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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - March 6, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta WvdnMday, March 6, 1974-THE LETHBRIDOC HERALD-17 Wilson: the 'Mr. Solomon Binding9 of British politics i By RICHARD EDER New York Times Service LONDON In 1965, when Harold Wilson had been prime minister for a year, a friend came into his office and congratulated him for having survived so long despite the Labor party's tiny four-seat majority in the House of Commons "That's Wilson said, pointing to a portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, who was prime minister for 20 years "There's the chap with the record I'm after With only six years under his belt, Wilson has a long way to go. He is 57 now, and has aged suddenly, but that is not the main reason for the odds being against his keeping office for 14 more years When he received his mandate Monday night from Queen Elizabeth, Wilson faced as tricky a task as any prime minister in this century With 301 labor seats in the 635-seat house of commons, not only does he lack a majority but he does not even have a reliable supporting partner Even if the Liberals vote with him, they have only 14 seats themselves, so Wilson will have to steer his course to pick up votes from the small Scottish and Welsh groups in parliament. He comes to office with some serious handicaps. His Labor party has been badly split for years, and since 1970, when it lost power, its programs have been largely set by its left wing It will be impossible to get much of this program through Parliament as a minority government, but Wilson will have trouble with his own supporters if he does not try. He has always been immensely skillful at bridging the gap between the Labor moderates and the labor Left. "If you can't ride two horses at once you don't belong in the is an old saying in a party that glories in schisms. Aneurin Bevan, who died after failing to keep his party to what he regarded as its true radical faith, once mocked Wilson with the words- "All facts and no bloody vision." On the other hand, when the late Hugh Gaitskell, who led the party in the 1950's, tried to get it to soften Us line on nationalization, Wilson, who wanted his job, attacked from the left. "It's as if you had said to the Salvation Army: 'we've marched together for 40 years. Now I tell you there is no he said Harold Wilson's history has been one of occasional rapid swings from one position to another. He advanced an industrial relations code while in office, but when the unions, which provide much of the party's organization and money, objected, he dropped it. He called for wage restraints and assured the nation that he had "solemn and binding" commitments from the unions to restrain themselves. The unions promptly advanced enormous wage claims, and Wilson still encounters placards at meetings calling him "Mr. Solomon Binding." The most drastic shift, of course, was his opposition to the terms that Prime Minister Edward Heath accepted for joining the Common Market. When Wilson was prime minister he would have beeirdelighted, according to some of his own associates, to get those very same terms Wilson's reversal on the Common Market caused a serious split inside the Labor Party It also damaged his personal standing with the public, for whom his major weakness has always been credibility. Back in 1969 an opinion poll found that only 35 per cent answered "yes" when asked if they believed what he said. On the other hand, he drew nigh ratings on such qualities as "intelligent" and "capable." Wilson came from a modest background, did not go to one of the prestigious public schools, and made his way through Oxford under heavy financial pressure. He did not have the cultivated tones of Gaitskell or Clement Attlee, but a gritty Yorkshire twang. His lifestyle is assertively middle-class Some criticism has harped on this, and there is a good deal of snobbery about his seaside vacations, his China ornaments and his wife. Mary Wilson, a former secretary, is a sweet-faced, quiet woman with a desperate desire for privacy. She writes poems and gives interviews that are sometimes unfortunate Their two sons are grown up now, and Mrs Wilson has sometimes expressed the hope that her husband would give up politics and go back to Oxford, where he once taught economics It is believed that should he ever do so, a place would be open for him as master of Jesus College A. 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They combine cushion heel for comfort with fine grain leather uppers for good looks. Composition sole and heel. Welt construction. Brown. BUY WITH CONFIDENCE FINAL WEEK! SALE ENDS MARCH 12th YOUR CHOICE Opan Daily 9a.m. to 6p.m. Thuraday and Friday 9 a.m. to p.m SATISFACTION GUARANTEED REPWCfMENT OR YOUR MONEY REFUNDED PAIR We Reserve the Right to Limit Quantities COLLEGE SHOPPING MALL 2025 Mayor Magrath Drive DEPARTMENT STORES A DIVISION OF THE F.W. WOOLWORTH CO. IF YOU TAKE AWAY OUR LOW PRICES YOU'VE GOT A REGULAR DEPARTMENT STORE ;