Unsung heroes? How 'passive resistance' changed the colour on the buses in Bristol

Here is a long article from the BBC about how a colour ban for people working on the buses was overturned in the early 1960s. Extraordinary.

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Interesting piece. I was especially interested to read that people of colour did not suffer the same numb-skulled discrimination from the bus company in nearby Bath.

Of course Bath was (in the 1960s at least) a staunchly conservative city. But I do believe that the extreme leftwing fruit-and-nut-job, Tony Benn, was a Bristol MP in the 1960s, wasn’t he?

It just goes to show that labour voters in the 1960s may well have been, in general, far more racist than conservative ones!

I don’t think it shows anything about the distribution of racists between Labour and Conservative voters in the 1960s.

I do.

But then, I seriously don’t like the British Labour Party and don’t miss even the remotest chance to get in a sly dig! :slight_smile:

If you look at the areas where the BNP has made gains in recent years, I think you’ll find they are all areas which have hitherto supported Labour. (That’s not something which you’ll be likely to hear about from the Guardian or the BBC, of course…)

At the last election we had a black guy actually standing for the Conservatives in our constituency. He was an excellent person too - a highly successful businessman with huge real-world experience. Unfortunately he was very narrowly defeated by some teenage-looking plastic career politician from the Lib-Dems. But there was certainly no collapse in the conservative vote here. And the BNP nutter standing here got only a few 100 votes and lost his deposit…


Interesting point about left-right attitudes to race and immigrant workers in the 1950s and 60s. I partly agree that the core Labour vote of working class people may have felt ( and currently still feel ) more threatened by an influx of foreign workers. And that the middle/professional class (more likely to vote conservative ) were not really under the threat of immigrant workers taking their jobs, and so had less inclination to be racist/discriminatory.

But Bristol doesn’t strike me as being a traditional or typically working class industrial labour city; being as it wasn’t built on industry in the same way as typically Labour cities of the midlands and the north. The left-ism there seems more liberal-progressive than core “workers rights”. Of course I don’t know what the situation was in the 60s.

Do you think a fairly typical conservative voter of the 60s was any less racist than the rest of the voting population at that time? Honestly not a barbed question, I’m interested to know your thoughts.


Extraordinary isn’t the word. I live in Bristol, and so know the story but still find it hard to understand how people were treated so badly in comparatively recent times.


My original point was, of course, slightly tongue-in-cheek. :wink:

Nevertheless I think it’s actually an open question. There is a kind of mantra from the leftist media that being Conservative = being racist. Yet the facts ( especially in recent years) don’t by any means bear this out.

Were Conservative voters of the 1960s less racist than voters generally? I don’t know. But it’s possible that they were generally more decent towards black immigrants than many working class people were at that time? And this may, indeed, have been tied up with education and class to some extent.