The Duel, Heath vs Wilson

Harold Wilson and Edward Heath are two very different men equally overlooked by history, but they were the political titans of the era in which Britain changed forever. For ten years they faced each other in the House of Commons, and swapped in and out of Number Ten. They fought four general elections, three of which were amongst the most exciting of the century. They were deliciously different and scorned one another, yet they were cast from the same mould.

Both promised a revolution of meritocracy and dynamism in the British economy and society. Both utterly failed, but together they presided over a decade that redefined the nation: Britain ceased to be a world power and entered Europe; the post war consensus in which they both believed was destroyed; Thatcherism and New Labour were born. The country they left behind was unrecognisable from the one they had inherited – and the one they had promised.

  • Year: 2011