Jim Callaghan heckled during his 1979 election speech


A rather forgotten incident here when Pat Arrowsmith – veteran CND campaigner – heckled a beleaguered Jim Callaghan who had held on to his Cardiff seat in the 1979 general election but just lost the country to Thatcher and the Tories.

She was shouting at him about Ireland and British intervention in the province. For those of you fascinated by the ins and outs of ultra-left politics, Arrowsmith was running against Callaghan as a candidate for the Socialist Unity party. This was a front for the International Marxist Group (IMG), which felt it had to put up candidates because a rival sect – the Socialist Workers Party – had been running in elections.

Callaghan probably had other things on his mind – like getting back to Downing Street, packing his belongings and going into opposition. But he invited Arrowsmith to speak on the platform after he had finished. Though when she appeared at the microphone to make a speech about removing British troops from Northern Ireland, Callaghan had already left the stage.