Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Tony Blair on the "Spirit of '45"

Labour in 1945 combined idealism and practicality in equal measure to lead a national crusade for a Britain based on social justice, equality of opportunity and social solidarity.  Out of the ruins of war, the 1945 Labour government set out to fulfil the age-old promise of a "land fit for heroes".  To a remarkable extent, it succeeded.
      The Second World War was a people's war, fought in the name of democracy and humanity against fascism.  Labour promised a people's peace.  It delivered a national insurance system to provide security against unemployment and old age.  It established a national, integrated rail system.  It was instrumental in the establishment of international institutions - like the UN, born in London in 1948.  And it set up the pride and joy of British socialism - the National Health Service.   What is more, at the end of its period in office, the Labour government secured the largest vote ever achieved by the Party.
       [1945 was] a remarkable political era ... it summons up the spirit of hope, expectation and - in the cases of defeated Tory candidates - bemusement that marked the 1945 General Election.  The lesson of 1945 should be clear: democratic socialism can be both practical and popular.
Tony Blair, 'Foreword', to Austin Mitchell, Election '45: Reflections on the Revolution in Britain (London, 1995), p. 7. 

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