Chris Harman


The Restoration

(Spring 1966)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.24, Spring 1966, p.35.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Age of Austerity 1945-51
M. Sissons & P. French
Penguin, 5s

Despite my expectations, this is a useful and interesting collection of essays. The texture of a period in which Labour ruled and the Left did not become disillusioned, although many workers did, is presented dearly and in an easily accessible manner. The writing is journalistic but this does not prevent at least a glimpse at the deeper issues of the period: the re-integration of war-time radicalism into the well-greased channels of the system; the willingness of the ruling class to have nationalisation of dying industries imposed upon it for its own well-being; the recognition by British imperialism that it needed to be submissive to its American co-exploiter. If most of the writers do not belong on the Left they are detached and cynical enough to see the Labour Government for what it was:

‘Far from introducing a social “revolution” the overwhelming Labour victory of 1945 brought about the greatest restoration of traditional social values since 1660.’

Last updated on 15 November 2009