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Tag Archives Harold Wilson


One February night in ’74

the Army occupied Heathrow Airport.

The BBC’s Nine O’Clock news explained

the occupation was an exercise

in how to deal with a terrorist threat.

The new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson,

learned of the exercise from the TV,

recognised it as the dress rehearsal

of a coup against his premiership –

a coup that would have been sanctified

by an announcement from her Majesty,

an emergency government led by

her husband’s uncle,



More than four decades ago, I taught English
in a boy’s grammar, waiting for it to go
comprehensive. I can think of three
notable alumni: a Labour PM,
whose only school magazine piece was
‘Ephemera’; the lover and killer
of a fêted, controversial playwright;
and a cult film director (see below).

The classrooms were built round a courtyard –
as if the architect had worked to some
Mediterranean model. Mine
was opposite the staffroom. One lunchtime,
I was marking at my desk and looked up
to see the said director,