Interview with T Dan Smith at Amber’s Office

Project: ‘T Dan Smith: A funny thing happened on the way to Utopia’

Brief Description: Further uncut interview with T Dan Smith

Notes: Interviewer is mainly Murray Martin




0 Gives account of his trials -was not tried with Poulson, was not tried in North East. First tried in Feb 1971, Law Courts in Strand, dismissed after 4 days. Retried Old Bailey July 1971. Then tried in Leeds (third trial), then charged with fraudulent trading in Northampton (fourth trial). They couldn’t pin any North East charges on him, except for Peterlee. Admitted to offence committed May 1970 having resigned Jan 1970; evidence against him laughable


4.40 Leeds trial for corruption relating to getting Poulson a job on science park when he’d already resigned from his post and ended association with Poulson. Pleaded guilty because he could prove charges untrue. Fourth trial when he was already serving four years, charges dismissed for lack of evidence


9 Regrets lacking strength to fight third trial, but at least regained his health in three years in prison


10 Gives more detain on trials. First and second 0 for corrupting Sidney Small, not guilty, got costs. Third, the ‘Poulson trial’ accused of seeking to corrupt Andy Cunningham. Broken man by then after 5 years of fighting charges. Got six years which made him category A prisoner.


13.20 Asked about destruction of the cities in 1960s. Describes conditions in slum-cleared areas – overcrowding, broken sewers and rats, high crime and illness rates, no kids passed 11+. Nostalgia now but then people wanted out.


17 He had envisaged a scheme to revitalise house rather than demolish, blocked by Keith Joseph [Tory housing minister]. Lack of available land in Newcastle meant had to move 100000 to Benton, Killingworth – areas outside his control so couldn’t create community, provide services


20 Asked to explain his provincial vision. Believed democracy could only work at more local level. Housing, health, schools, arts, recreation etc to be controlled locally, provincial assembly next level, would control hospitals, telecoms etc. House of Lords would be replaced by assembly of provincial reps, these would also become reps going to European parliament


23 Is asked to restate the above vision more clearly, and again at 26


27.40 Is asked about existing non-elected power structures, and again at 32.30. Contrasts the unelected power structure with trade unions – latter accused of being overpowerful and undemocratic while the former really is


37 Asked again about this, the all powerful group who permanently run Britain. Royal family at core, surrounded by appointed positions – generals, governor of Bank of England etc (later adds Bishops, Judiciary, senior civil servants, heads of professional bodies etc to this list). Have all come through public schools and Oxbridge, control medicine, law etc


41 asked to repeat this again…


46 And again. Privy Council is where the faceless establishment meets elected reps. They control the way democratic institutions work. They hang on to their past traditions despite telling the working class they must move with the times.


Ends at 51.34

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