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Greasy Pole: Beware of Leaders

Greasy Pole

It can be a time for their widespread regret, if not mourning, when any of our political leaders reaches the end of their time of dominance and the exposure of their futile dishonesty, leaving them with little more than a badge signifying their removal from the scene. Like Neville Chamberlain in 1938 waving his little piece of paper from Hitler to the crowd at Heston Airport. Like Ted Heath and his Three-Day Week which would replace slump with prosperity. Like Theresa May and her snap general election which was going to sweep away the muddle of Nick Clegg and that Coalition along with hapless Ed Miliband. But also, less enduring, there was John Moore who ended his time as Baron Moore of Lower Marsh. Moore was once favoured by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with a rocket-like rise up the Greasy Pole to the heights of Secretary Of State for Health and Social Security, where he enforced such changes as to nominate him Mr Privatisation with all the implicit rewards.

The Age of Sedatives

 The 21 years between 1918 and 1939 have been called the Aspirin Age. They were the years of jazz and the flappers’ new morality, of sensation and unemployment, when society first pressed down in earnest upon the accelerator. The years when a world in crises and turmoil turned for comfort to—the little white tablet. A future historian may likewise seek to describe the period since 1945 in terms of the problems and panaceas of the day. He might well consider calling our times the Pheno-barbitone Phase.

Greasy Pole: Adonis As It Is?

Greasy Pole

Andreas Adonis. Since May 2005 Life Peer Lord Andrew Adonis. With a record which justifies him, according to which discipline he is involved in, being identified as a politician, an academic, a journalist and author of a number of well-received, solidly quoted books. At present he is in the Chair of something called The National Infrastructure Commission – the meaning of which will be varied according to who is discussing it. In this it may be instructive to bear in mind that he was the first holder of such a post, appointed by two Tory Chancellors in George Osborne and Philip Hammond. Osborne was in no two minds about this: 'I am delighted to tell you that the former Labour cabinet minister and transport secretary Andrew Adonis has agreed to be the commission’s first chair. He’ll now sit as a cross-bench peer and help us create Britain’s plan for the future...' This was in spite of the fact that the Adonis roots were originally unpromising.

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?

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