Dan Snow's History Hit

9/27/2022

What Could Labour Learn From Harold Wilson?

In the week of the Labour Party when polls indicate that the party is likely to form the next government, it seems an opportune moment to examine what lessons they might be able to draw from their own history. But why Harold Wilson?Harold Wilson won four general elections. More than Clement Atlee or Tony Blair. Wilson was a wily, strategic political operator who made some radical changes to the UK including the decriminalisation of homosexuality, legalising abortion, abolishment of the death penalty and confirming the UK's membership of the European Economic Community. He led the country through a number of crises that would be very familiar to us today including industrial action an energy crisis and the pound sterling being under threat. He was also, allegedly, the Queen's favourite Prime Minister.To discuss Wilson's life and leadership Dan is joined by Nick Thomas-Symonds. Nick is a Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade. He is also a writer, barrister and politician and has recently published a biography of Harold Wilson.This episode was produced by Mariana Des Forges, the audio editor was Dougal Patmore.If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe to History Hit today!To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.Complete the survey and you'll be entered into a prize draw to win 5 Historical Non-Fiction Books- including a signed copy of Dan Snow's 'On This Day in History'.
9/20/2022

The Man Wrongfully Hanged at Cardiff Prison

In September 1952 Mahmood Hussein Mattan became the last to be executed at Cardiff Prison, but Mahmood had in fact been framed by the police and 70 years later South Wales Police formally apologised to his family for his wrongful conviction.Mahmood originally hailed from Somalia and had been a merchant seaman who had ended up settling in Cardiff and marrying a Welsh woman called Laura Williams. They lived in the Tiger Bay district of Cardiff and had three children before their separation in 1950. Mahmood faced racism and discrimination and had several encounters with the police. His vocal distrust of the police had made him unpopular with the local force though and when Lily Volpert, a Cardiff shopkeeper, was found murdered and her shop robbed they quickly turned to Mahmood. Despite a lack of any firm evidence linking him to the crime, he became the prime suspect. He was poorly represented in court and facing a hostile jury he was convicted in July 1952 and sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out three months late. The case never went away though and his family kept the fight alive for 45 years until 1998 when his case was the first to be reviewed by the newly created Criminal Cases Review Commission. His conviction was quickly quashed but it was another 25 years before they received the apology they and Mahmood deserved.To discuss Mahmood's case author Nadifa Mohamed joins Dan for this episode of the podcast. Her novel The Fortune Men, which has been longlisted for the Booker Prize, is based on the case and she immersed herself in Mahmoud's life and the history of Cardiff's multicultural Tiger Bay area to bring this story of injustice to life.Please note that this episode contains mentions of racial trauma, slavery and violence.The audio editor was Dougal Patmore.If you'd like to learn more, we have hundreds of history documentaries, ad-free podcasts and audiobooks at History Hit - subscribe to History Hit today!To download the History Hit app please go to the Android or Apple store.