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Clement Attlee

Labour's Bad Memory

But this is terrible. They have elected a Labour government and the country will never stand for that. (Woman dining at Claridge's, 26 July 1945.)

Thirty years ago—on October 5 1951 to be exact—the British people voted to set themselves free, to expunge austerity from their lives, to replace snoek and dried eggs with good red meat. At least that was what Tory politicians (like Churchill, Eden, Butler, Woolton—how evocative the very names are now) had told them would happen if they got rid of the Labour government.

The government—Labour's first ever with its own majority—was elected, in the final stages of the 1939/45 war, on the promise to build a fair, abundant, secure Britain. What happened, between 1945 and 1951. to swing the voters the other way?

Book Review: 'The Worst Accident in the World'

An Inevitable Accident

'The Worst Accident in the World', by The Observer staff (Pan Books. £2.95)

A Question for Members of the Labour Party

The modern propertied class, like their slave-owning predecessors, get something for nothing. They can live without working. They live on the surplus products of the wealth-producers, while the latter obtain only a subsistence wage, more or less. The propertied class live on the backs of the working class, but they do not put it as crudely as that. They call it rent, interest and profit, and hedge it about with legal safeguards and moral disguises. They are full of promises of better things for those whom they exploit. They will, as Tolstoy said, do everything for the workers except get off their backs. The workers, therefore, must perform this parasite-shedding operation for themselves. They do not lack counsellors, prominent among them being the Labour Party. In endless pamphlets and speeches the Labour Party promises to put things right. It will do so, it says, by nationalisation, public control, State regulation, investment boards and so on.

Labour and the Atom Bomb

It is sometimes forgotten that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki took place under a Labour government. Attlee was British Prime Minister at the time and was a member of the war cabinet involved with the American government in organising the development and production of the atomic weapon. As Prime Minister he had a representative at the bombing of Nagasaki.

In a speech at a Pilgrim's Dinner in London on 21 June 1956, referring to the action of President Truman, Attlee declared:

    "He had to take the decision about the atomic bomb. It is questioned sometimes. In my view in the light of the knowledge we had at that time, he was absolutely right." (Daily Telegraph, 22 June 1956.)

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