1970s >> 1976 >> no-867-november-1976

Party News: Socialist Party On The Air

London Broadcasting gave the Socialist Party of Great Britain the opportunity to state its case on radio on Tuesday 28th September. We were invited to send two speakers with a view to telling the listeners, in the week of the Labour Party Conference, what Socialism really is.

In an unscripted, unrehearsed interview Comrades May and Barltrop were asked by Brian Hayes of LBC to expound Socialism and our argument against nationalization and the rest of the Labour programme. Further questions brought out our attitude to the Communist countries, our view of inflation and other problems, the fact that Socialism will be world-wide, how a moneyless society will work, and a good deal of information about the Party.

Following this groundwork the speakers answered questions asked by listeners on the ’phone. They asked about Marx, leadership, choice, free access and several other things before time ran out. With short breaks for news headlines and commercials the programmnte ran for an hour, from 11 to 12 in the morning. The producer told our speakers that the interest roused was tremendous. After 12 o’clock listeners continued to ’phone in to raise points with Brian Hayes; clearly he had learned something because he put callers right on various aspects of the Socialist case.

This was the first time we have been able to address a radio audience at length, and it was highly successful. A tape recording was made, and cassettes of it are available on hire for 50p. or can be bought for £1.60: write to the Tapes Committee at Head Office.

Possibly provoked by LBC’s having had us, a week later the BBC invited the party to send some “young Socialists’’ to ask questions of Sir Harold Wilson in a programme presented by the disc-jockey Jimmy Savile on Sunday 10th October. This was a very lightweight affair aimed at entertaining rather than enlightening, and a roving microphone in a large audience gave our members only one opportunity for a question. The member putting it dismayed Savile by failing to call Wilson “Sir”. The question was about Socialism; and it was plain from his reply that Wilson had never heard of such a thing.