Changes of government fail to solve Britain's growing economic problems and the outbreak of sectarian 'troubles' in Northern Ireland add to the problems. However, Britain becomes the world centre of a 'youth culture' revolution and people approve the decision to join the European Economic Community (Common Market) in a referendum.
Labour was back in power, claiming in Harold Wilson’s words it would replace “13 wasted years" under the Tories with the "white heat of revolution" which would sweep away "restrictive practices ... on both sides of industry". However, it was clear Labour could not put its policies into effect with such a small majority. Two seats were lost in bi-elections and Wilson took a gamble when he went to the country again in March 1966. The gamble paid off and Labour was returned with an overall majority of 97 against a Conservative party now led by Edward Heath.
Wilson’s plans to reform the country with a National Plan drawn up by a new Department of Economic Affairs were thrown into disarray by a balance of payments crisis triggered by the Maudling boom. Deflationary measures and a 15% import surcharge were put in place. The economy continued to be a problem and market forces, described by Wilson as ‘the Gnomes of Zurich’, eventually forced another devaluation on a Labour government in November 1967.
1965 Incoming Labour chancellor James Callaghan (1912-2005) puts 15% surcharge on imports, introduces Capital Gains Tax and increases Bank Rate from 2% - 5%,
~ The State funeral of Sir Winston Churchill takes place at St Paul’s Cathedral.
~ The death penalty for murder is abolished.
~ The Race Relations Act forbids public racial discrimination.
~ The Rent Act ensures greater security for tenants.
~ The Prices and Incomes Board is set up.
~ Trades Disputes Act safeguards closed shop practices.
~ The Government publishes circular 10/65 which promotes comprehensive education.
~ Edward Heath (1916-2005) takes over from Sir Alec Douglas-Home as leader of the Conservative party.
~ Dame Elizabeth Lane (1905-88) becomes the first woman judge.
~ Ian Smith, prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, rejects London’s plan for black majority rule on the road to independence and declares unilateral independence. Economic sanctions are imposed.
~ Singapore is expelled from Malaysia.
~ The Gambia gains independence from British rule and becomes a member of the Commonwealth.
~ The British Indian Ocean Dependency is created from an archipelago of atolls and islands including Diego Garcia which is part-leased to the United States for a military base after the inhabitants are evacuated.
~ Sir Stanley Matthews (1915-2000) retires and is the first footballer to be knighted.
~ The death of Richard Dimbleby (born 1913), eminent radio/TV broadcaster.
~ BP discovers oil in the North Sea.
~ Mrs Mary Whitehouse (1910-2001) founds the National Viewers and Listeners Association to oppose the excessive use of bad language and portrayals of sex and violence in the broadcasting media.