What was happening 50 years ago today….
In politics in 1967, large demonstrations were held against the Vietnam War in New York City and San Francisco. The march, organized by the National Mobilisation Committee to End the War in Vietnam, from Central Park to the United Nations drew hundreds of thousands of people, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harry Belafonte, James Bevel, and Dr. Benjamin Spock, who marched and spoke at the event. In April, the world’s most famous boxer Muhammad Ali refused military service. He was stripped of his boxing title and barred from professional boxing for the next three years. In June, the six day war between Israel and Egypt began and ended.
Back home, we had a Labour Government which was struggling with the economy. In response, it nationalised the steel industry and was eventually forced to devalue the pound by 14%. In 1967 British politicians saw the longer-term solution to our economic problems as membership of what was then called the Common Market. In 1967, we made the second application to the Market which was vetoed by Frances President, Monsieur Charles de Gaulle. It took us three attempts to get into what we now call the European Union and, after four and a half decades of membership, we are now negotiating our exit strategy.
Still in Britain, 1967 was a time of progressive change with the enactment of the Sexual Offences Act, decriminalising most homosexual activity, and the Abortion Act, making it much easier for a pregnant woman to obtain a termination. Both pieces of legislation were promoted as a Private Members Bill – by Labour MP Leo Abse and Liberal MP David Steel respectively – but the then Labour Home Secretary Roy Jenkins provide the government time that enabled the Bills to reach the statute book.
Locally, In 1967 Southport celebrated the centenary of its becoming a borough and Britain’s second Polaris nuclear submarine, HMS Renown, was launched at Birkenhead.
In popular culture, the first ever series of the Forsythe Saga was shown on BBC2 and went on to become a smash hit world-wide. In July, the first scheduled colour television broadcasts in England began on BBC2. The first being live coverage from the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. A full colour service (other than news programmes) began on BBC2 on 2 December. In music, Pink Floyd played at the Southport Floral Hall and Puppet on a String performed by Sandie Shaw won the Eurovision Song Contest, becoming the first English language song to win the contest. The Beatles also released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, one of rock music’s most acclaimed and influential albums.
In sport, the Grand National was won by 100-1 outsider Foinavon. Manchester United won Division 1 and Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup beating beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon and Southport FC finished mid-table (14th) in the 3rd division and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Everton (who later made the final), losing to a late goal from Joe Royle.