After the dynamic optimism of the sixties, the seventies proved to be a decade of disillusionment. The seventies ushered in a mood of weary disenchantment. It was essentially a decade of disillusionment.
A Conservative government, under Edward Heath, was elected in 1970. He introduced further changes in politics and technology that were characteristic of the over- optimistic thinking of the sixties. For a while the economy seemed unreal. There was a sharp increase in real estate prices, leading to a great concentration of city development. Inflation rate became alarming. The trade unions were becoming very aggressive and were at odds with the Conservative government over its Industrial Relations Act. Heath tried his best to meet the crisis, but his government collapsed in 1974. When Harold Wilson returned as the next Prime Minister, it was a chaotic period of industrial unrest, power cuts and food shortages. Shipbuilding a s the aircraft industries were nationalised.
In 1975, when the country was on the very brink of a financial crisis, Wilson resigned. Over the next couple of years, the conservatives, under Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, won a long series of by-elections, toppling the huge Labour majorities. With the increasing power of the conservatives, there was a steady swing back to the right. Between1975 and 1976, both of Britain’s major political parties had chosen new leaders. James Callaghan replaced Harold Wilson as the leader of the Labour party . In 1979, the Conservative Party Won, and Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister of England. By the end of the seventies, the British people began to feel that a revival of conservative attitudes was essential. Various writers and politicians, who were earlier leftist, now warned the people that the power of the unions, if unchecked, would eventually change the country into a Marxist totalitarian state. Another Aspect of the seventies was the increasing interest in the religions of the East.
IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY (IRA):
In England, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) intensified its nationalistic campaign through a series of terrorist activities. Several people were wounded when two car bombs exploded in central London. The IRA was responsible for the disaster. Another explosion caused by the IRA backed terrorist activities in the seventies. In fact, Earl Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin was killed by an IRA bomb.
Giant strides are being taken in the world of science. For example, computers and cheap calculators were flooding the market. History was created in the world of medical science when the world’s first test tube baby was born in England in 1978. During the seventies, people began to take another look at the negative effects of science and technology. It was the seventies which, for the first time in history, received the earliest warnings that the earth’s supplies of energy and natural resources were getting depleted. And Mankind began to depend so much on oil, that oil consumption far outbalanced oil production. By the end of the decade , the global energy crisis was a harsh reality. Metals were also slowly disappearing.
Ayisha Shabana. M