Let Us Face the Future: The Labour Party 1945 Manifesto
At the very end of World War 2, the British people is craving for a change in the economic and social policies of their country. In fact, the Great Depression and pre-war Conservative governments were very disappointing : Chamberlain's (from 1937 to 1940) and Churchill's (from 1940 to 1945) governments were practically only based on foreign policy (because of the war and the progressive degradation of the British Empire), and were considered responsible for not enough preparing Britain to war ; moreover, the Great Depression's various governments (Labour as well as Tories) were blamed because they did not assure the people's, and particularly the working-class' financial safety during the late 20's – early 30's. In 1945, Britain really needs a drastic change in its national policy while a time of post-war reconstruction has come.
The Labour Party of 1945, and its leader Clement Attlee, claims that it embodies this change : its manifesto of 1945, from which this text is an extract, demands great social, economic and industrial reforms, hoping to erase the past defeat of the Party during the Depression. Between the promises for a National health care plan and economic reforms that benefits the lower-middle and working-class, lies a programme of Public ownership, or nationalization of every industry (that is to say that these industries will be run by the State), which reinforces the Labour's self-declaration as a Socialist government. This designation is even more appealing to the British people, that sees in this new socialist Labour party an even greater sign of future changes to come for their country.
But this extract, which can firstly be seen as a normal Manifesto for a new socialist government, suggests as a watermark a vivid criticism of the pre-war Conservative government, and more generally of Capitalism and privatization of the industries ; moreover, if one goes deeper into the text, it can also be considered as a sort of propaganda for this new socialist party. One can also add to these points a reflection on how this Manifesto can be appealing to the British people at the time. Therefore, the first part of this study will wonder how this new party can be considered socialist, including some details about the history of the party as well as the very basis of its programme for 1945 ; the second part will deal with the criticism of the Conservative party's values, that is to say capitalism and privatization, and how at this time it is appealing for the British people. Finally, a last part will be devoted to the propaganda-like aspect of this programme, and which (mostly stylistic) devices the Labour uses to get people to like it.
One of the first goal of this text is the definition of The Labour party by itself and in particular the definition of what would be their programme. “ the Labour Party is a Socialist Party, and proud of it”(line 17), this sentence reveals the way they see themselves and the fact they're proud of it is interesting because before the war they were reluctant to call themselves socialist since it would have frightened most of the voters. The programme they present in the text is obviously socialist since it presents an industrial programme that is, according to them, towards the interests of the nation. Indeed, Public ownership or nationalisation is the basis of their programme and is associated with efficiency. They want to get rid of the private monopolies that have been prejudicing the British economy by keeping prices high. Public ownership would bring the unification that the British industry needs in order to achieve the modernization of many industries and to help rebuilding the country after the war. They also insist on the fact that it would be in favour of the workers, since it would increase safety at work. Because even if public ownership is the basis of their programme they claim to...
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