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1970’S BRITAIN:POWER-CUTS, RIOTS, TERRORISM, ECONOMIC DECLINE AND THE SPACE HOPPER
GOD SAVETHE QUEENGOD SAVE THE QUEENTHE FASCIST REGIMETHEY MADE YOU A MORONPOTENTIAL H-BOMBGOD SAVE THE QUEENSHE AINT NO HUMAN BEINGTHERE IS NO FUTUREIN ENGLANDS DREAMING
WHAT WERE THE1970S LIKE?The the UK economy had been propped up fordecades by a series of IMF (InternationalMonetary Fund) loans.The main concern throughout the 70s was―declinism‖, an obsession with the idea thatBritain had ―no future‖–the phrase whichultimately became a rallying cry of punk rock.Many projects were killed by the mid-70srecession and the oil price spike. Oil priceshock of 1973, leading to 70% increase in oilprices.There were also a number of riots and strikesby unions which caused the country to have a3-day week.The IRA planted a number of bombs in the1970’s killing many innocent civilians
DECLINISMAt one time British-owned automanufacturers were world leaders. TheBritish Motor Corporation (BMC) created theworld’s fourth-largest producer of cars.By the 1970s, however, the British autoindustry faced growing problems.Lost out to foreign-owned competition bothat home and abroad. The profitability of manyfirms was steadily declining.A number of problems, such as old-fashionedor low-quality products.Included the iconic Mini, which were triumphsof design but production costs made themunprofitable.By the 1970’s Management of many firms wasboth incompetent and hindered by chaoticorganization of sales and production.Most seriously, the industry was plagued bybad labor relations, with frequent strikes.
IRON & STEELHigh manufacturingcosts, a downturn inshipbuilding, free-market and overseascompetitioncontributed to theclosure of manymining pits in anumber of citiesacross England.
RIOTS ANDSTRIKESMany people feltthat trade unionsstood up for theinterests ofworking people andmany battled for afairer, more equalsociety. Somegovernments, however, felt theydamaged thecountrys economy.
RIOTS AND STRIKESBecause of high rates ofinflation, one of thegovernments strategieswas to cap pay rises.This caused unrestamongst trade unionswhere wages werestruggling to keep pacewith prices.This extended to mostindustries, most notablyan industry where therewas a powerful union –coal mining.
3 DAY WORKINGWEEKBetween 1 Januaryuntil 7 March 1974a three-day weekwas imposed topreserve dwindlingfuel supplies, aresult of severelyfractured relationswith the minersbecause of their Many homes and businesses were without electricity for up to nine hours acontinual strikes. day.
WINTER OFDISCONTENTWidespread strikesby local authoritytrade unionsdemanding largerpay rises for theirmembers, becausethe Labourgovernment soughtto hold a pay freezeto control inflation.
RUBBISH STRIKESRubbish was piled high in Central Londons LeicesterSquare after Westminster Council had allocatedrubbish to be dumped there. The rubbish attractedrats and, rather indistinguishably, the conservativemedia, who used pictures of the Square in an attemptto discredit the strikers.
IRAThe 1970’s also sawthe start of a newbombing campaignfrom the IRA.November 1974, theIRA carried out oneof its mostdevastating attackswhen 21 people werekilled in another pubbombing inBirmingham.
IMMIGRATIONIn the 1970s, theBritish left wasfaced with the re-emergence offascism on asignificant scale —in the form of theNational Front anda deepening of theracist offensiveagainst black andimmigrant workersby the state
1976 – NOTTING HILL CARNIVALAn important year for racerelations in Britain temperswere boiling among youngblack men over police use ofthe "sus" law, under whichanybody could be stopped,searched and held, even if onlysuspected of planning a crime.Anticipating some trouble,3,000 police officers turned up -ten times the amount ofprevious, relatively peaceful,events.Police officers were soondodging a hail of bottles and asurging crowd.Windows were smashed, fireswere lit and ill-equipped policeofficers picked up dustbin lidsand milk crates to charge therioters.
BRITISH PUNKPunk was not justabout music or clothes:it reflected a core ofdissatisfaction andresentment built up atthe end of a decadethat saw theintroduction of the 3-day week inBritain, strikes, increasing unemployment andcollapsing publicservices.
THE SEX PISTOLS1977 single "God Savethe Queen", wereapparently to evokesympathy for the workingclass, and a generalresentment for themonarchy.The song was releasedduring Queen’s silverjubilee in 1977. Therecords lyrics, as well asthe cover, werecontroversial at thetime, and both the BBCand the IndependentBroadcasting Companyrefused to play the song.
VIVIENNE WESTWOODWestwood met Malcolm McLaren, then an artstudent in a squat. She was a primary schoolteacher who was running away from her husbandand already had a child in tow.During this period Malcolm McLaren, became themanager of the Sex pistols and with Westood theyopened a fashion boutique in LondonWestwood created clothes which McLarenconceived.The two gained attention as the band woreWestwood and McLarens designs.Westwood was deeply interested in the punkfashion phenomenon of the 1970s, saying "I wasmessianic about punk, seeing if one could put aspoke in the system in some way‖.The "punk style" included bondage gear, safetypins, razor blades, bicycle or lavatory chains onclothing and spiked dog collars for jewellery, aswell as outrageous make-up and hair.Essential design elements include the adoption oftraditional elements of Scottish design such astartan fabric