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Raymond Challinor

Fair Shares

(Autumn 1963)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.14, Autumn 1963, p.36.
Thanks to Ted Crawford & the late Will Fancy.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Development of the British Economy 1914-1950
Sidney Pollard
Edward Arnold. 30s.

Let me recommend this book to all serious students of politics. It is notoriously difficult to write contemporary history, to analyse the main issues clearly before the dust of controversy has finally settled and to achieve a proper prospective of events that have only recently occurred. Yet, on the whole, Dr Pollard succeeds. It is possible to cavil with him on this or that interpretation, but it does not alter the fact that he has written an eminenly readable book, packed with useful information, a compendium of knowledge with helpful footnotes to assist the student who wants to delve more deeply into a topic.

Dr Pollard’s views on the post-war Labour Government might be of interest to readers. He points out that the Attlee administration inherited most of its controls from the wartime government, and therefore cannot claim that its economic policy contained much originality. Moreover, nationalisation, while it aroused considerable political controversy, had little economic effect. Far from being a step towards a socialist society, it did not dominate or transform the economy, but was ‘well within a long tradition of the growth of Government responsibility’. Nationalisation only enabled society, including private industry, to operate more efficiently.

On page 397, Dr Pollard produces a table on how personal incomes changed under the Labour Government. The percentage of the gross national product going to employees and members of HM Forces rose from 57.2 per cent in 1946 to 57.3 per cent in 1950. On the other hand, incomes from property, including undistributed profits, rose from 24.0 per cent in 1946 to 26.0 per cent in 1950. So much for the slogan, ‘Fair Shares For All’. Trade unionists would do well to remember this before they accept the wage freeze carrot – it is coated with strychnine!

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Last updated: 25 March 2010