I have been asked by Ordovicius to join in one of those blogging chain letter things, this time on earliest political memories.
In my case it is the 1859 eviction, when the vicious Tory landlords evicted Liberal voters from their farms and houses leaving large families starving and without a roof over their heads, because they had exercised their freedom to vote for an MP who would represent their interests rather than that of the landlords.
I'm not quite as old as Sanddef and others think I am. I will be 48 on Monday so I was born 100 years after the evictions of 1859, but noting the evictions as an early political memory is not being facetious.
In the 60's and 70's part of all political campaigns was the sticky badge. Kids loved them and went from party office to party office to collect as many as they could. I can remember being told in pre-school years (the 1964 election, probably) that wearing the Tory sticky badge was an act of betrayal and shame because of the turning out. It happened again in 1966 and 1970. Even when, as a 15 year old and secretary of the Merionethshire young Liberals, when I went canvassing I heard supporters saying that of course they would vote Liberal because of the turning out. The turning out was such a big political memory in Merionethshire that I thought, as a child, that it happened yesterday.
Thatcher's legacy in rural parts of Wales is that she created an even bigger myth of the Tory monster than that which was created in 1859.
When I was a kid, that period up to 10 where you remember things but not properly and not in any chronological order politics was all around me. Tryweryn and Cymdeithas yr Iaith (I was once paid 6d by an avid anti nationalist to sing God save the Queen when Dafydd Iwan was speaking in a rally in Dolgellau), the FWA, the preparations for the Investiture (I threw my Investiture mug in the river to please an anti friend and then beat up a younger kid in order to pinch his mug so I didn't get a row when I got home without a mug) and, of course Gwynfor's election. But these are all a mish-mash of half remembered events, things that I knew were important but weren’t really interesting to me.
On the world stage the two events that stick out are Kennedy's Assassination (I don't remember where I was, but I do remember being confused by the fact that a dead man was talking on the wireless) and Churchill's funeral. Churchill's funeral was particularly memorable. The lower middle classes and upper working class had bought their first TVs to watch the coronation, the lower working class (like my lot) bought their first TV to watch Churchill's funeral. We were amongst the last to have a telly in the house but some neighbours who were unemployed or pensioners came to the house to join us for the event. All in suits, white shirts and black ties, like a proper funeral.
My first real political memory is of the 1970 election, and has to do with sticky badges again. I went into the Plaid office with some friends who were much more supportive of the nationalist cause than I was and asked for a single badge in order to show genuine support. The candidate, Dafydd Wigley, told the office worker off for wasting resources on silly children, and he sent us away with a flea in our ears. Never liked the man ever since that occasion. I went straight to the Liberal Party Office and paid a shilling or 2/6 (can't remember but a LOT of pocket money) to join the Liberal Party, despite the fact that they would have given me a sticky badge for free!
To whom do I pass the buck? Glyn Davies, Alan in Dyfed and Vaughan Roderick are all slightly older than I am, it will be interesting to see if they have clearer memories of my hazy ones.