July 13, 1981 – CBS Radio – The World Tonight – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
July 13, 1981 – On this side of the Atlantic it was the uproar over Mediterranean Fruit Flies – on that side of the Atlantic it was about Long, Hot summers and Britain under seige.
The Fruit Fly issue was a hot-button topic in California, not so much for the Mediterranean Fruit Fly itself, but the methods the state was undertaking to deal with it. Seems the problem was with the pesticide being used to kill the flies. Malathion was argued to be a dangerous chemical, deemed not safe by opponents. The battle went as far as the courts, and was poised to be argued before the State Supreme Court before arial spraying was scheduled to continue after midnight on this night. The spray was slated to take place over two neighborhoods where a Fruit Fly infestation was said to be severe. The residence in those neighborhood were in a quandary over what to do. Some weren’t concerned. One man said his biggest concern was over noise levels created by helicopters buzzing the neighborhood. Others were anxious to leave; fearful of the Malathion. Centers were being set up to accommodate residence who wanted to leave the area. State and local officials were pressing for a quick resolution, as their concern was the current infestation would grow and spread even further, unless it was stopped now.
Meanwhile, in London; New riots in Brixton are accompanied by a wave of disturbances in Britain: Southall, Battersea, Dalston, Streatham and Walthamstow in London, Handsworth in Birmingham, Chapeltown in Leeds, Highfields in Leicester, Ellesmere Port, Luton, Leicester, Sheffield, Portsmouth, Preston, Newcastle, Derby, Southampton, Nottingham, High Wycombe, Bedford, Edinburgh, Wolverhampton, Stockport, Blackburn, Huddersfield, Reading, Chester, and Aldershot.
Margaret Thatcher cancelled a planned visit to Toxteth district of Liverpool because her safety could not be guaranteed.
In London all demonstrations and marches were banned for a month.
A funeral procession for Mrs Parveen Khan and her three children, killed in an arson attack was called off due to fears of disorder.
But on this day, Prime Minister Thatcher visited Toxteth in Liverpool for the first time since the rioting began. It was a discreet visit, with heavy security as Thatcher was the object of heavy resentment. At a news conference, she pledged a speedy process of trial and sentencing for the some 2500 rioters arrested over the previous ten days.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on, this July 13, 1981 as reported by CBS Radio’s The World Tonight.