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The Labour Government (1945-51)

Film Review: Spirit of 45

Spirit of '45 directed by Ken Loach is an impressive but sentimental documentary about the Attlee Labour government of 1945-51 which is nostalgic for 'Old Labour' and the 'cradle to grave' welfare state. The use of Hubert Parry's choral music to Jerusalem is an added touch of emotionalism.

Workers on the Defensive

One of the shrewdest comments on this year's Trades Union Congress was made by the Manchester Guardian on September 5th. Reviewing the position of the trade unions since the Labour Government came into power four years ago the article pointed out in what a world of illusion trade union supporters of the Government have been living. Their feeling was that now at last they had the power and the opportunity to reach higher standards of living, but in fact "since the fuel crisis they have been for all their power and all the old illusions of what power would bring, on the defensive: the struggle has been to prevent real wages from falling."

Cripps on Crises

Business men and Labour politicians are worried. Exports fell heavily in April and the President of the Board of Trade, Mr. Harold Wilson, says that we are beginning to face "some of the difficulties which every exporter in this country knows we have got to face before long." Sir Frederick Bain, retiring President of the Federation of British Industries, says the time is near "when we must once again fight for our lives in a competitive world." (Daily Telegraph, 12/5/49). The Daily Express, backing it both ways, tells us that depression is now upon us, and it will creep over the world," but that "of course, the future does not hold any terrors. Wise counsels will prevail in many of the western countries and there will not be a serious dislocation of commerce and industry such as occurred in 1929." (Daily Express, 11/5/49)

The Taming of the T.U.C.

What has happened to the trade unions, to their national platform the T.U.C., and to their political shadow the Labour Party? Where now is the trade union army that fought the general strike in 1926? In what dump have they parked their rusty weapon, the strike? Where are the Reds of yesteryear, and who are these men and women with their generous sprinkling of O.B.E.s, Knighthoods and Peerages who at Margate earned from the discerning observer of the Manchester Guardian (10/9/48) the tribute that "once again the T.U.C. has shown the moderate good sense that often seems to surprise its own leaders as much as the critics"?

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