Having first been summoned by Winston Churchill for polling advice when he was only twenty-five, David Butler got to know most of Britain’s senior post-war politicians and has acted as a highly influential voice behind the scenes. In 1945 he was the first to turn British constituency results into percentages, and thereby founded the science of psephology. Later he invented the BBC’s popular Swingometer, which is still used today. Since then, Butler, now aged 94, has shown everyone not just how to analyse elections, but how to make sense of our democracy. It is a great honour for Chalke Valley History Festival that Sir David Butler will discuss remarkable life as the greatest analyst of British elections with award-winning TV correspondent Michael Crick. This promises to be both fascinating and timely.
MONDAY 22nd - SUNDAY 28th JUNE 2020
SEE HISTORY. HEAR HISTORY. FEEL HISTORY. #AMAZINGHISTORY
Sir David Butler was educated at St Paul’s School and New College, Oxford, and was then a Jane Eliza Procter Visiting Fellow from 1947 to 1948 at Princeton University from 1947 to 1948. He returned to Oxford as a researcher and academic at Nuffield College, where he taught throughout the remainder of his academic career. Butler is the author of many publications, but perhaps his most important work is the Nuffield Election Studies of each United Kingdom General Election since 1945. He was a prominent on-screen expert on the BBC’s election night coverage from the 1950 election to the 1979 election, and was a co-inventor of the swingometer. He has since appeared as an electoral analyst on various television and radio programmes, including for ITV on the night of the 1997 general election, and Sky News election night coverage in 2001.