October 11, 1974 – Older, Blacker And More Female Than Most – A Cliffhanger Election With An Eyelash Majority
October 11, 1974 – A political sort of day, throughout the world. In Washington, jury selection in the Watergate coverup trial was finally complete and ready for the show to begin after the weekend. The jury that would decide if President Nixon’s former aides conducted a criminal conspiracy to coverup Watergate was characterized as “older, Blacker and more Female than most”. The jury consisted of 9 women and 3 men; 8 Blacks and 4 Whites. Judge John Sirica told the jurors they would be locked up until their verdict, perhaps into 1975, and that until the testimony was over they could not so much as mention the case to anyone. In a document released later by Sirica, former President Nixon’s doctor said a trip could seriously threaten Mr. Nixon’s health and he probably couldn’t testify in Washington for 6 months or longer. Defendant John Erlichman insisted that Mr. Nixon’s testimony be taken in California and videotaped for the jury. He demanded a trial delay to do that, but Judge Sirica denied it. H.R. Haldeman said he also intended to subpoena Mr. Nixon and also demanded a trial delay. The jury was locked up together for the first of many weekends in a downtown motel, and the trial was expected to begin with the lawyers opening statements on Monday.
Meanwhile, in Britain – Prime Minister Harold Wilson said he could govern Britain with the slender majority the Labourites won in the election for the House of Commons the day before, but Wilson said it would be “a helluva job”. The election, described as a “Cliffhanger with an eyelash majority” was full on anomalies, not the least of which was that the majority Socialist Party had now come power with only 40% of the vote. The combined votes of the Conservative, Liberal and other parties represented an anti-Socialist majority. However, many Conservatives claimed it was the best possible outcome, short of a Conservative victory for which they had hoped. So slim was the majority that the Socialist Party would be curbed of their “adventurism”, which was officially committed to wide scale nationalization of industry and other extreme policies. Mr. Wilson was undaunted, saying his Labour team would find the right answers in time and continue on top.
And that’s a tiny slice of what happened, this October 11, 1974 from CBS Radio’s The World Tonight.