Harold Wilson Pleads For UK Computer Industry.


‘For lack of funds and for lack of the necessary statutory power, vital work was in danger of coming to an end , including a major breakthrough with what might be the world’s finest fast computer,” said Mr Harold Wilson, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor.

So, over 50 years ago, starts a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of April 26th 1961.


He was referring to the activities of the National Research Development |Corporation which, he claimed, had been more than anything else responsible for the development of Britain’s computer industry and the Hovercraft.


These developments, starved through lack of funds, and even more through lack of drive and concern, had vastly more bearing on our national survival than many of the pet projects wastefully financed by successive Defence Ministers, asserted Mr Wilson.


He urged the government to extend the NRDC’s powers so that in the case of important projects it could come along with firm orders – beginning with the computer – to maintain continuity of production and development.



  1. Ah.
    The White Heat of the Technological Revolution.
    Whatever happened to that?

  2. Its easy to forget something very important he didn’t do, which was getting involved in the Vietnam war.
    As much a rogue as any politician, he did at least have the guts to say no and be prepared to take the consequences.

  3. @cynical- We did get Concorde instead, which probably created more jobs and more engine development. Ok it wasn’t a great money spinner but neither would TSR2 have been .

  4. As I recall – the only thing of note that Harrold Wilson ever did was to devalue the UK curency. I remember him saying “Devaluation won’t affect the Pound in your pocket”. Quite right, it was only affected when you took the pound out of your pocket and tried to spend it!
    It was worth less, (or should that be worthless)

  5. He was in opposition at the time so talk comes cheap. Did he do anything about it once he was in power, and if so what was the result ?

  6. It’s a pity that he did not plead for the TSR2
    Oh I do love Government interference they really know what they are doing?

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