning most seats but not most votes, Wilson becoming PM and then took the country to the polls again in October. This time, Labour got a majority of three. Once the majority disappeared, Labour had to rely on the Liberals to stay in power for the remainder of his term.

Wilson surprised everyone when he stood down in March 1976. He had Alzheimer's, which became apparent after he left. He had informed UsefulNotes/JamesCallaghan, his eventual successor, of his decision to resign some months beforehand, thus Callaghan was able to get a head start on his rivals for the Labour leadership.

to:

James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. He served as a member of the Labour Party and led it during five general elections, winning four of them.

them. He represented the now-defunct constituencies of Ormskirk (from 1945 to 1950) and much longer for Huyton (from 1950 to 1983[[note]]He was the only Member of Parliament that constituency had.[[/note]]).

Born in Huddersfield, Huddersfield as the son of a teacher and a chemist, Wilson won a scholarship to a local grammar school. However, due to a failure to get work, his father moved the family to Spital, on the Wirral, and he then became the first head boy of the school he attended for [[UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem Sixth Form]], and then he went to Oxford. After a brief time as a Liberal, he became a Labour member and was one of the very large class of Labour [=MPs=] that who arrived in the 1945 landslide, after being a civil servant during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, while serving as Shadow Chancellor, he challenged Gaitskell for the Labour leadership but failed. When Gaitskell suddenly died less than three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his Conservative opponent]], counterpart]], Prime Minister Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]]Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's former status as the 14th Earl of Home led Home, which the latter had abdicated the year prior upon being named prime minister, led him to retort, "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson."[[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

Under his leadership, Labour narrowly defeated Douglas-Home's Tories in 1964, winning a majority of four. This quickly proved unworkable, so he called another election in 1966 and this time won a {{landslide|Election}} victory. He lost the 1970 election to UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath in a surprise defeat. It is often said that Wilson/Labour lost because England had been knocked out of the World Cup just four days before the vote, though the announcement of an unusually bad balance of payments in the same month -- ''on election day'', no less -- and anti-immigration sentiment may have had more to do with it. The hung parliament of February 1974 led to Labour winning most seats but not most votes, Wilson becoming PM and then took the country to the polls again in October. This time, Labour got a majority of three. Once the majority disappeared, Labour had to rely on the Liberals to stay in power for the remainder of his term.

Wilson surprised everyone when he stood down in March 1976. He had Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, which became apparent after he left. left.[[note]]Upon receiving his Alzheimer's diagnosis, Wilson intended to resign immediately, but was persuaded by a meeting of the full Cabinet to defer resignation for three months; he used the time to answer the letters sent to the PM by members of the public appealing for help, and was astonished by how many there were. In one example, a woman from Colchester with five children faced eviction, and the local council refused to help. Wilson telephoned the council's leader in person, threatening to send the Local Government Audit Commission to go over the Council's books (councillors held responsible for discrepancies could be "surcharged" and barred from public office); the woman and her family were rehoused the next day.[[/note]] He had informed UsefulNotes/JamesCallaghan, his eventual successor, of his decision to resign some months beforehand, thus Callaghan was able to get a head start on his rivals in the race for the Labour leadership.
leadership. Another possible partial influence may have been his discovery, according to his former press secretary Bernard Donoughue in his autobiography ''Downing Street Diary: Volume 1; with Wilson In Number 10'', that his best and oldest friend, Lord Wigg, Paymaster General during his first term in office 1964–1970, had been an [=MI5=] "mole", passing details of Cabinet meetings to the secret service -- who in turn passed them on to journalist Chapman Pincher at the ''Daily Express'', a man and a paper who had personally despised Wilson since the "D-Notice" scandal of 1965. Apparently, Wigg had a secret "second family", and [=MI5=] had used their discovery of this to blackmail him.



His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom: the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts.[[note]]He capitalised on the Fab Four and the Lions.[[/note]] By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of Britain's worst Prime Ministers ever, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration composing his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[TransatlanticEquivalent analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him not to seek reelection. During his second term, public opinion really turned against Wilson, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom: the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts.[[note]]He capitalised on the Fab Four and the Lions.[[/note]] By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of Britain's worst Prime Ministers ever, his administration ministry seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration composing his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as roughly [[TransatlanticEquivalent analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him not to seek reelection. During his second term, public opinion really turned against Wilson, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).



* He was the first Prime Minister to have a regular parody in ''Magazine/PrivateEye'' ("Mrs. Wilson's Diary", supposedly his day-to-day routine as told by his wife, Mary, frequently satirising Wilson's working class pretensions) and was commonly nicknamed "Wislon", after a typographical error that made him sound like an alien menace.

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* He was the first Prime Minister to have a regular parody in ''Magazine/PrivateEye'' ("Mrs. Wilson's Diary", supposedly his day-to-day routine as told by his wife, Mary, frequently satirising Wilson's working class working-class pretensions) and was commonly nicknamed "Wislon", after a typographical error that made him sound like an alien menace.



* Wilson's decision to resign in 1976 may have been at least partially influenced by his discovery, according to his former press secretary Bernard Donoughue in his autobiography ''Downing Street Diary: Volume 1; with Wilson In Number 10'', that his best and oldest friend, Lord Wigg, Paymaster General during his first term in office 1964-1970, had been an [=MI5=] "mole", passing details of Cabinet meetings to the secret service -- who in turn passed them on to journalist Chapman Pincher at the ''Daily Express'', a man and a paper who had personally despised Wilson since the "D-Notice" scandal of 1965. Apparently, Wigg had a secret "second family", and [=MI5=] had used their discovery of this to blackmail him.
* Upon receiving his Alzheimer's diagnosis, Wilson intended to resign immediately, but was persuaded by a meeting of the full Cabinet to defer resignation for three months; he used the time to answer the letters sent to the PM by members of the public appealing for help, and was astonished by how many there were. In one example, a woman from Colchester with five children faced eviction, and the local council was refusing to help. Wilson telephoned the council's leader in person, threatening to send the Local Government Audit Commission to go over the Council's books (councillors held responsible for discrepancies can be "surcharged" and barred from public office); the woman and her family were rehoused the next day.



* He is portrayed by Jason Watkins in in Season 3 of ''Series/TheCrown2016'', which opens with Labour having won a majority and Wilson becoming PM as a result. The Season 3 premiere touches upon how Wilson's working-class background stands in stark contrast to the Queen's previous upper-class [=PMs=] and the suspicions people had about Wilson potentially being a Soviet mole.

to:

* He is portrayed by Jason Watkins in in Season 3 of ''Series/TheCrown2016'', which opens with Labour having won a majority and Wilson becoming PM as a result. The Season 3 premiere touches upon how Wilson's working-class background stands in stark contrast to the Queen's previous upper-class (and Conservative) [=PMs=] (UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill, UsefulNotes/AnthonyEden, UsefulNotes/HaroldMacmillan, and the UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome) and people's suspicions people had about that Wilson potentially being was a potential Soviet mole.[[TheMole mole]].

Added DiffLines:

* He is portrayed by Jason Watkins in in Season 3 of ''Series/TheCrown2016'', which opens with Labour having won a majority and Wilson becoming PM as a result. The Season 3 premiere touches upon how Wilson's working-class background stands in stark contrast to the Queen's previous upper-class [=PMs=] and the suspicions people had about Wilson potentially being a Soviet mole.


James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. He contested five general elections, winning four of them.

Born in Huddersfield, Wilson won a scholarship to a local grammar school. However, due to a failure to get work, his father moved them to Spital, on the Wirral, and he then became the first head boy the school he attended for [[UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem Sixth Form]], and then he went to Oxford. After a brief time as a Liberal, he became a Labour member and was one of the very large class of Labour [=MPs=] that arrived in the 1945 landslide, after being a civil servant during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he tried and failed to remove Gaitskell from the Labour leadership. When Gaitskell suddenly died three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]](Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led the latter to retort that "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson")[[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

Under his leadership, Labour narrowly defeated Douglas-Home's Tories in 1964, winning a majority of four. This quickly proved unworkable, so he called another election in 1966 and this time won a {{landslide|Election}} victory. He lost the 1970 election to UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath in a surprise defeat. It is often said that Wilson lost because England had been knocked out of the World Cup just four days before the vote, though the announcement of an unusually bad balance of payments in the same month and anti-immigration sentiment may have had more to do with it. The hung parliament of February 1974 led to Labour winning most seats but not most votes, Wilson becoming PM and then took the country to the polls again in October. This time, Labour got a majority of three. Once the majority disappeared, Labour had to rely on the Liberals to stay in power for the remainder of his term.

to:

James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. He contested served as a member of the Labour Party and led it during five general elections, winning four of them.

Born in Huddersfield, Wilson won a scholarship to a local grammar school. However, due to a failure to get work, his father moved them the family to Spital, on the Wirral, and he then became the first head boy of the school he attended for [[UsefulNotes/BritishEducationSystem Sixth Form]], and then he went to Oxford. After a brief time as a Liberal, he became a Labour member and was one of the very large class of Labour [=MPs=] that arrived in the 1945 landslide, after being a civil servant during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he tried and failed to remove challenged Gaitskell from for the Labour leadership. leadership but failed. When Gaitskell suddenly died less than three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his Conservative opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]](Wilson's UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]]Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led the latter to retort that retort, "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson")[[/note]] Wilson."[[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

Under his leadership, Labour narrowly defeated Douglas-Home's Tories in 1964, winning a majority of four. This quickly proved unworkable, so he called another election in 1966 and this time won a {{landslide|Election}} victory. He lost the 1970 election to UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath in a surprise defeat. It is often said that Wilson Wilson/Labour lost because England had been knocked out of the World Cup just four days before the vote, though the announcement of an unusually bad balance of payments in the same month and anti-immigration sentiment may have had more to do with it. The hung parliament of February 1974 led to Labour winning most seats but not most votes, Wilson becoming PM and then took the country to the polls again in October. This time, Labour got a majority of three. Once the majority disappeared, Labour had to rely on the Liberals to stay in power for the remainder of his term.



* UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar (Wilson supported the war, but did not provide troops).

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* UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar (Wilson supported the war, war but did not provide British troops).



His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts.[[note]]He capitalised on the Fab Four and the Lions.[[/note]] By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of Britain's worst Prime Ministers ever, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration composing his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[TransatlanticEquivalent analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him not to seek reelection. During his second term, public opinion really turned against Wilson, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. boom: the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts.[[note]]He capitalised on the Fab Four and the Lions.[[/note]] By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of Britain's worst Prime Ministers ever, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration composing his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[TransatlanticEquivalent analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him not to seek reelection. During his second term, public opinion really turned against Wilson, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).


James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He contested five elections, winning four of them.

to:

James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976. He contested five general elections, winning four of them.



In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he tried and failed to remove Gaitskell from the Labour leadership. When Gaitskell suddenly died three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]]Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led Home to retort that "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson".[[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

to:

In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he tried and failed to remove Gaitskell from the Labour leadership. When Gaitskell suddenly died three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]]Wilson's UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]](Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led Home the latter to retort that "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson".[[/note]] Wilson")[[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.



Wilson was a very good tactician and the first PM to understand the power of television. His precise views on [[UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm Polaris]] varied on the audience (he ultimately went ahead with the order) and he was the first Prime Minister to be fully aware of the potentials of media. An attempt at a post-premiership talk show, though, failed -- he just wasn't good. He stayed an MP until 1983, then went to the Lords, but dropped out of public life after 1987.

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Wilson was a very good tactician and the first PM to understand the power of television. His precise views on [[UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm Polaris]] varied on the audience (he ultimately went ahead with the order) and he was the first Prime Minister to be fully aware of the potentials potential of media. media -- for example, his famous pipe-smoking was a construct for Wilson's 'man of the people' public image: in private he smoked cigars. An attempt at a post-premiership talk show, though, failed -- failed; he just wasn't good. He stayed an MP until 1983, then went to the Lords, but dropped out of public life after 1987.



* Music/TheBeatles' song "Taxman", from their ''Music/{{Revolver}}'' album, mentions "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" (Harold Wilson and then-opposition leader UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath). A year before the song's release, Wilson -- savvy to the mood of the public regarding the band -- had them awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire).

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* Music/TheBeatles' song "Taxman", from their ''Music/{{Revolver}}'' album, mentions "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" (Harold Wilson and then-opposition leader UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath). A year before the song's release, Wilson -- savvy to the mood of the public regarding the band -- had them awarded the M.B.E. [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever MBE]] (Member of the Order of the British Empire).



* Wilson's decision to resign in 1976 may have been at least partially influenced by his discovery, according to his former press secretary Bernard Donoughue in his autobiography ''Downing Street Diary: Volume 1; with Wilson In Number 10'', that his best and oldest friend, Lord Wigg, Paymaster General during his first term in office 1964-1970, had been an MI5 "mole", passing details of Cabinet meetings to MI5, who in turn passed them on to journalist Chapman Pincher at the ''Daily Express'', a man and a paper who had personally despised Wilson since the "D-Notice" scandal of 1965. Apparently, Wigg had a secret "second family", and MI5 had used their discovery of this to blackmail him.

to:

* Wilson's decision to resign in 1976 may have been at least partially influenced by his discovery, according to his former press secretary Bernard Donoughue in his autobiography ''Downing Street Diary: Volume 1; with Wilson In Number 10'', that his best and oldest friend, Lord Wigg, Paymaster General during his first term in office 1964-1970, had been an MI5 [=MI5=] "mole", passing details of Cabinet meetings to MI5, the secret service -- who in turn passed them on to journalist Chapman Pincher at the ''Daily Express'', a man and a paper who had personally despised Wilson since the "D-Notice" scandal of 1965. Apparently, Wigg had a secret "second family", and MI5 [=MI5=] had used their discovery of this to blackmail him.



* A main character in AgentLavender, where he indeed was a Soviet spy. Several sections of the book follows his flight through rural East Anglia, trying to evade British security and reach his Russian handlers.

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* A main character in AgentLavender, ''Literature/AgentLavender'', where he indeed was a Soviet spy. Several sections of the book follows his flight through rural East Anglia, trying to evade British security and reach his Russian handlers.


[[caption-width-right:257:The man with the pipe]]

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[[caption-width-right:257:The man with the pipe]]
pipe.]]



In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he tried and failed to remove Gaitskell from the Labour leadership. When Gaitskell suddenly died three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome[[note]]Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led Home to retort that "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson".[[/note]], and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

Under his leadership, Labour narrowly defeated Douglas-Home's Tories in 1964, winning a majority of 4. This quickly proved unworkable, so he called another election in 1966 and this time won a landslide victory. He lost the 1970 election in a surprise defeat. It is often said that Wilson lost because England had been knocked out of the World Cup just four days before the vote, though the announcement of an unusually bad balance of payments in the same month and anti-immigration sentiment may have had more to do with it. The hung parliament of February 1974 led to Labour winning most seats but not most votes, Wilson becoming PM and then took the country to the polls again in October. This time, Labour got a majority of 3. Once the majority disappeared, Labour had to rely on the Liberals to stay in power for the remainder of his term.

Wilson surprised everyone when he stood down in March 1976. He had Alzheimer's, which became apparent after he left. He had informed James Callaghan, his eventual successor, of his decision to resign some months beforehand, thus Callaghan was able to get a head start on his rivals for the Labour leadership.

to:

In 1947, he got the Cabinet-level job of President of the Board of Trade (now generally known as Business Secretary), but resigned from the Cabinet in 1951 in protest over Hugh Gaitskell's shadow budget. In 1960, he tried and failed to remove Gaitskell from the Labour leadership. When Gaitskell suddenly died three years later, Wilson became leader. As leader, Wilson crafted an image as a "man of the people" to [[SlobsVersusSnobs contrast with the aristocratic background and peerage of his opponent]], Sir UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome[[note]]Wilson's UsefulNotes/AlecDouglasHome,[[note]]Wilson's [[LampshadeHanging lampshading]] of Home's status as the 14th Earl of Home led Home to retort that "I suppose Mr. Wilson is the fourteenth Mr. Wilson".[[/note]], [[/note]] and emphasised his party's technocratic leanings over their nationalisation programme.

Under his leadership, Labour narrowly defeated Douglas-Home's Tories in 1964, winning a majority of 4. four. This quickly proved unworkable, so he called another election in 1966 and this time won a landslide {{landslide|Election}} victory. He lost the 1970 election to UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath in a surprise defeat. It is often said that Wilson lost because England had been knocked out of the World Cup just four days before the vote, though the announcement of an unusually bad balance of payments in the same month and anti-immigration sentiment may have had more to do with it. The hung parliament of February 1974 led to Labour winning most seats but not most votes, Wilson becoming PM and then took the country to the polls again in October. This time, Labour got a majority of 3.three. Once the majority disappeared, Labour had to rely on the Liberals to stay in power for the remainder of his term.

Wilson surprised everyone when he stood down in March 1976. He had Alzheimer's, which became apparent after he left. He had informed James Callaghan, UsefulNotes/JamesCallaghan, his eventual successor, of his decision to resign some months beforehand, thus Callaghan was able to get a head start on his rivals for the Labour leadership.
leadership.



* A failed EEC entry attempt in 1967 (vetoed by France, for the second time).

to:

* A failed EEC [[UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion EEC]] entry attempt in 1967 (vetoed by France, for the second time).



* A national referendum of membership of [[UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion the EEC]] in 1975 (to resolve a split in Labour, where members were allowed to campaign on either side), which led to a vote to stay winning with 67.2%[[note]]The only areas to vote against were the Shetlands and Outer Hebrides[[/note]].

to:

* A national referendum of membership of [[UsefulNotes/TheEuropeanUnion the EEC]] EEC in 1975 (to resolve a split in Labour, where members were allowed to campaign on either side), which led to a vote to stay winning with 67.2%[[note]]The 2%.[[note]]The only areas to vote against were the Shetlands and Outer Hebrides[[/note]].Hebrides.[[/note]]



His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as analogous to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).

Wilson was a very good tactician and the first PM to understand the power of television. His precise views on [[UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm Polaris]] varied on the audience (he ultimately went ahead with the order) and he was the first Prime Minister to be fully aware of the potentials of media. An attempt at a post-premiership talk show, though, failed - he just wasn't any good. He stayed an MP until 1983, then went to the Lords, but dropped out of public life after 1987.

In his last two years as PM, and until his death, he repeatedly told people he was being shadowed and bugged by [=MI5=]; claims dismissed as paranoia until revealed to be true in 2009. It is also rumoured he was a Soviet agent, or at least a 'useful idiot' of the kind Stalin liked. To be fair, one person spreading those rumours was [[ChurchOfHappyology L. Ron Hubbard]], after Wilson's government banned Scientologists from entering the UK in 1967 and Health Minister Kenneth Robinson won a libel suit against him.

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from miniskirts.[[note]]He capitalised on the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. Lions.[[/note]] By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the Britain's worst Prime Ministers in British history, ever, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being composing his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as analogous [[TransatlanticEquivalent analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not to seek reelection. Wilson's During his second term was when term, public opinion really turned against him, Wilson, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).

Wilson was a very good tactician and the first PM to understand the power of television. His precise views on [[UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm Polaris]] varied on the audience (he ultimately went ahead with the order) and he was the first Prime Minister to be fully aware of the potentials of media. An attempt at a post-premiership talk show, though, failed - -- he just wasn't any good. He stayed an MP until 1983, then went to the Lords, but dropped out of public life after 1987.

In his last two years as PM, and until his death, he repeatedly told people he was being shadowed and bugged by [=MI5=]; his claims were dismissed as paranoia until revealed to be true in 2009. It is also rumoured he was a Soviet agent, or at least a 'useful idiot' of the kind Stalin [[UsefulNotes/JosefStalin Stalin]] liked. To be fair, one person spreading those rumours was [[ChurchOfHappyology L. Ron Hubbard]], Creator/LRonHubbard, after Wilson's government banned Scientologists [[ChurchOfHappyology Scientologists]] from entering the UK in 1967 and Health Minister Kenneth Robinson won a libel suit against him.



* He was the first Prime Minister to have a regular parody in ''Magazine/PrivateEye'' ("Mrs. Wilson's Diary", supposedly his day-to-day routine as told by his wife, frequently satirising Wilson's working class pretensions) and was commonly nicknamed "Wislon", after a typographical error that made him sound like an alien menace.
* Via trick photography, Wilson (in his second term) appears as one of the celebrities who embrace the craze for the Lancastrian martial art of 'Ecky-Thump' in ''Series/TheGoodies''. He knocks out the policeman guarding Number Ten with a black pudding...without ever removing his pipe.
* In another episode, again via the magic of trick photography, Wilson appears as a streaker (a person who runs naked through a public place)!

to:

* He was the first Prime Minister to have a regular parody in ''Magazine/PrivateEye'' ("Mrs. Wilson's Diary", supposedly his day-to-day routine as told by his wife, Mary, frequently satirising Wilson's working class pretensions) and was commonly nicknamed "Wislon", after a typographical error that made him sound like an alien menace.
* Via trick photography, Wilson (in his second term) appears as one of the celebrities who embrace the craze for the Lancastrian martial art of 'Ecky-Thump' in ''Series/TheGoodies''. He knocks out the policeman guarding Number Ten with a black pudding...pudding ... without ever removing his pipe.
* ** In another episode, again via the magic of trick photography, Wilson appears as a streaker {{streak|ing}}er (a person who runs naked through a public place)!



* A Glaswegian children`s song from TheSixties poked fun at both Wilson and Heath:
-->Vote, vote vote for Harold Wilson.\\
Who comes knockin at the door?\\
If it's Edward, let him in\\
with a pimple on his chin\\
and we'll not need Harold anymore,\\
Shut the door!

to:

* A Glaswegian children`s children's song from TheSixties poked fun at both Wilson and Heath:
-->Vote, vote vote for Harold Wilson.\\
Who
Wilson.
-->Who
comes knockin at the door?\\
If
door?
-->If
it's Edward, let him in\\
with
in
-->with
a pimple on his chin\\
and
chin
-->and
we'll not need Harold anymore,\\
Shut
anymore,
-->Shut
the door!



* Upon receiving a diagnosis of Ahlzeimer's, Wilson intended to resign immediately, but was persuaded by a meeting of the full Cabinet to defer resignation for three months; he used the time to answer the letters sent to the PM by members of the public appealing for help, and was astonished by how many there were. In one example, a woman from Colchester with five children faced eviction, and the local council was refusing to help. Wilson telephoned the leader of the council in person, threatening to send the Local Government Audit Commission to go over the Council's books (councillors held responsible for discrepancies can be "Surcharged" and barred from public office); the woman and her family were rehoused the next day.
* A main character in AgentLavender, where he indeed was a Soviet spy. Several sections of the book follows his flight through rural East Anglia, trying to evade British security and reach his Russian handlers.

to:

* Upon receiving a diagnosis of Ahlzeimer's, his Alzheimer's diagnosis, Wilson intended to resign immediately, but was persuaded by a meeting of the full Cabinet to defer resignation for three months; he used the time to answer the letters sent to the PM by members of the public appealing for help, and was astonished by how many there were. In one example, a woman from Colchester with five children faced eviction, and the local council was refusing to help. Wilson telephoned the council's leader of the council in person, threatening to send the Local Government Audit Commission to go over the Council's books (councillors held responsible for discrepancies can be "Surcharged" "surcharged" and barred from public office); the woman and her family were rehoused the next day.
* A main character in AgentLavender, where he indeed was a Soviet spy. Several sections of the book follows his flight through rural East Anglia, trying to evade British security and reach his Russian handlers.


Wilson was a very good tactician and the first PM to understand the power of television. His precise views on [[UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm Polaris]] varied on the audience (he ultimately went ahead with the order) and he was the first Prime Minister to be fully aware of the potentials of media. An attempt at a post-premiership talk show, though, failed- he just wasn't any good. He stayed an MP until 1983, then went to the Lords, but dropped out of public life after 1987.

to:

Wilson was a very good tactician and the first PM to understand the power of television. His precise views on [[UsefulNotes/UltimateDefenceOfTheRealm Polaris]] varied on the audience (he ultimately went ahead with the order) and he was the first Prime Minister to be fully aware of the potentials of media. An attempt at a post-premiership talk show, though, failed- failed - he just wasn't any good. He stayed an MP until 1983, then went to the Lords, but dropped out of public life after 1987.


James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He contested five elections, winning four of them.

to:

James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He contested five elections, winning four of them.



* Music/TheBeatles' song "Taxman", from their ''Music/{{Revolver}}'' album, mentions "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" (Harold Wilson and then-opposition leader UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath). A year before the song's release Wilson -- savvy to the mood of the public regarding the band -- had them awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire).

to:

* Music/TheBeatles' song "Taxman", from their ''Music/{{Revolver}}'' album, mentions "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" (Harold Wilson and then-opposition leader UsefulNotes/EdwardHeath). A year before the song's release release, Wilson -- savvy to the mood of the public regarding the band -- had them awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire).


His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] analogous to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).

Added DiffLines:

* He is a major character in ''Theatre/TheAudience'', where he gets the most focus of any featured PM, due to his OddFriendship with UsefulNotes/HMTheQueen.


His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office.

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office.office (although considering the general reputation of modern Prime Ministers...).


Wilson surprised everyone when he stood down in March 1976. He had Alzheimer's, which became apparent after he left.

to:

Wilson surprised everyone when he stood down in March 1976. He had Alzheimer's, which became apparent after he left.
left. He had informed James Callaghan, his eventual successor, of his decision to resign some months beforehand, thus Callaghan was able to get a head start on his rivals for the Labour leadership.


His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart.

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart.
apart. Since the 1990s, however, his reputation has somewhat improved, as the liberal reforms enacted during his first government have been increasingly acknowledged. In prime ministerial ranking lists he generally makes it into the top half of the post-war holders of the office.


His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonBJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart.

to:

His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he had come to be considered one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonBJohnson, UsefulNotes/LyndonJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife, and his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart.


While his first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom: the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]], he is considered in retrospect as one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration being seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, TheTroubles and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. Wilson's second term was even ''worse'', having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife and HW's inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the forseeable future.

to:

While his His first premiership coincided with the peak of the British post-war boom: boom. the days of Swinging London, Music/TheBeatles, the 1966 World Cup Cup, and miniskirts[[note]]Capitalising from the Fab Four and the Lions[[/note]], Lions[[/note]]. By TheEighties, however, he is had come to be considered in retrospect as one of the worst Prime Ministers in British history, his administration being seen as the beginning of [[DorkAge the "sick man of Europe" era]] with devaluation, industrial stagnation, TheTroubles UsefulNotes/TheTroubles, and polarisation over social reforms and immigration being his most lasting legacy, lingering by the time he returned to 10 Downing in 1974. For Americans reading this, his first government can be seen as [[CounterpartComparison analogous]] to the Presidency of UsefulNotes/LyndonBJohnson, who faced similar domestic turmoil (over UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and the UsefulNotes/CivilRightsMovement) during his administration that eventually caused him to not seek reelection. Wilson's second term was even ''worse'', when public opinion really turned against him, having to deal also with runaway inflation, industrial strife strife, and HW's his inability to bring his cabinet in line, dashing any hopes for his reputation to recover for the forseeable future.
foreseeable future. Even many Labour supporters see his time leading the party as a missed opportunity for greater reforms and his failures as having given rise to nearly two decades of Conservative dominance, and while he managed to hold Labour together while he was running it, in his absence the party spent TheEighties tearing itself apart.


James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, PC, FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He contested five elections, winning four of them.

to:

James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, [[UsefulNotes/KnightFever KG, OBE, PC, PC]], FRS, FSS (11 March 1916 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1964 to 1970 and 1974 to 1976. He contested five elections, winning four of them.

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