Tag Archives: attlee

Quote [80] – Freedom of the individual soul takes different forms at various periods.

It is essential to remember that civilisation takes long to build and is easily destroyed.  Brutality is infectious. As It Happened – C R Attlee
The Labour Party owes its inspiration not to some economic doctrine or to some theory of class domination.  It has always based its propaganda on ethical principles.  We believe that every individual should be afforded the fullest opportunity for developing his or her personality.  The founder of our Party, Keir Hardie, always made his appeal on moral grounds.  He believed that the evils of society were due to the failure to put into practice the principles of the brotherhood of man.

The struggle for freedom of the individual soul takes different forms at various periods.  Here in Britain we have achieved freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, freedom of speech and action within the law, freedom for workers to come together.  They are victories which we will not allow to be reversed, but the fight for freedom continues.

The Labour Party is the expression of the revolt of men and women against a materialist system of society which condemns to a narrow and stinted life the majority of our citizens and gives rewards to the greedy and acquisitive.

The Labour Party’s object is the building of a new world on the foundation of social and economic justice.

Labour Party As It Happened – C R Attlee

Quote [79] – Historic WWII – Optimisms Loss Of Clarity

Labour’s policy of socialism and peace was a whole which could not be divided into unconnected compartments. ‘You cannot have one policy for foreign affairs and run a policy at home on entirely different principles,’ I said ‘I want us to devote ourselves to making people realise that if they want peace they must have social justice at home’. Connection – Domstic &

International policy

As It Happened – C R Attlee




On President Benes:

“He always seemed to me to be too optimistic and too ready to think his diplomatic skills would get his country through all the dangers which faced it, but he was a good democrat and a good European”

International policy / War As It Happened – C R Attlee
“The threat from the Nazis was already developing, but Benes, as always, displayed great optimism.  He always seemed to me in his dealings both with the Germans and later with the Russians to put far too much confidence in his own cleverness.  He did not seem to realise how long a spoon was needed to sup with the devil.”


“No doubt it had many failings, but it was the best Government Spain had had for many years.  We recognised at once that General Franco’s movement  was part of the conspiracy against democracy and most liberals and some Conservatives agreed with us, but, on the whole, the Conservative Party tended to regard Franco as a saviour of society.  In this way they ran true to form, for  hundred years previously they were supporting Don Carlos against the constitutional Government of Queen Christina.” International policy / War As It Happened – C R Attlee
“I also inspected the British contingent of the International Brigade; this was an impressive scene in a Spanish village by torchlight.  The Brigade had saved the Republican cause in Spain.  Serving in its ranks were men of diverse views, but animated with courage, self-sacrifice and devotion, united in the fight for freedom.  It was tragic that all the time the Communists were intriguing and seeking to divert the contest into battle for Communism.


“…Whatever arms are required, they must be for League policy and the fist condition for any assent to more arms is that the Government shall be following a League policy … I say most emphatically, speaking on behalf of this party, that we shall never agree to piling up armaments and following a policy either of imperialism or of alliances, but only collective security through the League.”

“I told the house that in my opinion the Government had ‘destroyed the League of Nations as an effective instrument of peace … None of the small States of Europe are going to trust any more in collective security under the League if they know that the League will not stand by them.”

International policy / War As It Happened – C R Attlee


When Anthony  Eden and lord Cranborne resigned from the Chamberlain Government early in 1938, as a protest against the Prime Minister’s decision to open conversations with Mussolini whilst Italy was carrying on intervention in Spain and anti-British propaganda, I told the House that the policy of the Government was ‘an abject surrender to the dictators’ and that ‘the government, instead of trying to deal with the causes of war, had always been trying in a feeble way to play off one dictator against another.   That’ is a policy which sooner or later leads to war.’ International policy / War



As It Happened – C R Attlee



Quote [78] – Historic Action: Planning The Economy For Progress With The Efforts Otherwise Reserved For Wars


The following passage sets out what I considered to be the socialist approach to the economic problem.

“Why was it that in the war we were able to find employment for everyone? It was simply that the Government controlled the purchasing power of the nation.  They said what things should be produced; they said ‘We must have munitions of war.  We must have rifles; we must have machine guns; we must have shells; we must have ammunition; we must have uniforms; we must have saddles.’   They took by means of taxation and by methods of loan, control of purchasing power of this nation, and directed that purchasing power into making those things that are necessary for winning the war.

Today the distribution of purchasing power in the nation is enormously unequal.  I recall a speech by the present Prime Minister, in which he said that one of the greatest reforms in our national life would be a better distribution of wealth among the individuals composing this nation.  I entirely agree with him.”

“That is what we are demanding shall be done in time of peace.  It is possible for the Government, by methods of taxation and by other methods, to take hold of that purchasing power, and to say that, exactly as they told manufacturers and workers that they must turn out shells and munitions of all sorts to support the fighting man, so they must turn out houses and necessities for those who are making the country a country of peace.”

State: Economics & Social Policy As It Happened – C R Attlee


It may not be without interest to recall that twenty-seven years afterwards in my General Election broadcast I struck the same note when I said:

‘… The Labour Party believes that if you want certain results you must plan to ensure them; that in peace as in war the public interest must come first, and that if in war, despite the diversion, and despite the shortage of supply imposed by war conditions, we were able to provide food, clothing and employment for all our people, it is not impossible to do the same in peace, provided the Government has the will and the power to act….’

Instead of deciding on a policy and standing or falling by it, MacDonald and Snowden persuaded the Cabinet to agree to the appointment of an Economy Committee, under the chairmanship of Sir George May of the Prudential Insurance Company, with a majority of opponents of Labour on it.  The result might have been anticipated.  The proposals were directed to cutting the social services and particularly unemployment benefit.  Their remedy for an economic crisis, one of the chief features of which was excess of commodities over effective demand, was to cut down the purchasing power of the masses.


Quote [77] – Historic Action: Government – Housing & Health Policy

  “Our powers to deal with the housing situation were limited and there was not much space for buildings, but we did what we could.  It was, however, possible for us to get existing houses repaired.  We appointed a number of extra sanitary inspectors, made a complete survey of the borough, served over 40,000 legal notices on house-owners to repair their property and we saw that they were enforced.

In another field great progress was made.  Infant mortality had long been high.  We instituted health visitors, ante-natal clinics, etc. and brought the death rate down to be one of the lowest in London.

State: Housing & Health policy As It Happened – C R Attlee

Quote [76] – Attlee, Formation Of The Labour Party & Policy

“But the fighting core of the party was the I.L.P whose leader, Keir Hardie, was now reinforced in the house of Commons by MacDonald, Snowden, Clynes and others.

Without the I.L.P it would have been possible for this attempt to form a new Party to have failed, as had happened before.  The I.L.P was a remarkable organisation which enlisted the devotion of thousands of men and women.  It was not rigidly dogmatic.  It was inclusive rather than exclusive and preached a socialism which owed more to the bible than to Karl Marx. It was indeed a characteristically British interpretation of socialism.”

“As a contrast, the Social Democratic Federation was completely Marxist and preached the class war.  Its outlook was more materialist than the I.L.P”

The Labour Party – Formation & Nature


As It Happened – C R Attlee
  “The various strains in the Movement found their echo in our branch meetings and we used to discuss vehemently such topics as the advantages of revolutionary and reformist tactics and the question of industrial, as opposed to political, action.  I am sure that a substantial apprenticeship in the ordinary work of a local branch is of great value to anyone who is destined to play any part in political life, especially if he is to become prominent in a national sphere.” The Labour Party – representation & local involvement


As It Happened – C R Attlee

Quote [75] – Historic Action: Government, Parliament and The Poor

Referring to work at a boys club:

“It was astonishing how wide were the interests of the boys in all kinds of subjects.  Sometimes they produced very good aphorisms.  For instance, we were discussing friendship one evening.  One boy summed it up by saying. ‘A pal is a bloke wot knows all about yer and yet loves yer.’  Another time we were discussing the qualities of a gentleman.  One said, ‘A bloke what does no work.‘ Another said, ‘A rich bloke.’ Young Dicky, a bright lad said, ‘I reckon a gentleman is a bloke wot’s the same to everybody’

As It Happened – C R Attlee
In the local association of Care Committees we used to have great fights against the adherents of the Charity Organisation Society who believed in the Poor Law principle of deterrence.  I recall a parson who advocated giving children only burnt porridge served at the most inconvenient place and time. Government Benefits / Support Systems As It Happened – C R Attlee
Poverty and the Law:

The problem of poverty caused growing public concern during the early 19th century. The existing system for looking after those unable to care for themselves – the old, sick, disabled, orphans and unemployed – was based on a series of Acts of Parliament passed during the later Tudor period. These laws imposed an obligation on every parish to take care of its poor, though this had much less to do with compassion than with the need to preserve order and stability.

‘Poor relief’ was not the responsibility of central government, but of the local parish, the main part of local government. A ‘poor rate’ or local tax paid by parish householders was used to help the poor in two main ways. In the 18th century those who were too ill, old, destitute, or who were orphaned children were put into a local ‘workhouse’ or ‘poorhouse’. Those able to work, but whose wages were too low to support their families, received ‘relief in aid of wages’ in the form of money, food and clothes.

Need for reform

New legislation attempted to improve aspects of the Poor Law, but left everything to local initiative. By the end of the 1790s there were clear signs that the system was under severe strain. Increasing numbers of parish poor were seeking assistance and the cost to ratepayers of maintaining the system was rising alarmingly, especially as payments were linked to the rising costs of bread and the size of families. There was also evidence that poor law payments were being used by employers to ‘top up’ wages.

In the early 1830s outbreaks of rural violence in southern England and complaints from hard-pressed ratepayers made it clear that urgent reform was essential. But opinion in Parliament and in the corridors of power was divided over how the Poor Law system could be made to work more effectively and less expensively. The main question preoccupying many MPs was whether it was right for the state to take some responsibility in such matters.

Appendix – for the above
  In 1832, the government appointed a royal commission to investigate the workings of the Poor Law and make recommendations for improvement. The commissioners sent out questionnaires and visited over 3,000 parishes (out of a total of 15,000) collecting information.

One of the leading commissioners, Edwin Chadwick, was already convinced that the system needed to be brought under rigorous central control in London. It also needed to be reformed in such a way as to deter people from making unnecessary demands on public funds.

The commission’s report and recommendations were published in 1834 and received wide support in Parliament. The commissioners had come up with a way of providing an efficient government cure for the problem, yet one which ensured a minimum of state interference and cost.


The Poor Law Amendment Act was quickly passed by Parliament in 1834, with separate legislation for Scotland and Ireland. It implemented a major overhaul of the old Poor Law by adopting all the commission’s main recommendations. A ‘Poor Law Commission’ (a new government department, in effect) was set up in London employing inspectors to supervise the work of local officials. Instead of an administrative system based around parishes about 600 locally elected ‘boards of guardians’ were set up, each board having its own workhouse.

Outdoor relief – the financial support formerly given to the able-bodied – was no longer to be available to them so as to compel them to work. Outside assistance was widely available to the sick and elderly. But in many areas assistance was only given within the confines of the workhouse where the regime was deliberately harsh and often cruel.

Pioneering Act

The new Act was pioneering in introducing a role for central government in the care of the poor, and remained in force throughout the Victorian age. But, as social commentators remarked, the treatment of genuine hardship caused by economic circumstances beyond the control of the individual had been ignored. By the 1880s, greater understanding of poverty and its complex links with economic conditions (such as low pay and unemployment) slowly began to change opinion in Parliament.





Quote Book -[19]- Society and Decent

Back on Wednesday, there were armed police at Kings Cross Station – when i wonder did that start to be something that happened.  Back way when there used to be armed military at Zurich Airport – then later and occasionally some could be found roaming an airport terminal in the UK, this seemed new.  Unwelcome sort of new.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind Mahatma Gandhi
It is essential to remember that civilisation takes long to build and is easily destroyed.   Brutality is infectious. As It Happened – C R Attlee

Quote Book -[6]- People

P21 “Usually in life one is either looking forward to the future or backward to the past, so that it is seldom that one says to oneself, ‘What a glorious time i am having”. But I can recall that very often this thought came to me as i walked past the old grey buildings.”
P23 Referring to college:

“I was at this time a Conservative, but id not take any active part in politics. I never belonged to any political club. There were also a number of societies seeking support from undergraduates , especially in the religious field, but I was not attracted though a number of my closest friends belonged to them.”

P29 “My elder brother, Tom, was an architect and a great reader of Ruskin and Morris. I too admired these great men and began to understand their social gospel. My brother was helping at the Maurice Hostel in the near-by Hoxton district of London. Our reading became more extensive. After looking into many social reform ideas – such as co-partnership-we both came to the conclusion that the economic and ethical basis of society was wrong. We became socialists. I recall how in October 1907, we went to Clements Inn to try to join the Fabian Society. Edward Pease, the Secretary, regarded us as if we were two beetles ho had crept under the door, and when we said we wanted to join the society he asked coldly, “why?” We said, humbly, that we were socialist and persuaded him that we were genuine.”
P31 Referring to work at a boys club:

“It was astonishing how wide were the interests of the boys in all kinds of subjects. Sometimes they produced very good aphorisms. For instance, we were discussing friendship one evening. One boy summed it up by saying. ‘A pal is a bloke wot knows all about yer and yet loves yer.’ Another time we were discussing the qualities of a gentleman. One said, ‘A bloke what does no work.‘ Another said, ‘A rich bloke.’ Young Dicky, a bright lad said, ‘I reckon a gentleman is a bloke who’s the same to everybody’

Source: As It Happened – C R Attlee

P7 Most people confess “self-knowledge” with knowledge of their conscious ego personalities.   Anyone who has any ego-consciousness at all takes it for granted that he knows himself. But the ego knows only it own contents, not the unconscious and its contents. People measure their self-knowledge by what the average person in their social environment knows of himself, but not by the real psychic facts which are for the most part hidden from them. In this respect the psyche behaves like the body with its psychological and anatomical structure, of which the average person knows very little too.

Source: The Undiscovered Self – C G Jung

Pxii Many of Jung’s patients seemed to him to be stuck because their thinking was too one-sided. He was very interested in the idea that the personality contains opposite and conflicting aspects – finding a balance between these was very important for individual progress. Jung said it was essential for a person to understand their own psyche, and work with it in this way to achieve a sense of individuality, before they can achieve satisfactory relationships with others.
P47 Conscious attitudes within the psyche are always balanced by unconscious attitudes – if a conscious attitude grows too strong then the unconscious will always seek to restore equilibrium. The unconscious will express its ideas by means of dreams, fantasies, spontaneous imagery, slips of the tongue and so on. If the unconscious message is ignored then neurosis of even physical disease may result
P55 For Jung the psyche is a dynamic system, constantly changing and self regulating. Libido flows between two opposing poles, which Jung calls ‘the opposites’. There are many opposites in the psyche, for example conscious/unconscious; sleeping/waking; thinking/feeling; anger/peace. The greater the tension between two opposites, the greater the libido. The opposites have a regulating function in the psyche: when an extreme is reached the tendency is for the libido to flow to the opposite state, so that, for example, rage becomes calm or love becomes hate.
P56 Jung stresses that the ego is not the same as the Self, which is the whole personality and includes both conscious and unconscious aspects of the psyche. Like the unconscious, the Self already exists when we are born, and the ego emerges out of it in the course of childhood development. It seeks biological goals, but is also interested in the spiritual and the numinous because it has a transcendent quality. The overall goal of the Self it so me the individual complete and whole.   It is often depicted symbolically in images such as mandalas. The health of the ego depends upon the health of the self.

We need to develop a strong and effective ego in order to function in the outer world. This the chief task that we have to accomplish in the first half of life, as we learn to grow away from out parents and do things for ourselves. A strong ego can exert a balancing influence, keeping the conscious and unconscious aspect of the personality in equilibrium. An over inflated ego, on the other hand, will form a dictatorial intolerant personality. Such an ego can become highly unpleasant, even dangerous, seeing itself as all-important, almost god-like.

During the second half of life the ego and the Self begin to confront one another and gradually we begin to understand that the Self is actually more important. At this stage, the personality can begin to integrate and eventually we may attain higher consciousness. Evidently most people never reach this stage in the individuation process!

P65 The Principles of Opposites.

Everything in the psyche naturally has an opposite aspect, and in fact this principle is basic to all of nature. Think of up/down, light/dark and so on. Following this principle, every ‘good’ content I the psyche tend to be balanced by an equivalent ‘bad’ content. The flow of libido (psychic energy) between opposites is greater when there is greater contrast between the opposites. This flow of libido drives our behaviour.

P65 The Principles of Entropy.

This is borrowed from physics and describes the tendency for all systems to ‘run down’ as energy is evenly distributed. In the psyche this means that opposites tend eventually to blend together – we can see this, for example, in the way people tend often to ‘mellow’ as they get older, losing the extreme energies of youth.

P66 Jung applied another basic biological principle to the psychology of the psyche; the principle of homeostasis. This refers to the way living organisms always strive to keep themselves in a state of balance, no matter what goes on in the environment.   So, for example, when we are hungry we eat food, when we are too hot we take of clothes or seek a patch of shade.   Again, the principle applies throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, and even within non-living systems.   Jung always stressed that the psyche has evolved as part of the world in which we live. Therefore he saw it as logical that the psyche too would seek to balance at all times, just as the body does.
P70 Jung insisted that the development of the psyche extends well beyond childhood and adolescence, even continuing into old age: we never finish the process of self-examination and growth that charts our journey toward individuation.
P71 Taking responsibility for our less favoured aspects is the first task of the Self in the individuation process. Throughout this process the psyche has to continually examine and confront what it produces. In terms of Jung’s own two conflicting personalities, we could say the analytical, conscious personality Number 1 is continually looking at and trying to understand unconscious personality Number 2, which is always sending messages to try and get Jungs attention. The work is not easy, as Jung himself admitted, but it can have great rewards as it helps us to become more peaceful humans, better able to relate to our fellow beings.
P73 It is important to try not to repress anything and to accept things as they really are. This may not be comfortable at times, and Jung says that the ‘other’ that we discover lurking within us may often seem alien and unacceptable. But our task is to stay with it and let the feelings sink in, because we will be richer for every little bit of self knowledge. We have to accept the parts of ourselves that seem evil because they show us our areas of imbalance. Once we are able to take a good look at the conflicting opposites in our psyche it is possible to work towards reconciling position that lies somewhere between the two.
P104 Problems often arise when parents try to force a child into a mould that goes against the natural type. This sort of pressure can result in neurosis and hampers development in later life. If the parents are more flexible they can help the child toward developing its natural type. Often the unconscious function is projected onto others as the child grows – perhaps onto parents, siblings, peer group members, actors or pop stars. The child will identify groups or fall in love with people who satisfy this function. Through a process of repeated projection and subsequent withdrawal, the whole psyche gradually becomes more integrated. This is why attachments of this sort are so important to the developing psyche.

Source: Teach Yourself: Jung – Ruth Snowden

Intermission: Political Speeches – Attlee – Leader’s Speech [3]

Clement Attlee (Labour)

Location: Scarborough

The main purpose of Attlee’s speech was to introduce Labour’s manifesto for the 1951 general election. During its 18 months in office, Labour had continued to build up the NHS, while Britain was starting to reap the benefits of the nationalisation programme. Labour was also committed to a controlled economy, which Attlee claimed was a pre-requisite for co-operation with other nations. Such co-operation was evident in Britain’s support for the UN in dealing with Korea, as well as for the Atlantic Treaty on defence. However, Britain was facing a number of challenges, among which were rising prices and the problem of equal pay, and Labour pledged to tackle them in its manifesto.

May I thank you for your very kind and generous welcome. My duty this afternoon is to introduce to you the Labour Party Manifesto for the Election of 1951. We shall discuss it during the next few days and others of my colleagues on the Executive will be speaking to you on various points, so my task is to give you a general introduction to the Manifesto and to commend it to you.

We open this Manifesto by saying that we are proud of our record. We have nothing to apologise for and we go into this Election full of confidence. It does not seem a long time ago since the 1950 Election. That Election was a remarkable achievement. It is rare for a post-war Government to survive a General Election in the atmosphere that follows a great war. There are inevitably many hardships, many individual grievances, which would perhaps tend to make people think, ‘Let us have a change’ and the idea ‘Let us have a change’ seems to be about the only thing the Tories are putting forward at this Election. But the electors showed a remarkable con­stancy. We had lost no by-election in the previous four and a half years. We came back with a majority, but a small one. And remem­ber, at that Election we told the people the truth. We did not promise them lower income tax, reduced taxation and greater benefits for everybody. We asked them, as an educated electorate, to face the facts of the situation; and that, again, is what we are doing in this Election.

During those eighteen months of the 1950 Government we broke another record. For a Government with a small majority to get through eighteen months with no major defeat, with an Opposition thirsting for power, is quite un­precedented. Governments have lasted a long time on a small majority previously, but that was because the Opposition did not want to come in. Our Opposition has neglected no opportunity of trying to defeat the Government. And I want, here and now, to pay a high tribute to the Labour Members, of the 1950 Parliament. They have shown great loyalty, great con­stancy, great endurance. Many of them have attended the House at great personal sacrifice and at great risk; and I should like here to pay a tribute to one who, through illness, cannot be here today, and that is our great Chief Whip, Willie Whiteley.

In this year we lost a great man, a great Labour leader, the outstanding Trade Unionist of his generation, a man who contributed an immense amount to the winning of the war and the greatest Foreign Secretary we have had – Ernest Bevin. I should like to pay my tribute to another great servant of his country and of our Movement, Stafford Cripps. He wore himself out in devoted service and we all rejoice that his health is being restored. We hope to welcome him back.

Our work during those eighteen months has been difficult and necessarily not very specta­cular, but I should like to say to all of you that there has been no halt in Labour’s advance. Some people take a superficial view and think of our advance as signalised mainly by the passing of particular Acts of Parliament. The real measure of our advance must be taken in looking at what has been done in the field of administration, as well as of legislation. What has been occurring during the eighteen months has been the implementation of the great measures that we passed in 1945. You can pass great measures like our Health Act, the nation­alisation of coal or of gas, or of electricity, but that does not mean that within a few weeks or months you are going to see a complete change in that service or industry. You can only begin the change, and it takes a great deal of time working it out.

The National Health Service has been steadily built up, but it is only recently that we got the full report of one year’s activities. In the mines we had to overtake the neglect and mismanagement of decades. On the railways you had the same thing. During these eighteen months great improvements have been made. I would pay a tribute to what has been done by the members of the boards, by the manage­ments and, above all, by the workers in those industries. I shall never forget the appeal that I made in the spring to the miners for extra work. It was not an appeal to their cupidity, it was to their patriotism and their sense of social service, and the response in which they gave us the extra coal we needed was a signal example of the new spirit that you get where there is work for the community.

Of course, the Opposition say nationalisa­tion has failed. It has not failed. They say nationalisation was due to an ideological pre­judice. Nothing of the sort. Our nationalisa­tion measures were essential for the recon­struction of the country. The fact that they were in Labour’s programme only shows the prescience of Labour in knowing what the times required. I recall very well Sir John Anderson’s words: ‘In the case of the Bank of England, Transport, Cable and Wireless, Electricity and Coal the onus of proving the need for socialisation may not unreasonably be held to have been discharged.’ No one expected that we could reap the full benefit of those changes in a few short months. It takes time to work the economy, it takes time even to work the new spirit that is required – and that applies to some of the personnel in those industries who have not yet got the new spirit.

These eighteen months have been marked by great progress; but it is progress that must be judged by remembering what the difficulties are. If Len Hutton goes in to bat for England and bats for three hours for 50 or 60 runs it may be an enormously creditable achievement on a very sticky wicket. We have had to bat on a very sticky wicket and great progress has been made. That progress must not be stopped by these great undertakings passing under the control of a Government whose members do not believe in the principle on which they were erected. That principle was the organisation of the economic resources in the interests of the whole of the people.

During those years we have had the incessant work of planning. There are a few eccentrics in the House of Commons who do not believe in planning at all. They believe you can go back to laissez faire. There are others on the opposite side who believe in planning, but their objectives are different from ours. I assure you that a government in a modern state must plan the internal affairs of the country and must join with others in planning for a world society, because conditions in the modern world are such that you cannot plan in isolation.

We are constantly in touch with our friends of the Commonwealth. Only last week there was a conference of Economic Ministers. We are constantly planning in the United Nations with other nations, because we cannot make progress without co-operation with other nations. Experience has shown that to have effective co-operation you must have control over your own economy. There have been Governments that have rashly abandoned controls, gone to their electors, told them they must give up controls, and they have met themselves coming back; they have had to put back the controls that they rashly abandoned. In our Government we achieved a very great success through the co-operation of all the Ministers and the country, but in particular this is connected with the name of Stafford Cripps.

The people of Britain under the leadership of the Labour Government did a great work in reconstructing our viable economy and dealing with that difficult problem of the balance of payments. It was a great disappointment that, just as we were beginning to see daylight, we were forced to embark on rearmament.

It is right that in our Manifesto we should give the first place to peace. Peace is a thing that we all desire, but peace does not come about through wishful thinking. Peace is not just a negative absence of war; peace means that you get rid as far as you can of the causes of war.

We have taken our stand through very many years, through good or ill, on support for the rule of law. That other great Foreign Secretary of ours, Arthur Henderson, laid down the lines on which we have acted. Throughout we have supported the United Nations and when the challenge came in Korea we unhesitatingly went in with other members of the United Nations Organisation representing the democratic forces of the world. We realised that Korea was a test case we realised that armed aggression had arisen once more in the world and we accepted the logic of the situation, as a matter of respon­sibility, first of all to our own people and secondly to the whole of the free world.

It is common practice of our opponents to try and run down Britain in the eyes of the world and to say that we have lost our influ­ence. It is quite untrue. We hold a unique place. From our geographical position we are a vital link between Europe and the New World. From our position as a leading mem­ber of the Commonwealth we bring together nations in all the continents and in particular we unite in one great association the nations of Asia as well as of Europe. Thus Britain has great experience.

It is not our fault that the world is divided. We do not wish to see a great gulf between East and West. We have done everything we can to bring them together. We stand ready at any time to meet and deal with the people on the other side of the Iron Curtain. The fault is on their side of the net. They have only to make a real response, a response not only in words but in actions, to be able to get rid of this cloud of suspicion. But we have been forced by their attitude to build up a great non-aggressive treaty of defence, the Atlantic Treaty, and we have had to make our contribution to that.

We worked out how much that contribution would be. We had to hold a balance all the time between the necessary support for arma­ments and the support of a viable economy in this country. That programme is going for­ward. We realised that sacrifices would be necessary, but it was essential, if the world is to be free from fear, if we are to get an accom­modation of relations with the other side of the Iron Curtain. I believe that there should be adequate strength in the freedom-loving nations. We do not like having to spend a great deal on arms, but we have to recognise the mentality of the people with whom we deal, who have a materialist philosophy and think in terms of strength.

We get a lot of criticisms of our foreign policy. If we act independently we are told we ought to have consulted other people. If we consult other people we are told we are being subservient. The fault is always ours, never the other people’s. In foreign affairs you have got to work with other people and you cannot just lay down your policy and expect everyone to accept it. Believe me, it is a hard life being a Labour Foreign Secretary!

We keep a steady course and we have a steady people. That is an essential in a world where there is a good deal of nervousness and where it is easy for people to yield to hysteria. We shall keep on that steady course. We support the United Nations; when disputes arise we take them to the United Nations, as we did in the case of Albania, as we have done in the case of Persia.

I am always hearing voices raised clamour­ing for what they call a strong foreign policy. What does ‘a strong foreign policy’ mean? People who use that phrase are living in the past; they are thinking of Lord Palmerston. Those days have gone for ever. But because we support the rule of law it does not mean that our policy in any case has been weak and vacillating. It does mean that everywhere we do the utmost we can by negotiation.

Rearming has inevitably meant an increase in world prices. The fact is that if (as we do), we desire a rise in the standard of living in the world, particularly in all those areas that have had such a raw deal in the past, inevitably we increase the pressure of demand on available supply. Our policy at home has done that. Take electricity: there is a tremendous demand on our electrical resources. Why? Because so many more of our people want to use this amenity. There is a tremendous demand on the telephones unsatisfied. I can remember being Postmaster-General in 1931, and inaugurating a campaign to get people to have telephones. Why was there not that demand then? Because the masses of the people could not afford them.

Therefore, you must not be surprised that there are these rising prices. They can only be met in the long rim by increased production in the world. We have been following a policy of abundance. The other way that was tried between the wars was a policy of restriction, of grinding down the demands of the people, with the result that in the 30’s you had what they called a crisis of abundance, because there were things that no one could buy. We do not want to see the clock put back to that kind of thing. The answer is: increase produc­tion and meanwhile we must try and follow out a policy of fair shares.

As a result of my visit to Washington last December we have been trying to deal with raw materials on an international basis, trying to get fair shares. At home here, too, we work on a policy of fair shares. Wherever there is this increase of demand and this shortage of supply there are the profiteers opportunity. You will see set out in our Manifesto addi­tional measures that we want to take to deal with those who profit out of the nation’s needs.

We have already sheltered our people very largely by such things as food subsidies and price control. We are going ahead with such things as fruit and vegetable marketing; restric­tion of dividends; public ownership wherever it is necessary and desirable; and the policy of redressing the inequalities of wealth, the policy of getting a greater distribution of wealth.

Only a few years ago Wales was in danger of losing an enormous proportion of its popula­tion, of becoming derelict. Today Wales is a land of hope and a land of achievement. We have the same thing in Scotland, not only in the industrial belt but in the highlands and islands. You have the same thing in the countryside of Britain. Before the war there was increasing disequilibrium between town and country and here, too, you had those depressed areas. All that has gone and you see today a more prosperous countryside than we have ever had before. You have had a Government that has not only looked at the countryside as a means of producing food, but as part of our great national heritage of beauty. We are now cleaning up some of the mistakes of the past and we are throwing open the beauty of our country to all our people. Under the heading of Social Justice in our Manifesto we draw this contrast between the past and the present, but we are not satisfied with the present; we are pressing on for the future. As I said, the rate of our progress is conditioned by circumstances.

We as a Government are always faced with multitudinous demands, all desirable in them­selves. They are pressed by different groups of people and it is good that there should be this enthusiasm. But the task of a Government is to make a decision on priorities and it is not an easy choice. You see some set out in our Manifesto. There is the problem of equal pay. We want to do it, but we have to find a time when we can do it. All these things must be conditioned by circumstances; we must make decisions on priorities.

The crucial question of this Election, on which every elector must make up his or her mind, is this: What kind of society do you want? We know the kind of society we want. We want a society of free men and women – free from poverty, free from fear, able to develop to the full their faculties in co-opera­tion with their fellows, everyone giving and having the opportunity to give service to the community, everyone regarding his own private interest in the light of the interest of others, and of the community; a society bound together by rights and obligations, rights bringing obligations, obligations fulfilled bringing rights; a society free from gross inequalities and yet not regimented nor uniform.

Our opponents, on the other hand, regard the economic process primarily as the giving an opportunity to the individual to advance his own interests; community interests, national interests, are regarded as a hypotheti­cal by-product. Their motto is: ‘The world is my oyster; each one for himself.’ The result of that policy can be seen by all. There was the army of the poor; there were the slums; there was beautiful Britain defiled for gain; there were derelict areas. The fruits of our policy can be seen in the new fine generation that is growing up, in the new houses – because we have done a great work in housing. You hear only of the people who are not satisfied. The people who are snug in a Council house do not write to you about it.

The fact is that a very remarkable job has been done under great difficulties. You see our new towns, you see our smiling country­side. I am proud of our achievement. There is an immense amount more to do. Remember that we are a great crusading body, armed with a fervent spirit for the reign of righteous­ness on earth. Let us go forward in this fight in the spirit of William Blake:

I will not cease from mental strife,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Leader’s speech, Scarborough 1951