Purley Tory Speakman’s Labour past emerges 50 years on

March 31 this year will be the 50th anniversary of the 1966 General Election, when Harold Wilson’s Labour enjoyed a landslide victory over the Conservatives.

Donald Speakman: Tory councillor with a Labour past

Donald Speakman: Tory councillor with a Labour past

The BBC has been marking the occasion with a day-long transmission of their election night coverage from half a century ago, when among the key election issues were immigration, Labour’s management of the economy and Britain’s membership of Europe’s Common Market. Sound familiar?

Allowed to pass almost unremarked in the marathon broadcast was the Conservative win of the safe Tory seat of Bromley, where John Hunt enjoyed a near-10,000 vote majority over Labour’s Donald Speakman…

Yes, the very same Donald Speakman who has been a Tory councillor in Purley for the last 14 years.

According to the Croydon Conservatives’ website, “Donald has, for many years, been enthusiastically involved in the life and development of Purley.”

But they don’t mention that for many years before that “enthusiasm” for Purley, Speakman had been a Labour Party parliamentary candidate and was also a long-standing Labour councillor alongside the likes of “Red” Ted Knight and Ken Livingstone on the radical Lambeth Council.

50 years ago, and Speakman was standing for profoundly different political principles

50 years ago, and Speakman was standing for profoundly different political principles

Of course, Speakman is not alone among Croydon Tories in having a “colourful” political background: his Croham colleague, Maria Gatland, was once a gun-smuggling active member of the Provisional IRA.

Given Speakman’s socialist background in a Town Hall which was famous for fighting to preserve council jobs and residents’services, he may find it confusing to be watching, from the Tory benches, Croydon’s Labour administration axing jobs and services.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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4 Responses to Purley Tory Speakman’s Labour past emerges 50 years on

  1. davidjl2014 says:

    Here is yet another example of the BBC completely wasting Licence Fees. The political bias of this organisation borders on the outrageous at the best of times. Watching the 10 o’clock news on BBC 1 then Newsnight on BBC 2 is comparable to having an “electronic Marxist” in your front room.
    In 1966 Harold Wilson had a majority of 98. But in 1959 Harold Macmillan had an even greater majority. I can’t remember the BBC commemorating the same anniversary 7 years ago. Perhaps that’s just as well as it would also have been a waste of Licence Fees. So let’s scrap this tax like we did with the Radio and Dog Licenses. TV Licenses and Marxism have become equally outdated.

    • What a steaming heap of ignorance wrapped up in prejudice.

      The BBC’s live coverage of elections on television were only experimental during the 1950s. All broadcasters were governed by the 14-day rule, constraining coverage of parliament, a constraint which influenced other political coverage. It was not until 1964 that anything like an election night programme we would recognise today was broadcast.

      The BBC Parliament channel has been re-running its election night coverage in this manner for a few years: usually on a bank holiday closest to a notable anniversary. As TV goes, it’s as cheap as chips: line up the archive and press play.

      To suggest the choice of election is in anyway politically biased is ridiculous, and ignores the previous re-runs of other election nights.

      But where this comment is dangerously delusional is in its assault on the BBC, a public broadcaster which is the envy of the world. The alternative, as suggested, would place even more power into the monopolistic hands of Murdoch and his phone hackers, with Sky-high fees paid for accessing Fox News and its entirely impartial (not) coverage.

    • derekthrower says:

      Blimey what a fruitcake. Funny how these Right Whingers are unable to tell the difference between Liberalism and Marxism. “They all look the same to me !!!”

  2. derekthrower says:

    A politician’s politician.

    Well, a politician.

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