The wind of change blew strongly over the British Isles in 1945. The great wartime hero, Winston Churchill is no longer the country’s leader, in spite of his great effort and success overseas during the war. The right-wing Conservative leader thought to remain prime mister, expecting public gratitude. However, the English vote for parties, not people. There was a demographic impact within Britain that led to the swing of leadership from a more capitalist based party to a more socialist based party. The people of Britain were haunted by the 1930s, a world in which “seldom the all-importance of food is recognized. You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or ...view middle of the document...
Difficult for a capitalistic government to do, but nonetheless, they accepted that ‘war socialism’ was a patriotic necessity which had to be tolerated for the duration of the war.
What is meant by their accepting ‘war socialism’? It was socialism because, it was the socialist Labour party who practically governed the country whilst Churchill took care of external affairs – Churchill is the Rhetorician, leading the country abroad, whilst Atlee becomes the doer, when it comes social matters. In fact, the Labour Party becomes the party, which is actually doing anything significant at home. Three key government positions were held by Labour party members: Clement Atlee, the leader of the Labour party, was the deputy prime minister – he practically ran the country; Aneurin Bevan, the Minister of Labour and National services; Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary. This was fundamental to the Labour appeal, that it is a party which is ‘able to govern’, not a mere child in a house of adults, but rather an experienced and mature political party.
Furthermore, Labour seized this opportunity to put into practice, within its local constituencies – who were primarily working-class - some of its procedures; such as, establishing the ‘proto-welfare state’. This was, essentially, paying more generous levels of aid to the poor and jobless, encouraging the building of clinics, houses, and public baths, which also provided employment opportunities. This also afforded Labour members with crucial experience in office; they were able to improve living standards through measures such as improving housing and health care, providing maternity clinics and free milk and meals for school children.
Labour regarded the war as an opportunity for converting wartime conditions into the basis of a new social order, which it then demonstrated to be the solution for evading another 1930s like depression. The Left were appropriating all opportunities that lay in their midst, much to the dissatisfaction of the Right “Every trade union and the cooperative movement and the rather cowardly ...pseudo-intelligent left movements are using every minute to promote their pestilential views”, as clamoured by Sir Tufton Beamish.
However, Labour was only able to do this due to the Vacuum of post-war policy left open by Churchill. This emptiness was really filled by William Beveridge with his famous report.
Churchill dwelled, though little, over post-war policy and the implementation of the Beveridge report. Churchill, along with the majority of conservatives, had serious reservations about the report. Though he bore hesitation - he needed to keep Labour within the coalition government - he struck a compromise: preparations for post-war legislation may begin but without implementation during wartime; and the implementation of a churchillised Beveridge report. Churchill incurably slipped when it came to addressing social-policy and the Beveridge report, even when he did address the...