“Mountbatten had a map on the wall of his office showing how it [a military coup] could be done. Harold [Wilson] and I used to stand in the State
Room at No 10 and work out where they would put the guns. We reckoned they would site them in the Horse Guards…”
Baroness Falkender - (Sunday Times, 31 March 1981)
If you are less than half a century old and you watch some modern documentaries on Britain of the 1960s and 70s then you’d be forgiven for thinking
that the United Kingdom led the world in music, style and attitude in the Swinging Sixties and this then led into a silly and fun era called the
1970s. A decade when all sense of style was lost until Margaret Thatcher came along at the very end to wake us all up and declare the party was over.
These documentaries come from children of the 1970s. Obsessed by a time of flared jeans, brown corduroys, orange tank tops , space hoppers, Raleigh
chopper bicycles and Slade records. But blissfully unaware of the serious political and social problems in those days of innocence.
In March 1976 the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson ,an old bloke with a pipe, who reminded us of someone’s grandfather, announced his resignation
due to exhaustion.
A long hot summer followed with his replacement James Callaghan as leader of Britain.
But recent history could well have been very, very different.
Because at any time in the eight years preceding that glorious summer of 1976 we could well have seen British troops patrolling the streets of London
with Lord Louis Mountbatten sat in Downing Street as the leader of a nation under military rule.
During 1974 rumours spread amongst certain ranks of the British Army of a clandestine plan to take military action against the government. The troops
would be ordered to occupy the streets of mainland Britain whilst a military “junta” restored control in a nation descending into chaos. The
whispers originated from some senior officers but it appeared that the backing came from a higher authority, a much higher authority. Even the Royal
Family were entwined in the plot.
The protagonists believed Britain was slowly becoming a communist nation and the inherited rights of an establishment dating back to the Magna Carta
were in grave danger. Severe economic problems, ever increasing industrial disputes and trade-unions controlled by the far left were the motivating
reasons in the minds of those wanting military intervention. Various hard right-wing figures including James Goldmith, Ross McWhirter, Airey Neave,
Lord Lucan, SAS founder David Stirling, John Aspinall
and senior MI5 figures were
alleged to have been behind the scheme.
The conspiracy was focused on Harold Wilson who served as Prime Minister from 1964 to 1970 and again from 1974 to 1976, winning four general
elections. But then 5 weeks after his resignation in 1976, Wilson told two BBC journalists, Roger Courtiour and Barrie Penrose, of his fears. that he
had been unaware of what was going on in his intelligence services and that the pair should investigate the forces threatening democratic countries
He warned them
Business groups and other antidemocratic agencies…. these people are putting our whole idea of democracy at risk.”
Wilson was in effect their “Deep Throat” giving them valuable leads to uncover the underlying anti-democratic agenda against his government. They
failed because they were distracted by another political scandal involving Jeremy Thorpe.
So for decades after Wilson’s resignation the facts remained obscured and buried amongst half truths and rumour. An official investigation in 1987 ,
carried out under Margaret Thatcher, unsurprisingly concluded the allegations were false, implying that Harold Wilson was delusional or paranoid.
But was he?
How Did Moves for a Military Takeover of Britain begin?
The reasons for the upper class distrust in socialism went right back to the end of the British Empire but fears were accelerated by the events of the
Soviet defector Anatoliy Golitsyn is thought to have labelled Harold Wilson as a KGB spy. He speculated that the previous Labour Party Leader , Hugh
Gaitskell, was poisoned by the KGB so that he could be replaced by a more left wing Harold Wilson. In his book “Spycatcher”, former MI5 officer
Peter Wright confirmed, Wilson was the victim of a protracted, illegal campaign of destabilisation by a rogue element in the security services and
they were prompted by fears that Wilson was a Soviet agent.
MI5 repeatedly investigated Wilson over the course of several years looking for his “links to the KGB”. Wilson had made frequent visits to the
Soviet Union as President of the Board of Trade in the late 1940s and early 1950s and this had more than aroused suspicion. However nothing concrete
America was also casting a suspicious, eagle eye across the pond. During the 1960s
the CIA’s head of counter-intelligence, James Angleton (pictured), also believed Britain was reaching a point where it would become ungovernable. He
saw unions and workers organisations full of Trotskyists , and believed the Labour Party had been penetrated at the highest levels by communists.
Angleton let it be known that Wilson had been “got at “ by the Soviets to his counterparts in Britain. His source - Anatoliy Golitsyn.
In 1968 Daily Mirror owner Cecil King was another who believed that Britain was sliding into anarchy. On May 8th 1968 he met with Lord Mountbatten,
retired Chief of Defence Staff, along with Solly Zuckerman, the government's scientific adviser. In Cecil King's memoirs, ‘Without Fear or
Favour’, he says he told Mountbatten of his plans. Mountbatten is alleged to have confirmed anxiety about the government in Buckingham Palace,
and that the Queen had received unprecedented numbers of letters protesting about Wilson.
King then outlined his vision of an approaching economic collapse and a Prime Minister and government no longer able to control Britain. Public order
would break down leading to bloodshed in the streets. He wanted Mountbatten as the head of a new administration to restore public confidence.
Zuckerman left the room refusing to have anything to do with King. He told Mountbatten that this was treachery and they should have nothing to do with
any conspiracy to overthrow Wilson.
Two days later, King published a self credited article in the Daily Mirror "Enough is enough".
"Mr Wilson and his government have lost all credit and we are now threatened with the greatest financial crisis in history. It is not to be resolved
by lies about our reserves but only by a fresh start under a fresh leader."
King was demanding Wilson's dismissal and his removal from Downing Street. It spectacularly backfired. Three weeks later on 30th May 1968 King was
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edit on 6/26/2013 by tothetenthpower because: --Mod Edit--Proper tag placement.