Tony Cliff & Donny Gluckstein

The Labour Party

10. The Labour Party during
the Second World War

IT IS A commonly held myth that the Second World War was a ‘People’s War’ against fascism, which rose above class interests. Like the First World War, however, it was an imperialist conflict. Although fascism was just one particular form of capitalism, this did not mean that socialists could afford to be indifferent to its threats to bourgeois democracy. That would have been dangerously ultra-left. [1*]

Many of the freedoms which bourgeois democracy allows are the fruits of past workers’ struggle. Such things as the right to organise in trade unions, hold demonstrations or publish and sell newspapers, weigh little when set against the economic enslavement of the working class, but they can be invaluable weapons in building the mass movement towards the point where capitalism can be overthrown.

However the Second World War was not a struggle of bourgeois democracy versus fascism. The ruthless suppression of movements for colonial liberation by the rulers of France and Britain, the policy of non-intervention which had allowed unrestricted fascist supplies to Franco, and the cold-blooded carving up of Europe after the war, all pointed in the same direction.

This war was indeed an imperialist one. The threat to the workers’ movement and to the human race represented by modern capitalist militarism – of which fascism was but one guise – would in no way be ended by the victory of the Allies. Then, as now, the only real solution was successful workers’ revolution. It was the task of socialists to build towards this revolution and against their capitalist rulers.

Needless to say, such considerations never entered the minds of the labour bureaucrats. In May 1940 the Labour Party joined a coalition government led by Winston Churchill. The party executive agreed to this with only one dissenting voice. The Labour Party Conference endorsed it by 2,413,000 votes to 170,000. Opposition came only from pacifists, a few Trotskyists and some fellow-travellers of the Communist Party, which at that time declared the war to be an imperialist war. In the Commons only two ILP MPs, Jimmy Maxton and Campbell Stephen, opposed a vote of confidence in the new government.

There was a clear division of tasks in the coalition. When it concerned fighting for the interests of capitalism abroad, the choice was Churchill, the Tory leader. But when it came to containing the class struggle at home, Labour had the advantage. That was why Ernest Bevin was made minister of labour and Herbert Morrison, home secretary. (Of course Labour was not entrusted with control of the purse-strings. A Tory, Kingsley Wood, was chancellor of the exchequer.)

The value of this arrangement was soon obvious. One of Bevin’s first acts as minister was the passing of the Emergency Powers Act of May 1940, endowing his office with virtually dictatorial powers to conscript labour. Attlee explained:

The Minister of Labour will be given power to direct any person to perform any services required of him ... The Minister will be able to prescribe the terms of remuneration, the hours of labour, the conditions of service. [1]

Had the Tories attempted this alone the resistance might have been extensive. Instead only a handful of Labour MPs raised any queries. One was David Kirkwood who probably remembered his jail experience in the last ‘war to end all wars’ of 1914–18: ‘Am I in a position to say that if Labour is conscripted, so will wealth be conscripted?’ The Bill passed unanimously without any amendments.

On 4 June 1940, a joint consultative committee composed equally of employers and TUC representatives agreed that for the duration of the war strikes and lockouts would be banned and arbitration would be binding in their place. This agreement was embodied in Bevin’s Order 1305 which regulated industrial relations until 1945.

Order 1305 did not aim to arrest recalcitrant workers, since this was impossible on a mass scale. The effect of declaring a strike illegal was largely to strengthen the power of union officials over the members. Nevertheless, during the war 2,200 breaches of Order 1305 were reported leading to the prosecution of 6,281 people, of whom 5,100 were convicted. (Proceedings were taken against groups of workers 109 times, against employers just twice.) [2]

With the rising wave of strikes at the end of 1943 and beginning of 1944, Bevin wanted a much harsher measure than Order 1305. His speech of 4 April 1944 startled his audience when he said that the whole conciliation machinery was in danger of being wrecked by striking miners:

What has happened this week in Yorkshire is worse than if Hitler had bombed Sheffield and cut our communications. It is the most tragic thing that in Britain you can do more harm by thoughtless action and lack of discipline than your enemy can do to you. [3]

Bevin received full support from the TUC General Council in driving the miners back to work. It was as a result of this crisis that Regulation 1AA emerged to strengthen the authorities against ‘anyone who attempted to foment or exploit a strike in an essential service. The penalty for incitement was raised to a maximum of five years’ penal servitude or a fine of £500 or both.’ [4]

Despite the support of the General Council, there was resistance to Regulation 1AA at the TUC Congress itself. Reference back of the General Council statement was only defeated by 3,686,000 to 2,802,000. [5] The law would in fact have been powerless against a united workforce, but the new Regulation was used mainly as a psychological threat. It was never used in practice before its withdrawal in May 1945.

The government shows its true colours

Another area in which the government showed its real nature was that of the repeal, or at least amendment, of that notorious act of revenge for the General Strike – the Trades Disputes Act. From early 1940 the TUC pleaded in vain for its repeal. Eventually Churchill wrote stating that this was impossible during the war.

I am convinced that to propose to Parliament repeal or even modification of this Act would start a controversial discussion which might well develop into difficulties which will hamper our war effort. [6]

A TUC delegation discovered ‘that the decision which had been come to was a decision of the whole Cabinet – which rather startled us.’ [7] The 1943 Labour Conference added its voice for repeal. But when it appeared that Attlee, Bevin and Morrison were willing to enforce the punitive provisions of the Act against the civil servants the campaign folded. Other issues that aroused anger were the detested means test and miserly pensions. [2*]

The reactionary character of the government showed itself not only in home policy, but in foreign policy.

Let us start with Britain’s attitude to India. With the entry of Japan into the war on 7 December 1941, the question of winning the support of Indian political parties for the British war against the advancing Japanese became very important. For a long time Churchill made it clear that he was against the independence of India. In 1941 he declared that the Atlantic Charter, with its promise of self-determination of peoples, applied primarily to Europe. [9] On 22 March 1942, Cripps was sent to India to pacify Indian Congress Party leaders who refused to support the war unless India was granted independence.

It was transparently a mere manoeuvre, prompted by the new danger to the subcontinent from the Japanese. Cripps offered the Cabinet’s promise of full independence after the war. Mahatma Gandhi, with justice, refused to accept what he called a ‘post-dated cheque’. [10]

In August 1942 the Indian Congress Party began civil disobedience to force the British to quit India. Gandhi, Nehru and other Congress leaders were arrested, with Cripps’ approval. Attlee chaired the cabinet meeting which approved the detention of these leaders. When this was revealed in the Commons, Aneurin Bevan shouted, ‘Then they ought to be ashamed of themselves. They do not represent us.’ [11] British repression led to nearly 1,000 people being killed by November 1942. This was followed by a famine in Bengal that cost the lives of as many as one and a half million. On 20 November Churchill restated his aim to preserve the empire. ‘I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.’ [12]

Another example of reactionary foreign policy was the affair of Admiral Darlan who, after Petain and Laval, was the most notorious collaborator with the Nazis in the French Vichy government, formed under German occupation. On 8 November 1942 US and British troops landed in Morocco and Algeria and prepared to move towards Tunisia. There was opposition from the Vichy French, but suddenly, when it was clear that the Allies were winning in North Africa, Admiral Darlan, who was visiting the area, turned round and joined the Allies. He was welcomed with open arms, as though there was nothing to forgive.

As the allies moved forward to victory, such cases would often arise, and with them renewed suspicion that Churchill wanted, not a New Order in Europe, based on the Resistance movements, but a return to the Old Order presided over by monarchs, industrialists and military men, whether or not they had collaborated. Even on the right, many were sickened by the respect now shown for a man who had associated so closely with Petain and Laval. [13]

Nye Bevan led the protest, writing:

What kind of Europe have we in mind? One built by rats for rats? It may appear to some people a very clever idea to seduce and beguile these men who owe their power to hurt us to their having been the jackals of our enemies; but it does not bear that appearance to the millions of oppressed men and women in Europe to whom we look for help in our offensive against Germany. Are they to be expected to face torture, imprisonment and death so that the authors of their calamities may be feted by us? [14]

A new chapter of infamy started with the entry of US and British troops into Italy. On 25 July 1943, a coup overthrew the Italian fascist dictator Mussolini. He was replaced by the former Italian Commander in Chief in Ethiopia, Marshal Badoglio, who soon turned towards the Allies. The coup against Mussolini took place against the background of a huge strike wave, which swept Milan, Turin and other parts of Northern Italy.

Bevan won a parliamentary debate against government resistance and managed to touch a raw nerve, coming close to exposing the imperialist character of the war. Bevan began by reciting, amidst ever angrier interruptions, the speech which Churchill had delivered on a visit to Rome in 1927:

I could not help being charmed, like so many other people have been, by Signor Mussolini’s gentle and simple bearing and by his calm, detached pose, in spite of so many burdens and dangers ... Anyone could see that he thought of nothing but the lasting good, as he understood it, of the Italian people, and that no lesser interest was of the slightest consequence to him.

If I had been an Italian, I am sure that I should have been wholeheartedly with you from start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism ...

Bevan went on:

Let us make no mistake about this ... There are many Members in the House who have no complaint against Fascism, except when it is strong enough to threaten them ... There was no complaint either against Italy or against all her sins and vices. The whole Fascist setup was supported by a majority of this House ... [15]

Another disgusting chapter in British foreign policy occurred when, in October 1944, the Germans withdrew from Greece. Churchill sent the British army to fill the vacuum and prevent a takeover by the Communist-dominated resistance movement, EAM. Churchill went to Moscow to clear the issue with Stalin. They discussed the division of spheres of influence among the Allies. Churchill jotted down on a half sheet of paper his ideas for the relative degree of control by the Great Powers in the Balkans as follows:

Rumania: Russia 90%, others 10%.
Greece: Great Britain (in accord with USA) 90%,Russia 10%.
Yugoslavia: 50–50.
Hungary: 50–50.
Bulgaria: Russia 75%, others 25%.

Stalin took his blue pencil and made a large tick upon it. [16] Churchill’s instruction to the British army was to ‘treat Athens like a conquered city’ and within a month it was fighting the EAM, which had carried the main burden of the struggle against the Nazis in Greece. Stalin, as good as his word, stood by while 60,000 British troops turned on the Communists. In the House of Commons a motion of censure was moved by Seymour Cox of the Tribune group but was lost by 279 to 30, with the official Parliamentary Labour Party abstaining. [17]

At the Labour Party Conference the following week, many agreed with the left’s outrage at the Greek events. But the leadership had put its prestige on the line over this issue. Wielding the union block vote given ‘out of loyalty rather than conviction’ the party executive won by 2,455,000 votes to 137,000 [18]

As a gauge of the constituency delegates’ mood, one could point to the result of the elections for constituency party members on the executive. Harold Laski, a strong critic of the party leaders but not an MP, came top; Emmanuel Shinwell, a strong critic inside the House of Commons, came second; and most significant of all, Nye Bevan, standing for the first time, secured the fifth place out of seven.

The Labour left’s illusions in the coalition government

When the coalition government was formed the Tories had an overwhelming majority in parliament and took the lion’s share of cabinet posts. In view of this it seems amazing that the left of the Labour Party should imagine the government would implement numerous progressive measures. How could anyone believe that prime minister Winston Churchill with a 30-year record as ruling-class bloodhound, was the modern saviour? He had been responsible for the repression of miners at Tonypandy before the First World War, organiser of intervention against Bolshevik Russia, and most vicious opponent of the 1926 General Strike.

No Tory politician had illusions that the Churchill government would introduce measures of a socialist nature, but Nye Bevan, Laski and Co were full of this idea; the logic of the war, the need for victory, would lead Churchill to see the light. Utopian irrationalism took the place of a rational explanation of class interests and motivation. George Orwell noted in his diary on 20 June 1940:

I don’t think he [Churchill] would jib at any step (e.g., equalisation of incomes, independence for India) which he thought necessary for winning the war.

Well, if only we could hold for a few months, in a year’s time we shall see red militia billeted in the Ritz, and it would not particularly surprise me to see Churchill or Lloyd George at the head of them. [19]

On 1 June 1940 Laski declared the democratic revolution had begun: ‘We cannot actually achieve socialism during the war, but we can institute a whole series of Government controls which after the war may be used for Socialist ends.’ [20]

John Strachey, his biographer tells us, regarded criticism of Churchill as ‘scarcely conceivable’ [21], and Bevan said: ‘I yield to no one in my personal admiration of the Prime Minister’s qualities.’ [22]

The most extreme case of adoration was the book Guilty Men by Cato, published in 1940. Cato was the pseudonym for several authors, including Frank Owen and Michael Foot. [3*] To bring into relief the strength of Churchill, the book exposes the pacifism of Ramsay MacDonald. MacDonald neglected the equipment of the armed forces. ‘He had been a pacifist in 1914–19 and therefore felt no anxieties about the strength of the Air Force.’ [23] MacDonald and Baldwin

found us at the end of a great war, wounded indeed and weary, but victorious, confident of solving our manifold problems and capable of doing so. MacDonald and Baldwin took over a great empire, supreme in arms and secure in liberty. They conducted it to the edge of national annihilation. [24]

But now salvation was at hand:

In Mr Churchill as premier, and in his three service supply chiefs, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, and Lord Beaverbrook (to name only four) we have an assurance that all that is within the range of human achievement will be done to make this island ‘a fortress’. [25]

In the Popular Front vice

If the leadership of the Labour Party during the war was the complete prisoner of social patriotism, the Labour Left was the prisoner of Popular Frontism. Its arguments for reforms, for social change, were always in terms of the national interest. In the pages of Tribune for example, Nye Bevan wrote: ‘If the Tory members of the Government carry their defence of private property rights to the extent of refusing the public ownership [of land, mines and railways] then we shall lose the war.’ [26] The class-nation synthesis, which is the essence of reformism, applied to the Left as much as to the right.

A central theme in Tribune from 1941 onwards was that the profit system impeded the war effort, that national needs called for the power of capital to be restricted. Again and again the call for nationalisation, of mines or railways, was put forward in the name not of working-class interests, but of the national interest. Thus Bevan’s argument for raising the old age pension was:

It is most important for maintaining national unity and morale at the present time.

We are very anxious to preserve the façade of national unity for a year or so because we are still going to face great military adventures. Why do Hon. Members not help us to preserve it? [27]

Even when Bevan was most critical of the coalition government he still did not see its policy as an inevitable outcome of the class which dominated it. For instance he wrote:

Labour has brought about no change of importance on the economic front ... Why is this? There is no reason why it should be so ... If Labour insisted upon it, if Labour demands, that the railways shall be nationalised as an essential step towards the successful prosecution of the war, no vested interest would dare raise any objection. [28]

The main crime of the ruling class, it seemed, was not exploitation but incompetence. Bevan criticised Churchill, not as a defender of ruling-class power, but for his failure to agree that ‘ There is one dominant consideration and that is to win the war. Property as well as men should be commandeered by the state.’ [29]

While the Tribune Group was still following the Popular Front policy it adopted before the war, there were some crucial differences.

In the 1930s the Socialist League and the Tribune Group shadowed the Communist Party. Those links were gone. Mixed with Laski’s references to Russia as a ‘socialist commonwealth’ [29a], and G.D.H. Cole’s suggestion that ‘the best solution for Germany might be in co-operation in an enlarged USSR’ [30], were other statements very critical of Russia. Thus Raymond Postgate, editor of Tribune, could write a few months before the Nazi invasion of Russia:

Just as I would have nothing to do with Himmler, Ley or the Commandant of Dachau Camp, nor believe a word they say, so I will have nothing personally or politically to do with Communist Party chiefs, nor sit on Committees, nor attend meetings where I might have to meet them, nor pay any attention to propaganda that they start. [31]

A few months before the end of the war an editorial in Tribune stated: ‘The Soviet Union wishes to carve up Eastern Germany in order to have her own Quisling Government in Poland. That, of course, is naked power politics.’ [32]

Although Tribune opposed the Communist Party’s extreme anti-German chauvinism it did not advocate a policy of ‘neither Washington nor Moscow’ but ‘both Washington and Moscow’: the bridge between the two powers could be strengthened by small nations and the United Nations.

Thus an editorial in Tribune welcomed the ‘Yalta conference of Britain, Russia and the USA’. This met on 11 February 1945. It was the last blaze of mutual harmony among the Allies. It was also one of the most coldly calculated imperialist meetings since the Versailles Conference in 1919. [33]

But despite its illusions, the Labour left became differentiated from the mainstream. When reality obviously failed to match the Popular Front icon, doubts surfaced. Failures on the military front in 1942 led Tribune to print the headline, ‘War Office: Architect of Defeat’. [34] The impact of the fall of Tobruk, when Rommel captured 33,000 prisoners, was so great that in a parliamentary by-election the solid Tory seat of Malden was lost to Tom Driberg, a left-wing socialist standing as an Independent.

Even arch-right-wingers like Lord Beaverbrook began intriguing to get rid of Churchill. [35] In July Sir John Wardlow Milne, an influential backbench Conservative and chairman of the All-Party Select Committee on National Expenditure, moved censure on the Government and ‘no confidence in the central direction of the war.’ The seconder was a Tory Admiral of the Fleet.

The second morning of the debate was opened by Bevan with a massive attack on the government, on the War Office, on the generals: the main strategy of the war was wrong. The wrong weapons had been produced, and those weapons were managed by men not properly trained in their use. [36] The cross-party opposition, however, mustered only 25 votes against 475 for the government.

A few weeks after this debate Bevan launched an even more vigorous attack on Churchill: ‘... the Prime Minister’s continuation in office is a major national disaster. He is no longer able to summon the spirit of the British people, because he represents policies that they deeply distrust.’ [37]

Bevan and the Tribune Group did question the effectiveness of Labour’s parliamentary strategy, yet they did so from within a shared premise about the centrality of parliamentary politics and the need for national unity and defence. The Popular Front policy in the 1930s strengthened the reformism of the Labour Left. Even after the Communist Party ceased to influence it, the politics of Stalinism, the muddledness and crudity of its ‘Marxism’ continued to mould left Labour thinking. This continued in different forms throughout the 1950s and beyond.

It was impossible for the Labour left to be consistent. Support of the ‘war for democracy’ did not square with Britain allying itself with semi-fascist and reactionary regimes. Labour was a member of the coalition government that allowed a most reactionary home as well as foreign policy. This implicated the party in the brutal suppression of the Indian people, and collaboration with the likes of Admiral Darlan and Marshal Badoglio. Such a policy made a mockery of progressive aims. The Labour left never resolved its conflict of loyalty between principles and being inside a party that is not in opposition but in government.

The extraordinary contrasts and shifts of the left during the war years stemmed from a desire to defeat fascism which sometimes led them to suggest ways of waging the war which would only have been possible for a revolutionary workers’ government. But their attempt to fit workers’ demands within the framework of the national capitalist state continually led them to fall back on talk of cross-class alliances, and therefore into a position where workers were subordinated to the needs of British imperialism.

Towards the summit of reformism

Under capitalism crisis can take many forms. The slump of the 1930s was one form. The Second World War was another. It is through capitalist crisis, when ‘normal’ society is dislocated and classes are forced to rethink their positions, that fundamental change can occur. The result is by no means automatic – change can mean descent into fascism, but it can mean many other things too.

The Second World War, like the first, created full employment. It also showed that unlike the parasitic capitalists, the working class are the real productive force in society. In the late 1930s workers had already begun to flex their collective muscles after the long sleep. Now the war, through its multitude of large and small transformations in daily life, gave them a new confidence and militancy.

One aspect was particularly galling. Although Labour participation in government was supposed to show that all classes were in the war effort on an equal footing, workers could not help noticing that, in Rosa Luxemburg’s phrase: ‘profits are springing, like weeds, from the fields of the dead.’ [38] There was profiteering and the black market. Fortunes were made. One author recounted

that he had been auditing the accounts of a builders’ merchant who had earned a thousand pounds a year from his business before the war, but in the last year had drawn over fifteen thousand pounds in director’s fees – this for a small firm employing half a dozen people. The same accountant spoke of two war factories where the auditors had insisted on paying out the wages themselves, and had found that hundreds of pounds were reaching the firms in respect of non-existent workers.

These tales were not the carefully selected ammunition of a lonely red revolutionary. The buses, and even the newspapers, were noisy with such anecdotes. [39]

The profiteering was of course a symptom. The wartime government policies meant an increase in the rate at which workers were being exploited, and while their so-called leaders were willing to turn a blind eye to this, workers were not. One aspect of their response was increasing organisation. Trade union membership, which had been in the region of four and a half million before the war, approached seven million by its end. Even more significant were the strikes, which all involved unofficial, rank and file action, independent of the union bureaucracy:


















Disputes [40]









of which mining


















The 3,714,000 strike days of 1944 were not only higher than the decade preceding the war, they were only surpassed again in 1955. Two-thirds of the strike days came from the coal industry, the highest figure since 1932, while the number of strikes, 2,194, was the highest since records began.

A historian of the period compared the strike levels in the Second World War with those of the first:

Taking the yearly average for the two periods 1939–1945 and 1914–1918 the number of stoppp. was 1,527 as compared to 814 – in both wars the greatest number occurring during the last year of hostilities. On the other hand, the number of workers directly or indirectly involved in stoppp. of work was smaller in the Second World War – 480,000 as compared with 632,000 in the earlier war. Secondly, the aggregate number of days lost was only 1,900,000 by contrast with 5,360,000 between 1914 and 1918, as most of the stoppp. were of relatively short duration. [41]

The Second World War, unlike the first, had not interrupted a period of titanic class conflict or been influenced by Bolshevism. It followed years of working-class passivity. It claimed to be conquering the evils of fascism. And from 1941 the Communist Party, now at the height of its influence, put its efforts into preventing strikes. Crucially, the Second World War produced nothing like the onslaught on working-class standards that had been experienced in the first.

Nevertheless there were important disputes, including engineering apprentices, shipyard workers and many others. One important struggle was against the conscription of young men into the mines – the ‘Bevin boys’. [4*] In another 30,000 Belfast workers struck against the imprisonment of five of their shop stewards.

But the most strike-prone industry was undoubtedly mining, the outstanding stoppage being at Betteshanger colliery in Kent. In January 1942 its 1,620 miners went on strike over a wage claim. Three branch officials were sentenced to imprisonment because of the strike, and others were fined but refused to pay. It was soon obvious that there was no way to imprison a thousand miners. The home secretary decided to recommend remission of the sentences on the three officials, so they were freed. By May 1942 only nine of the miners had paid their fines. The miners won their wage claim. Spectacular though it was, Betteshanger was just one miners’ strike among many even larger affairs:

in the whole year 1944 the number involved in mining disputes were no less than 568,000. The duration in working days of all disputes that year was 2,480,000, a figure that had only once been exceeded in the previous seventeen years. But a still more significant figure is the number of disputes, big and small. There were no less than 1,253 disputes in 1944, half as many again as in the preceding year, 1943, which year had the highest total of disputes since the beginning of the century. [43]

The impact of class struggle on the left

The role of the Labour left, which had only recently conflicted so seriously with the leadership, is interesting. One instance during 1944 was Nye Bevan’s trip to a miners’ strike in South Wales:

to urge the men first to accept the original award, whatever the anomalies, and later to call off their unofficial strike action. He went to the second round of meetings following a pressing private appeal from Ernest Bevin himself. Other MPs from the mining areas had done the same. [44]

Although the Labour left were not prepared to advance working class self-activity, they did try to halt government intervention against it. Thus Labour backbenchers stormily rebelled against Regulation 1AA. Spearheading the attack, Bevan accused Bevin of working up a campaign of calumny against the miners through the press, and trying to cover up the failure of the government’s industrial policy, especially in the mines, by starting a witch-hunt against agitators:

Cartoons in the public press and articles written by highly-paid propagandists in the millionaire newspapers made our task almost impossible when we went to address meetings in the coalfields. The miners came out on strike because of real grievances, he said.

He went on:

Do not let anybody on this side of the House think that [Ernest Bevin] is defending the trade unions; he is defending the trade union official, who has arterial sclerosis, and who cannot readjust himself to his membership. He is defending an official who has become so unpopular among his own membership that the only way he can keep them in order is to threaten them with five years in gaol. [45]

The strength of feeling among the Labour backbenchers was shown by the voting on Regulation 1AA. The government majority was convincing enough: 314 to 23 with about 70 abstentions. But only 56 out of 165 Labour MPs voted in support of Bevin, and that with a three-line whip. [46]

Bevan’s behaviour enraged the Labour leadership and Arthur Greenwood proposed his expulsion from the party. He described Bevan’s speech as ‘a speech of anti-trade union character the like of which I have never heard from the most diehard Tory in the House or outside the House.’ [47] However, at the first meeting of the PLP no decision was reached. The next meeting was the best attended for years. Attlee spoke for expulsion, but the leaders could not get their way. By 71 to 60 an amendment moved by Shinwell was carried which was against immediate action ‘in view of the probability of a general election in the next twelve months.’ [48]

However an ultimatum was given to Bevan demanding a loyalty pledge from him to avoid expulsion. Next day Bevan gave it. [49] But the Labour right wing and the TUC refused to be satisfied with the compromise achieved. Bevan was reported to the Miners’ Federation, which sponsored him as an MP, and the union’s executive added its censure to that already passed by the General Council, and adopted a resolution supporting the TUC and Labour Party in their stand on Regulation 1AA. [50]

However Bevan had considerable backing within individual unions. South Wales, Scotland and Cumberland Areas of the Miners’ Federation, the engineering workers (AEU), the train drivers (ASLEF), the shopworkers (NUDAW), the Chemical Workers’ Union, the Civil Service Clerical Union and the Tobacco Workers’ Union, all strongly opposed Regulation 1AA. [51]

In fact the Labour left now, as in the 1930s, had little contact with workers’ struggles. In Tribune one finds hardly an echo of the strikes that took place, with the exception of the miners (after all, Bevan was a miners’ MP). But even then the paper was not agitating for strikes, but only reporting them as a sad fact of life. Tribune protested against Regulation 1AA, but never agitated for the workers’ demands which spurred the government on to introduce this regulation. Tribune argued for joint production committees, for increasing effort by workers to raise productivity, for opposition to the use of the strike weapon; it never agitated for strike action to raise wages.

Yet once more it was the forward thrust of the working class itself that had opened the way to new reformist advance, just like in the First World War. It was in the summer of 1943, as struggle moved towards the point at which Bevin felt compelled to institute Regulation 1AA, that Nye Bevan called for a new political realignment – a coalition of the left. Thus on 18 June he called for the affiliation to the Labour Party of the Communist Party, Common Wealth (a left-wing party formed during the war), the ILP and a Radical Liberal Group formed of left-wing Liberals. [52] A few months later Tribune called for an ‘Alliance of the Left’ of Liberals, Labour, Common Wealth, ILP and Communists [53], and this was repeated in one issue after another.

There were other signs that the old politics were breaking up and a new current was being created under the impact of world events and the rise of working-class pressure. One was increasing tension in the parliamentary field.

In 1939 the Labour Party had accepted a by-election truce. By this agreement, the party that had previously won the seat would have the right, when it fell vacant, to nominate a candidate approved by the other two parties. The truce held until the autumn of 1941 when it became apparent that a sizeable proportion of the electorate were ready to support Independents against official Conservative candidates where no Labour or Liberal candidates were put forward.

ILP candidates in 1941 had polled a steady 20–30 per cent of the vote in various constituencies, presumably because Labour supporters saw this as a way of protesting. In 1942 four Independents were victorious, all against Conservative nominees. That July the Common Wealth Party was established, very much as a protest against the electoral truce. At its peak Common Wealth had 15,000 members, mainly from the liberal professions.

Between the spring of 1941 and the end of 1942, nineteen Labour seats fell vacant and two of them were contested. Twenty- eight Conservative seats fell vacant, nineteen were contested, and three lost. In other words, the by-election independent knew his trade – blame the Tories – and the voters responded. [54]

In April 1943 Common Wealth won its first seat in a rural constituency in Cheshire. Others followed at Skipton and West Derbyshire. Brighton was one of the safest Tory seats in the country, yet the Tory majority of 40,000 was reduced to less than 2,000 by an Independent challenge. A fortnight later, in West Derbyshire, a Conservative majority of 5,500 turned into an independent socialist majority of 4,500. In April 1945 a Common Wealth candidate swept the Conservative out of the hitherto safe seat of Chelmsford with a phenomenal turnover of 23,000 votes.

These defeats occurred notwithstanding the fact that Churchill, Attlee, Ernest Brown (for the National Liberals) and Sinclair (for the Liberals) sent a joint letter to all constituents saying:

The verdict recorded by a single constituency is flashed around the world as though it were the voice of Britain that had spoken ... it has the responsibility at this moment of indicating to the United Nations, and to neutral countries, that we are united among ourselves in our unflinching determination to organize our total resources for victory. [55]

Local Labour Parties were under orders to co-operate in the return of Conservatives or at least take no part against them. The rank and file found this infuriating. Even so, not one of the leaders of the Labour Party, not even Nye Bevan, suggested that Labour should withdraw from the government. However Bevan urged a clear declaration by the Labour Party that it would fight independently of the Tories at the first post-war election. Further, from 1942 onwards he called on the Labour Party to break the by-election truce agreed upon at the beginning of the war.

That year the party executive put a motion to conference committing the party not merely to abstain from putting up candidates in by-elections, but to give active support to government candidates in by-elections, whatever party they came from. Resistance was massive: the resolution passed by a narrow majority – 1,275,000 to 1,209,000 votes. The miners, engineers and railwaymen voted against it.

At the next Labour Party Conference, Attlee won the extension of the electoral truce on the grounds that to break it would mean an end of the coalition and the death of any chance of Labour’s influencing post-war planning. The majority was convincing: 2,243,000 to 374,000.

Part of the left’s weakness arose from its extremely equivocal attitude to the government. It veered wildly from supporting the coalition to wanting to end it. A few examples will illustrate. On 11 December 1942 Bevan wrote a Tribune article which said that the presence of Labour ministers

in the government is no protection against the most reactionary Tory policies being adopted. Nor can it now be said that the Labour members of the Government are doing anything which could not be done at least equally well by a Tory Minister ... Has not the time come for Labour to regain its freedom and set itself at the head of the British people in their march to the new world? [56]

In October 1944 he argued the opposite: ‘it would be foolish to break up the National Government now. I think our representatives are entitled to say that, having gone so far, they must complete the journey and remain in the Government until Germany is defeated.’ [57] Just two months later this line was reversed once more, as Bevan called for the dissolution of the coalition government. [58]

Tribune was equally hard to track. In March 1943 it favoured preservation of the Coalition: The dilemma for labour is a painful one, for it involves the question of whether Labour should leave the National Government. This ... would be a mistake ... If great British and American armies are sent into battle, they must do so as far as possible with united nations behind.’ [59] Some months later the opposite was argued: ‘The Coalition is dead. Let us bury it quickly.’ [60] Within a year the paper reverted to its original stance: ‘Having persisted so far, it is reasonable for the parties forming the Government to hold together until the task which brought them into coalition is performed; the defeat of Nazi Germany.’ [61]

The Labour left could not make up its own mind, because it could not decide its true allegiance – to the class collaborationist policies of Attlee and Co, or to the workers. So it always fell between two stools. It opposed the electoral truce but supported the coalition. It called on the Labour Party to end the truce, but did not take part in the electoral activities that would force it to do this.

A growing workers’ movement and the ripples of discontent it generated within the Labour Party were only a part of the profound changes that were taking place. The ruling class was also re-shaping its ideas. For a party which seeks to mediate between the upper and nether millstones of capitalist society, this had far-reaching consequences.

‘We are all Keynesians now’

When the Second World War began it ended the more or less uninterrupted economic decline that stretched back to 1920. Wartime expedients seemed to solve problems that had baffled the conventional economic wisdom, itself little changed since Gladstone’s day.

The most obvious difference was the level of state involvement in the general management of the economy. This got a massive fillip as a result of the war. By 1941 about 49 per cent of the total occupied population was engaged in some type of employment for the government. [62] With full employment for the first time for two decades, the idea that this could be maintained by state demand management became very widespread. For leading politicians of all parties the doctrine put forward by J.M. Keynes had been fully vindicated. According to Keynes, the prime responsibility of government was to use fiscal and monetary policy to ensure that there was enough effective demand in the economy to maintain full employment, but not so much as to cause ‘demand-pull’ inflation.

Before the war there were already a number of politicians who accepted Keynes’s doctrine. Among the Labour people by far the most prominent early convert was Ernest Bevin. From the mid-1930s a number of Labour Party intellectuals were Keynesian converts: Douglas Jay, Evan Durbin, Anthony Crosland, and Hugh Gaitskell. These were on the right wing of the party. However some left-wingers moved towards Keynes, the most prominent being Strachey.

In 1932–5 Strachey wrote three books, The Coming Struggle for Power, The Menace of Fascism and The Nature of the Capitalist Crisis, in which he claimed to be an orthodox Marxist (even though he was in fact much influenced by Stalinism). But in 1938 he wrote to the barrister and hard-line Stalinist Palme Dutt: ‘If, for good or evil, we have adopted People’s Front politics, we must have a People’s Front economics also.’ [63] On the eve of the war the need for class collaboration strengthened further Strachey’s search for a solution of the crisis of capitalism without overthrowing it. He wrote on 2 October 1938:

the British people must be made to feel that those who ask them to, at least, risk fighting and dying for their country are determined to preserve their country and to improve those features which make it worth living in, and therefore dying for, e.g. its democracy, in the widest sense of that term ... [and] a determination just as great as that shown by the fascists to deal with unemployment doubt on Keynesist lines. In two words, a ‘progressive patriotism’ must be the positive note struck. [64]

In 1940 Strachey published a new book, A Programme for Progress. This argued that while in the long run socialism was the only remedy for the breakdown of capitalism, in the short run what was needed was an interim programme for reforming capitalism similar to that of Roosevelt’s New Deal. His programme included six main points: the extension of public enterprise, low interest rates on loan capital, increased social services, including monetary allowances to individuals, and a redistributory taxation. There would also be a state controlled banking system and strict public control over the balance of payments. [65]

This programme was so minimalist that Crosland could say: ‘It was incomparably more modest than the programme the Labour Party adopted in 1937.’ [66]

There were a number of converts to Keynesianism among the Tories. Harold Macmillan, a Conservative MP, published Reconstruction: A Plea for a National Policy, and The Middle Way in 1938. Thirty-six Tory MPs in 1943 formally constituted themselves into the Tory Reform Committee under the chairmanship of Lord Hinchingbrooke, who wrote:

True Conservative opinion is horrified at the damage done to this country since the last war by ‘individualist’ business-men, financiers, and speculators ranging freely in a laissez-faire economy and creeping unnoticed into the fold of Conservatism to insult the Party with their vote at elections ... I would wish nothing better than that these men should collect their baggage and depart. [67]

It was one of the members of the Reform Committee, Quintin Hogg, who told the House of Commons: ‘If you do not give the people social reforms they are going to give you social revolution.’ Harold Macmillan, R.A. Butler and Anthony Eden, being in the government, could not belong to the Tory Reform Committee, but had sympathy with it.

Capitalism must be preserved, said the Reform Committee, but the state could play a positive role in promoting its efficiency, and this might include nationalisation measures. Thus the committee argued for the nationalisation of electricity, gas and water, while excluding coal mining. Similar ideas regarding the mixed economy were put forward by Labour politicians from as diverse backgrounds as Morrison and Cripps.

Labour’s shift from verbal opposition to capitalism to consciously trying to run it in its best interests involved a dramatic break with its past. As late as 1937 Attlee’s book, The Labour Party in Perspective, had argued that socialism equalled nationalisation and this would lead to the abolition of classes. Such ideas were sprinkled throughout the book:

The evils that Capitalism brings differ in intensity in different countries, but, the root cause of the trouble once discerned, the remedy is seen to be the same by thoughtful men and women. The cause is the private ownership of the means of life; the remedy is public ownership. [68]

The aim of socialism is the nationalisation of all industries. All the major industries will be owned and controlled by the community ... [69]

The abolition of classes is fundamental to the Socialist conception of society. [70]

Whatever reservations might be held about Labour’s ability to carry these through, such positions summed up the long-held beliefs that first inspired the socialists of the ILP, and once enshrined in Clause Four were held to be the property of the entire Labour Party.

Now, during the war, the Labour leaders started rewriting the political dictionary. The aim of Labour became the ‘Mixed Economy’. In the words of Herbert Morrison:

a practical mixture of genuine socialism and genuinely free enterprise, the whole resting upon and in turn supporting national policies of social and industrial welfare ... Public ownership where it is appropriate, stimulating public control elsewhere. [71]

Nationalisation had once been held to be the cornerstone of a socialist society and to be the policy that separated Labour fundamentally from capitalism. Now Cripps argued that control of industry did not require its nationalisation. On 12 October 1944 he wrote to Richard Acland: ‘Oh, no, my dear Richard. We have learnt in the war that we can control industry.’ [72] Attlee himself pointed to the increasing consensus between Labour and Tory leaders about State intervention in industry: ‘It colours all our discussions on home economic policy.’ [73]

One expression of the way Keynesian ideas had come to dominate political thinking was the government White Paper on Employment Policy, of May 1944. This marked the Treasury’s conversion to the use of fiscal means to avoid cyclical unemployment. When Bevin introduced the White Paper to the Commons he explained that the passive acceptance of deflation and unemployment would be replaced by active, conscious direction of the economy for the first time. Government would confront ‘any depression at an early stage by expanding and not contracting capital expenditure, and by raising consumption expenditure and not reducing it.’ [74]

Keynes seemed to promise a prosperous capitalism in which state intervention was to play a stabilising role. Nationalisation was irrelevant to this. As he put it:

It is not the ownership of the instruments of production which it is important for the State to assume. If the State is able to determine the aggregate amount of resources directed to augmenting the instruments and the basic rate of reward to those who own them, it will have accomplished all that is necessary. [75]

Thus Keynes’ ideas were attractive to right-wing Labour leaders, who were attached to gradualism, hence to the mixed economy.

Of course not all Labour leaders accepted Keynes’ panacea. Bevan argued in the House of Commons that such ideas were incompatible with socialism. He did not believe Labour should accept the White Paper, for if it did so, he argued, there would not

... be any argument for Socialism and no reason for it ... The subjects dealt with by the White Paper represent all the matters which distinguish that side of the House from this. The question of how the work of society is to be organised, how the income of society is to be distributed, to what extent the State is to intervene in the direction of economic affairs – all these are questions which first called this party into existence ... Indeed, I will go so far as to say that, if the implications of the White Paper are sound, there is no longer any justification for this party existing at all. [76]

The debate between the moderate Labour leaders’ policy of administering the capitalist economy and Bevan’s critique of them was to dominate Labour thinking for a generation.

One should not suppose that since both centrist Tory and Labour leaders accepted Keynes, this consensus meant the identity of the two camps. Both accepted the objectives of full employment, reasonably rapid growth, stable prices and a satisfactory balance of payments. But Tory leaders put a different emphasis on the various objectives. Keynesians accepted that there was a trade-off between unemployment and inflation: the lower the level of unemployment the more intense the pressure of demand for labour, the faster will be the rate of inflation. For the Tory Party, as an open capitalist party depending very much on middle-class voters, people who have some savings, the emphasis would be on preventing inflation. For the Labour Party, whose voters are overwhelmingly workers without any financial cushion against unemployment, the emphasis was far more on jobs.

Labour Keynesians also emphasised greater economic equality. They believed that raising wages and improving welfare would themselves tend to increase demand, thus stimulating production and reducing unemployment.

Keynsianism was the most important new economic orthodoxy. But there were other new trends at work in the area of industrial relations and social reform.

One important development during the Second World War was the close cooperation between government and trade unions. This was a continuation of the ‘Mondism’ of the late 1920s. The 1928 Mond-Turner talks had been abortive, since the conditions of the slump of 1929 made it superfluous for management to take union leaders into their confidence, but in the partial recovery after 1932 such cooperation did produce some results. Trade unions, especially the two general unions – the Transport and General (TGWU) and the General and Municipal (GMWU) – established cosy relationships with a number of major employers and became involved in a growing number of state-sponsored bodies. This cooperation was symbolised by the granting of knighthoods to three prominent figures – Walter Citrine, TUC Secretary, Arthur Pugh of the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, and the Labour Chief Whip Charles Edwards – in the Silver Jubilee Honours List of 1935.

During the war, with Ernest Bevin, a former general secretary of the TGWU, running the ministry of labour, and with the government in urgent need of trade union cooperation to preserve industrial peace at a critical period, the trade union leaders were incorporated into state activity: ‘... trade union leaders became members of the large number of wartime committees which took over functions previously fulfilled by private industry and tackled new ones arising out of war needs.’ [77] As TUC general secretary, Sir Walter Citrine found himself serving on some 30 public or semi-public bodies. [78] At the end of the war he could tell Congress: ‘We have passed from the era of propaganda to one of responsibility.’ [79]

The Beveridge Report

In December 1942 the Beveridge Report was published. This proposed a comprehensive scheme for social insurance against illness, poverty and unemployment, plus proposals for a national health service, family allowances and the maintenance of full employment.

The report’s assumptions about social reform fully accorded with the new Keynesian economics. Beveridge took for granted that the government would secure a high level of employment after the war, that it would introduce family allowances, and that it would devise a comprehensive health service for all. The Plan for Social Security which Beveridge drew up in the main body of the report was a rationalisation of existing financial arrangements, so that in return for a single weekly contribution, wage earners, the self-employed, and their families would receive old age pensions and sickness benefit. Former wage earners would receive unemployment pay.

Yet the scheme was not as radical as Beveridge claimed. [5*] For example it considered the principle of a national minimum for old age pensioners to be so expensive that it could not be fully implemented for twenty years. Nevertheless, no official report has ever aroused greater popular interest and enthusiasm.

The public welcome given to the report was well-nigh universal. The national press, with the exception of the Daily Telegraph, behaved as though it fell only slightly short of the millennium. A total of 635,000 copies were sold. A survey of opinion ... showed that 86 per cent believed that the report should be adopted, as against 6 per cent who though it should be dropped. [81]

This is not to say the report was received uncritically.

Nearly three out of five people thought the proposed pension rates too low. But the overall popularity of the report was established beyond a doubt, and the idea of free doctors and hospital services for all was approved by 88 per cent, including 81 per cent of the wealthier. [82]

Beveridge, however, had put the Tories’ backs up. ‘Churchill is reported to have taken strong exception to the Report, to have refused to see its author and forbidden any government department to allow him inside its doors.’ [83] The government did all in its power to stifle publicity for the report and make plain that its contents were disapproved of. [84]

The National Council of Labour, representing both the Labour Party and TUC, endorsed the Beveridge Report, as did the Liberal Party (Beveridge was, after all, a Liberal himself). Soon the British Council of Churches followed suit. A good many Conservatives also welcomed it enthusiastically.

A three-day debate on the Beveridge Report took place in the House of Commons on 16–18 February 1943. Hardline Tories were for full implementation at some date no closer than Doomsday. Labour, tied by its coalition commitments, took an official position of no more than lukewarm approval and for very gradual implementation.

But a Labour MP, James Griffiths, put down an amendment calling for prompt legislation: the House ‘expresses its dissatisfaction with the now declared policy of His Majesty’s Government towards the Report of Sir William Beveridge on Social Insurance and Allied Services and urges the reconsideration of that policy with a view to the early implementation of the plan.’ Attlee, Morrison and Bevin tried to counter the revolt at a private meeting of the PLP. A three-line whip was hurriedly organised by both Tories and Labour.

But the Labour backbenchers rebelled. Notwithstanding a very conciliatory and clever speech by Morrison for the coalition, the whole PLP turned on the government. In the division on 18 February, 121 votes were cast against the government: ninety-seven Labour, three ILP, one Communist, eleven Independents and nine Liberals. About thirty Labour MPs abstained. Of the twenty-three Labour members who voted for the government, twenty-two were ministers.

Towards the first majority Labour government

The Second World War ended in different circumstances to the First. Above all in 1945 the world entered the longest boom in capitalist history. Naturally its benefits were unequally shared, but it did help defuse the inevitable demands that workers were to make after the heavy sacrifices of the war years.

On the economic front the First World War had ended with a ‘bonfire of controls’ as bosses sought to return to the palmy days of Queen Victoria and laissez-faire success. Their efforts had ended in slump. In 1945 capitalists knew that there could be no going back to the 1930s.

In the general election of July 1945 Attlee’s party raised its share of the vote by one-third to twelve million votes. With 393 Labour MPs, it now had a crushing majority over the 210 Conservatives and twelve Liberals in parliament. The election was just one symptom of a massive change in workers’ attitudes that had been brought by the experience of war. The ideas of people like Nye Bevan now fitted the mood of the millions who had seen full employment in wartime, and the potential to use full employment in peacetime to banish poverty, misery and victimisation. Even the armed forces, still swollen to massive proportions, began to mutiny in Egypt, India and Malaya, demanding to be released from service. The rank and file soldiers could not have been used to halt major social change.

In these circumstances MacDonald’s old excuse of being ‘in office but not in power’ was of no avail, and Labour faced a tremendous opportunity to achieve that constitutional transition to socialism that it had talked about so ardently. But the Labour Party too had changed during the war. Its synthesis of class and nation remained, but it had a new twist: ‘what was good for the workers – fair wages, better housing, better pensions – was good for the nation.’ The criticism of capitalism, and the acceptance of capitalism, were combined in a new form.


1*. This has been the criminal policy imposed by Stalin on the German Communist Party, it had cleared a path for Hitler’s rise to power in 1933.

2*. It was against Bevin’s defence of the paltry pensions increase of 1942 (2s 6d per week, or 12½p in today’s currency) that 63 MPs voted against the government, the biggest vote against since Churchill became prime minister. [8]

3*. Incidentally, Michael Foot, as well as Aneurin Bevan, were very much at home in the Beaverbrook circle in the 1930s. Foot even became editor of Beaverbrook’s Evening Standard.

4*. The conscription of young men into the mines was one of the most unpopular measures the government took during the war. Up to October 1944, out of 16,000 called to the mines, 500 had been prosecuted for refusal to obey the National Service Officers’ Order, or for leaving their employment. Of this total, 143 were sentenced to prison. [42]

5*. Beveridge was a true Liberal. His contempt for working-class people can be gleaned from this letter sent to Tawney:

‘The well-to-do represent on the whole a higher level of character and ability than the working classes, because in the course of time the better stocks have come to the top. A good stock is not permanently kept down; it forces its way up in the course of generations of social change, and so the upper classes are on the whole the better classes.’ [80]


1. Hansard, 22 May 1940.

2. Legal Proceedings against Strikers under Order 1305, LAB 10/998.

3. Bullock, Vol. 2, pp. 300–1.

4. Bullock, Vol. 2, pp. 301–2.

5. TUC 1944, p. 216.

6. TUC 1941, p. 335.

7. TUC 1941, p. 336.

8. Hansard, 29 July 1942.

9. Hansard, 9 September 1941.

10. A. Calder, The People’s War (London 1971), p. 336.

11. Hansard, 8 October 1942.

12. The Times, 21 November 1942.

13. Calder, p. 354.

14. Foot, Bevan, Vol. 1, p. 404.

15. Hansard, 3 August 1943.

16. W. Churchill, The Second World War, Vol. 6 (London 1954), p. 198.

17. Hansard, 8 December 1944.

18. Bullock, Vol. 2, p. 343, and Labour Conference 1944, p. 150.

19. S. Orwell and I. Angus (eds.), The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, Vol. 2 (London 1968), pp. 351–2.

20. New Statesman, 1 June 1940.

21. H. Thomas, John Strachey (London 1973), p. 207.

22. Hansard, 8 October 1940.

23. Cato, Guilty Men (London 1940), p. 18.

24. Cato, p. 19.

25. Cato, p. 124.

26. Tribune, 11 October 1940.

27. Hansard, 20 May 1943 (emphasis added).

28. Tribune, 3 January 1941.

29. Tribune, 1 August 1941. [Note by MIA: In the printed version there are two anchors for note 29.]

29a. Tribune, 1 August 1941.

30. G.D.H. Cole, Europe, Russia and the Future (London 1941), p. 153.

31. Tribune, 14 March 1941.

32. Tribune, 2 February 1945.

33. Tribune, 16 February 1945.

34. Tribune, 6 February 1942.

35. Calder, p. 345.

36. Hansard, 2 July 1942.

37. Hansard, 9 September 1942.

38. R. Luxemburg, The Junius Pamphlet, in Rosa Luxemburg Speaks (New York 1970), p. 262.

39. Calder, p. 293.

40. H.M.D. Parker, Manpower: A Study of Wartime Policy and Administration (London 1957), p. 504.

41. Parker, p. 457.

42. Bullock, Vol. 2, p. 260.

43. R. Page Arnot, The Miners in Crisis and War (London 1961), p. 396.

44. Foot, Bevan, Vol. 1, pp. 446–7.

45. Hansard, 28 April 1944.

46. Hansard, 28 April 1944.

47. The Times, 3 May 1944.

48. Foot, Bevan, Vol. 1, p. 459.

49. The Times, 17 and 18 May 1944.

50. The Times, 9 June 1944.

51. Tribune, 5 May 1944.

52. The Times, 18 June 1943.

53. Tribune, 3 March 1944.

54. P. Addison, The Road to 1945 (London 1975), pp. 154–5.

55. Addison, p. 226.

56. Tribune, 11 December 1942.

57. Hansard, 6 October 1944.

58. Hansard, 20 December 1944.

59. Tribune, 5 March 1943.

60. Tribune, 22 October 1943.

61. Tribune, 22 September 1944.

62. W.K. Hancock and M.M. Gowing, The British War Economy (London 1949), p. 297.

63. Quoted in H. Thomas, John Strachey, p. 175.

64. Thomas, p. 178.

65. J. Strachey, A Programme for Progress (London 1940), pp. 151–2.

66. A. Crosland, The Future of Socialism (London 1956), p. 58.

67. Addison, pp. 232–3.

68. C.R. Attlee, The Labour Party in Perspective (London 1937), p. 15.

69. Attlee, p. 153.

70. Attlee, p. 145.

71. Calder, p. 616.

72. Addison, p. 262.

73. K. Martin, Harold Laski (London 1969), p. 152.

74. Hansard, 21 June 1944.

75. J.M. Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (New York 1964), p. 378.

76. Hansard, 23 June 1944.

77. V.L. Allen, Trade Unions and the Government (London 1960), p. 33.

78. W. Citrine, Two Careers (London 1967), p. 28.

79. TUC Congress Report 1946, p. 269.

80. Quoted in Addison, p. 212.

81. Addison, p. 217.

82. Addison, p. 218.

83. Bullock, Vol. 2, p. 226.

84. See Calder, p. 613.

Last updated on 25 March 2017