Well, Yes Polly, this is true but…..

To read it again is to breathe in the spirit of optimism and dispel today\’s fatalism that says very little can ever change, whoever is in power. National debt then was more than 200% of GDP, dwarfing today\’s 73%, yet all this was done in a ravaged nation.

And they ran budget surpluses as they built that post WWII Britain, didn\’t they?

10 comments on “Well, Yes Polly, this is true but…..

  1. A fellow traveller of Ritchie and Polly made the classic comment to me:

    ‘But we had Full employment in the 1950s’ which is in a simlar vein. When I pointed out the state (at least at the beginning of the 1950s) of three countries which are competitors in many fields with the contemporary UK:

    1/South Korea (at war 1950 to 1953 and rebuilding a shattered country for much of the next decade – as emigres point out, even in the 1960s, the average incomes of the two Koreas were not far apart)

    2/ Japan (Recovering from most of Honshu being devastated during WW II) – Given US aid to do so for fear the Soviets would take over but still barred from many markets

    3/ (Then West) Germany – Similar to Japan in that still rebuilding from World War 2, and under military occupation for the initial part of the decade

    When this was pointed out, it was blithely dismissed as irrelevant – A selective reading of history is pretty much a prerequisite for being on the Left. Incidentally, I think most of the 1945 – 51 Cabinet would turn in their grave if the saw the current Labour party front bench – The upcoming, Ritchie advised government of 2015 is already being described as ‘The ministry of None of the talents’

  2. Van P, I take your point, but the three countries you mention must have been rubbish customers (and France as well?). I’m not sure how the two factors net off against each other.

  3. @Van Patten,

    So handing over half my paycheck to the reserve army of the unemployed to take leisure I don’t have is essentially a peace dividend.

  4. Van_Patten

    Yes, full employment in the 1950s but only if you were a bloke. (Haven’t lefties noticed that the adult employment participation rate is at near all time highs today.)

    And free university back in the 1950s but only for the 2% who went to university.

    And then there was the rationing in the 1950s.

    Do lefties never look at US TV shows from the 1950s and compare and contrast a US household with a similar UK one of the same period. It is black & white compared to technicolor.

    That’s what happens when you have effectively bankrupted your country.

  5. JamesV (#3)

    My point (and it’s well made by Shinsei1967 #5) is that Toynbee’s harking back to the 1945-51 government as some kind of template is as selective a reading of history as you’ll see – In terms of the current situation being a ‘peace dividend’ – in terms of the current state of readiness of our Armed forces , I’d have to suggest that The only savings on expenditure I have seen suggested by Murphy and suchlike are in the defence area of spending. Everything else is sacrosanct. The Courageous State also mentions very little about international politics or diplomacy – I think those questions are too big for the likes of Toynbee and Murphy to trouble themselves with!

  6. No one (myself included) has commented on Tim’s point that the Atlee govt ran surpluses. I am tempted to troll by saying that you need a labour or democrat (eg Clinton) govt to run a surplus or balanced budget, but I’m not sure if that’s true. But does anyone have a comment on a labour govt who started the welfare state running a surplus? Did they raise taxes, were they lucky, what?

  7. Shinsei1967 – “Yes, full employment in the 1950s but only if you were a bloke. (Haven

  8. Shinsei1967 – “Yes, full employment in the 1950s but only if you were a bloke. (Haven-t lefties noticed that the adult employment participation rate is at near all time highs today.)”

    And this was bad because … ? Women aren’t choosing to work. If you ask them they often express a preference to spend more time at home with their children. They are being all but forced into the work force by high taxes and high housing prices. A sane government would work hard to allow as many women to stay home and raise their children as possible.

    “And free university back in the 1950s but only for the 2% who went to university.”

    Which is a little low, but not far off how many people should go to University. Forcing most apprenticeships to become “university” degrees has not improved things one little bit. If anything it has hurt working class boys who find classrooms, especially classrooms dominated by women and moronic theory, a chore.

    “And then there was the rationing in the 1950s.”

    All to the pleasure of Leftists. Caused by Leftists. It seems a bit odd to blame this on anyone but Leftists.

    “Do lefties never look at US TV shows from the 1950s and compare and contrast a US household with a similar UK one of the same period. It is black & white compared to technicolor.”

    White Northern America was certainly richer than Britain. But do they look at Black share croppers?

    “That’s what happens when you have effectively bankrupted your country.”

    Except Britain was poorer than America even before the war.

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