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Post-War Britain

A Duke on Hard Work

The “Daily Chronicle” of December 11th ult. gave us the following intoxicating toothful in spite of the no treating order:

      According to the Duke of Northumberland the only firm foundation for reconstruction was self-denial and hard work, and politicians should draw attention to this instead of trying to persuade people that they could get something for nothing.

 One would hardly have thought that the noble gentleman would have deemed it necessary to point the way to politicians just at the present moment, at all events, for ever since “reconstruction” showed its head above the political horizon politicians have done precious little but preach toil and abstinence on the part of the workers.

Book Reviews: 'Modernity Britain, 1957–62', & 'Against Elections - The Case for Democracy'

Gradually Modernising

'Modernity Britain, 1957–62', by David Kynaston. (Bloomsbury £14.99)

This is the latest in Kynaston’s massive history of Britain from 1945 to 1979. It is a detailed combination of political, social, cultural and economic history, with a lot of reference to and quotations from autobiographies and contemporary diaries.

Theatre Review: 'An Epitaph for George Dillon'

'An Epitaph for George Dillon', by John Osborne

'Look Back in Anger', 'The Entertainer' and now 'An Epitaph for George Dillon': John Osborne's trilogy of failure. Jimmy Porter is a failure, Archie Rice is a failure, and George Dillon is a failure. This cannot be without significance, the question is—why? The remarkable success if these plays is largely due to a strong sense of identification that many people have with them. They unconsciously or otherwise see something of themselves in the problem children John Osborne has set before them on his stage.

Book Review: 'British Trade Unions 1945-1995'

Anti-strike record

'British Trade Unions 1945-1995', by Chris Wrigley (Manchester University Press, £12.99)

This textbook, aimed at students, is essentially a collection of extracts from trade union, government and Labour and Conservative party documents of the time.

After the war and up until at least the end of the 1960s there was more or less full employment in Britain. This seller's market for labour power put the unions in a good bargaining position, but under the Attlee post-war Labour government the unions' leaders chose not to take advantage of this. In fact strikes were illegal under this government which is supposed to have done so much for the working class.

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