Monday, 18 February 2013

Harold Wilson and Hugh Greene

Today's Daily Telegraph features an interesting opinion article on 'Harold Wilson Night' by the paper's former editor and authorised biographer of Margaret Thatcher, Charles Moore.

Here's an excerpt of the article which refers to Wilson's relationship with BBC Director-General at the time (and head of London-based resistance organisation European Atlantic Action Committee on Greece) Hugh Greene:
No one but the BBC would have dreamt up a “Harold Wilson Night”. It is hard to think of any other politician who was at the top for so long (he won four general elections) with so little to show for it. But it is fitting that the BBC should have commemorated the 50th anniversary of Wilson’s capture of the Labour leadership because, at the time, it loved him.
In the general election of 1964, Wilson spotted that the BBC comedy Steptoe and Son would be broadcast on polling day. Believing that the programme (about father-and-son rag-and-bone men) was particularly popular with Labour voters, and would therefore keep them away from the polling stations, Wilson went to see Hugh Greene, the director-general, to persuade him to reschedule. Greene, who craved a Labour victory, obliged. Since Wilson’s overall majority was only four seats, it is possible that it was the Beeb wot won it.

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