June 19. The reputation of opinion pollsters took a sharp
nosedive when Britain woke up to find itself once more under a
Conservative government. The
polls all suggested an easy victory for Labour under Prime Minister
Harold Wilson. And 1970 had opened with the voting age being lowered
from 21 to 18.
But on the day of the election too many Labour voters simply
stayed at home. The turnout was the lowest for years. The bookmakers
had showed Labour eight points ahead and were left with egg on
their faces when the Tories, under Edward Heath, secured a majority
"From the moment the first results began to flow in," observed
the Illustrated London News, "the soothsayers faced a disaster.
It will be years before the opinion polls fully regain their credibility
Among Heath's new Cabinet appointments was a woman. The unknown
Margaret Thatcher became Secretary of State for Education and
January 23. Heathrow had never seen anything like it.
The latest arrival from the United States weighed 350 tons and
carried 363 passengers. The Boeing 747 Jumbo jet arrived three
hours behind schedule and, with Britain and France already working
on the supersonic Concorde, may have seemed a little behind the
times. But events were to prove that Concorde's speed could never
compete with the Jumbo's massive capacity and cheap running costs.
The days of transatlantic travel for all had arrived.
May 4. In a defining moment of the Vietnam war, four
young American students were shot dead by the National Guard at
Kent State University, Ohio. The killings happened on the third
day of anti-war riots and polarised US society. President Richard
Nixon tried to bridge the gap by defending the right to demonstrate
peacefully. But he added: "When dissent turns to violence it invites
May 26. The England soccer captain, Bobby Moore was spectacularly
accused of shoplifting at the World Cup in Mexico. Moore always
maintained that the charge of stealing a gold bracelet was unfounded
and he was released without charge after two days. "I hope that
you score many goals," a judge told him. But a few days later,
on June 14, England's hopes were dashed when Germany beat them
September 12. At Dawson's Field in the Jordanian desert,
Palestinian guerillas blew up three hijacked jets. The vast fireballs
at the former RAF base signified that the terrorists meant business
in their demand for the release of one of their leaders, Leila
Khaled. By September 30, all 56 hostages held by the Palestinians
had been released and Khaled was put on a plane from London to
Beirut. En route, the aircraft picked up six more released terrorists
in Germany and Switzerland.