Reprinted from the Daily Mirror, Jul 20 2004
YESTERDAY, Tony Blair declared the end of "the 60s liberal consensus on law and order", blaming the swinging decade for today's epidemic of crime and anti-social behaviour.
"People have had enough of this part of the 60s consensus," he told MPs. "They want a society of responsibility."
But were the 60s really so bad? Here, we give 60 reasons why the era of flower power, moon landings and World Cup victory was a truly great decade...
1. MAN lands on the Moon. Neil Armstrong takes a giant leap for mankind as Apollo 10 completes its mission on July 21, 1969.
2. HOUSE of Commons abolishes the death penalty on December 21, 1964. By 1969, James Callaghan, the Home Secretary, has made the abolition of hanging permanent.
3. MARTIN Luther King makes his I Have A Dream speech in 1963. In December 1964, he is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the US civil rights movement blossoms.
4. 1966 and all that. England beat West Germany 4-2 at Wembley to win the World Cup.
5. Enter the Beatles. From the Quarrymen to The Beatals, then The Silver Beats then The Silver Beatles. On June 25, 1967, their recording of All You Need is Love is broadcast live on TV and relayed worldwide to an estimated 150 million viewers.
6. NO-FAULT divorce passes through Parliament in the 1969 Divorce Bill. The "fault" of the partners no longer has to be proven as "irretrievable breakdown" is now sufficient.
7. CORONATION Street, the most successful soap opera in the history of TV, starts in 1960 as a 13-episode series by Tony Warren called Florizel Street. Episode one is transmitted live at 7pm on Friday, December 9.
8. THE Race Relations Bill passes into UK Law.
9. THE Abortion Act 1967 states that abortions may be obtained legally if deemed necessary by two doctors on medical or psychological grounds. The first abortion clinic opens in London.
10. BOB Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' is released on February 10, 1964.
11. FIRST heart transplant is performed by Christian Barnard in South Africa, 1967.
12. OPEN University founded in 1969.
13. ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury and a Pope meet for the first time in 400 years on March 23, 1966.
14. TOP Of The Pops is born, 1964.
15.GOOD news for men. The miniskirt makes its first appearance in 1966.
16. THAT Was The Week That Was (TW3). Satire makes its debut on British television.
17. EASY Rider. Other classic 60s movies include Sound Of Music, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, Midnight Cowboy and Lawrence Of Arabia.
18. CIGARETTE advertising is banned on TV in the UK, on February 5, 1965.
19. ENGLAND swings and King's Road and Carnaby Street become the epicentre of the decade.
20. SOVIET cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin is the first man to travel into space, 187 miles above the Earth. On April 12, 1961, he orbits for 90 minutes.
22. INVENTED in 1960, the contraceptive pill is available on the NHS from December 4, 1961.
23. ON October 12, 1961 the first Morecambe & Wise Show is aired.
24. MUHAMMAD Ali floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. He later has his world title taken away for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War because, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Congs."
25. JIMI Hendrix.
26.THE 50 pence piece is born on October 14 1969, when the seven-sided coin comes into circulation.
27. MODS & Rockers
28. FIRST vasectomy clinic opens in Birmingham on December 19, 1969
29. GAY Rights movement is born on June 27, 1969, in Greenwich Village, New York, when police move in to raid a gay bar and the customers fight back. In the UK, homosexual acts between consenting adults become legal.
30. ON July 5, 1969, the Rolling Stones give a free concert to 250,000 in London's Hyde Park where they pay tribute to dead bandmate Brian Jones.
31. HUMAN eggs are made fertile in a test-tube for the first time on February 13, 1969.
32. A music festival held between August 15 and 17, 1969, on a farm at Woodstock near New York becomes the original hippie mud bath. Nearly 450,000 gather to hear the music and become the unpaid extras in one of the most successful rock films ever.
33. BRITAIN appoints first woman judge on August 12, 1965.
34. PRIVATE Eye magazine is founded in 1962 by Peter Cook.
35. JANIS Joplin, The Doors, Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Rod Stewart (no, really - he was good then...), Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, The Kinks, The Monkees, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, The Sup-remes, Led Zeppelin.
36. SIMONE de Beauvoir's The Second Sex isn't exactly a bestseller, but it revolutionises the fledgling feminist movement. Sylvia Plath publishes The Bell Jar.
37. THE first episode of Dr Who is broadcast in 1963.
38. BIRTH of anti-apartheid movement in the UK. In August 1964, South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games.
39. ELVIS 1968 Comeback Special.
40. WORLD Wildlife Fund launches in a shock issue of the Daily Mirror in October 1961. Amnesty International is founded in the same year.
41. THE Twist dance hits the UK in 1962.
42. THE first colour ITV transmissions happen on September 5, 1969.
43. MARY Quant and Twiggy revolutionise women's fashion.
44. THUNDERBIRDS are go!
45. PETER PARKER is bitten by a radioactive spider and the comic strip Spider-Man is born.
46. Pirate Radio Caroline begins transmissions on March 28, 1964.
47. NATIONAL service ends in the UK, December 1960.
48. IN 1967, Amana introduces the first countertop microwave oven for home use for £275.
49. IN 1962, 007 pursues the villainous Dr. No - and the Bond franchise begins.
50. THE first episode of Star Trek appears on screen in 1969.
51. BIRTH of Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961, in Norfolk.
52. BREATH testing begins on January 29, 1966.
53. AND now for something completely different. On October 5, 1969, the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus is aired.
54. D H Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover goes on trial for obscenity and the prosecution asks the jury if the book is one they would wish their wife or servants to read. On November 10, 1960, it is cleared of obscenity - and 200,000 copies are sold in one day.
55. SUICIDE decriminalised in 1960.
56. VIETNAM War protest movement mobilises in the US and the UK.
57. ON December 13, 1969, the US Supreme Court orders the end of segregation in the South.
58. Time magazine declares Swinging London the city of the decade on April 15, 1966.
59. FLOWER Power.
60. FIRST Mothercare and B&Q shops open in 1961.
Papers leap to defence of the 60s
Tony Blair's criticism of the legacy of the swinging sixties has the commentators either scratching their heads or reaching for their lovebeads.
The Daily Mirror prints 60 reasons the decade was great, including Motown, miniskirts and Woodstock.
In the Guardian, David Aaronovitch refuses to throw away his kaftan.
The sixties generation now supports tougher law and order measures, he says; they never wanted to get beaten up on the way home from yoga by louts.
The Independent says the Blair thesis on the 60s is "confused", lambasting him for pandering to the half-baked theories of the illiberal right.
The Daily Mail interprets Mr Blair's words as a concession that he's been on the wrong track for the past seven years.
It sees much to welcome but finds it impossible not to feel cynical.
The Telegraph agrees the speech is an admission of failure, and is left wondering what the PM now stands for.
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