Monday, 1 October 2012

The Party of the Dead

The Labour conference rewarded the shadow chancellor with a standing ovation after he pledged to rekindle the spirit of the "even greater summer" of 1945 to "rebuild Britain anew" (gushes the Guardian).

Considering Ed Balls thought it amusing to dress as a Nazi once we might have expected him not to mention the War.  And is there anyone left alive who experienced the Attlee government?   What is it about the dead past that makes socialists and sub-keynesians hark on and on about Weimar and 1940s England?

By all accounts those were utterly horrible times and both, in their different ways, a dreadful threat to civil society.  But it's all so long ago.  We might as well consider the Bolsheviks and their post-putsch policies' relevance to 21st century economics as view current economic circumstance through a 1930s and 40s prism.  They're all dead - at least Keynes got the long run right.  Labour politics is like watching a costume drama (perhaps that's why the BBC is so keen on it.)


Caronte said...

See Steve Bell drawing Ed Miliband

Edward Spalton said...

I can remember the Attlee government (just). I was (aged 2 to 7 ) but, being brought up in an era where children were supposed to be seen and not heard, can recall quite a few things which my father, his brothers and friends said about it. They used to meet in the cellar of a licensed grocer (also a relative) to sample the new delivery of Bass Red Triangle before placing their orders for the next crate or two. I was given a glass of ginger beer or something called Spartona which was Iron Brew without the sweetness of today (sugar rationing I suppose)

I can remember the outrage at having rations cut to lower levels than wartime - to feed the Germans, they said - and an appallingly unattractive fish called Snoek which the authorities said was very nutritious. There was much hankering after "Pre War" which I initially thought was a different country.

But the thing which got my father crossest of all was Stafford Cripps (allegedly) saying that he would "turn pounds, shillings and pence into meaningless symbols." Almost achieved now, I think!