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Political situation in Britain 1945-1960

Political situation in Britain 1945-1960
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Political situation in Britain 1945-1960

1.The Labour governof 1945 to 1951………………………….3-6
2. The creation of a multi-racial Commonwealth………………………7
3.Christian Democracy as principal political phe
of post-war Europe ……………………………………………… 8-10
4.The Conreturn to power………………………………10-14
5. References…………………………………………………………..15
The Labour governof 1945 to 1951
To exchange the splendours of oratory and the decades of experience of the greatest of war leaders for a very sincere but decidedly uncharismatic little man, seemed to the rest of the world an odd thing for the British electorate to do in the summer of 1945. It never made a wiser choice. Britain was straining forward to peace and a new social order, anxious that the disillusionment and lost opportunity which followed the First World War should not be repeated this time. For that, Attlee was the man. Churchill had no more desire to establish a social democratic Britain than he had to give India its overdue self-government. Attlee was committed to both. The Labour govern-ment of 1945 to 1951 was all in all the most competent, effective and honourable reforming administration in modern British history.
For the first time Labour had an absolute majority in the House of Commons; for the first time it had gained such a degree of middle-class support that it could truly be seen to represent the nation as a whole, and the success of its work can be measured by its genuinely national character. No Prime Minister of the twen-tieth century has been less partisan than Attlee or has had sounder judgment. He gauged his mandate with accuracy and carried it out with a cool modesty which deprived his opponents of any chance of convincing the nation that its affairs were now in the hands of dangerous revolutionaries. No hands were safer than those of this old boy of Haileybury, which, if lacking the panache of Churchill's Harrow, is one of the most respectable of public schools. If Attlee seemed so very reliable it was perhaps due in some measure to the fact that he had no pretensions to being either an aristocratic radical or a rebellious working man.
He came from the most sober of the middle middle-class - just a little above that which in twenty years time the country would come to prefer for its Prime Ministers. With lieutenants as outstanding as Bevin, Cripps and Aneurin Bevan, and with a leader of the opposition as distinguished as Churchill, it is not surprising that Attlee himself appeared so ordinary as to be mediocre, even to his lieutenants themselves.
The strength of Labour's achievement lay in being tied to no one man's genius. It was a collective and almost unideological response to the in inequality of British society and the unemployment of the thirties, seen in the light of the indigenous socialism of Tawney and of the experience of national community engendered by the war. After the election victory the Labour MPs might gather in the House of Commons to sing the 'Red Flag', but it represented no more than a nostalgic reevocation of tribal mythology. In the hard light of day the party's more doctrinaire socialists, led at the time by Professor Laski, chairman of the National Executive, were kept very much at arm's length by the Prime Minister and his closest colleagues.
Labour's agenda could be seen as the missed agenda of the 1920s and 1930s: the coal mines were nationalized at last, so too were the railways and the Bank of England, but little else (Iron and Steel, as a last and only half-believed-in fling, in 1951). Attlee, Morrison and Cripps had ceased to believe that massive nationalization would help the cause of social equality. The economy could be controlled more effectively and less dramation Keynesian principles through the working of the Treasury. Control rather than ownership was the point; control to bring to an end the massive social misery of the recent past. In this they were largely successful. Unemployment, unknown dur-ing the war, hardly reappeared for years; it remained lower than even Beveridge had thought possible.

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