Sorry

One of the joys of teaching ‘Britain since the 1930s’ is that it so neatly fits my personal experience. My Dad began quite close to the beginning of the topic (and my father-in-law even before that). I kicked in somewhere in the middle. And my daughter is following on behind, ushering the children in my class before her.

So when I get to watch the creaky BBC videos about the period, and they reach the 1970s, I think, “Yay, this is MY history! I can do this from memory!”

And one of the exciting aspects of the period, for me, was the promise offered by North Sea oil and gas at the end of the 1979s. We’d lived through a rubbishy decade in which we’d begun to realise that a) we didn’t have an Empire any more and b) we were nigh on broke. Then the big rigs started to go up and the flares appeared on our TV screens. Future generations were going to be OK!

This Guardian ‘Comment is Free’ article tells another story, comparing our country’s approach to that of Norway. Bias alert: it blames the Conservatives, but I think the black gold was still pouring out of the ground in 1997. In fact, the article and the comments thereupon, on reflection – offer a marvellous exercise in ‘spot the bias’.

But as I said to my class at the time, “Sorry, we used it all up while you weren’t there.”

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