Retreat and Decline, 1978–79
The extent to which people are open to change in their attitudes and preferences tends to decline with increasing age.1 While young, they are in the process of forming their opinions; once they have acquired a set of attitudes, their resistance to new influences increases as they age, and older generations are characterized by considerable inflexibility in their political attitudes and behaviour. Thus the young tend to be the ‘target’ population for ‘insurgent’ political movements seeking to establish support within political systems. The NF was no exception to this. In 1977, the party had established a youth movement, the YNF, as has been seen. On 20 January 1978 the YNF launched its campaign for the hearts and minds of English youth at a press conference, which received some television coverage. It was announced that one-quarter of a million copies of a leaflet, How to Spot a Red Teacher,2 and an unspecified number of copies of a pamphlet entitled How to Combat a Red Teacher3 were to be distributed to school children. The object of these was to win support and counter the influence of an apparently Marxist-dominated teaching profession. The leaflet started with the observation that ‘Commies (they call themselves “Marxists” or even “socialists”) have infiltrated our schools. They are trying to indoctrinate you with Commie ideas. They sneer at our British race and nation, and everything that made Britain great’,4 and then went on to allege that teaching which emphasized equality between races, called into question nationalism, or denigrated those who had built the Empire, was all part of a plot to weaken the British in the interests of ultimate Communist takeover.
KeywordsRace Relation Local Election Asian Community Labour Party Total Vote
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