The labour aristocracy and imperialism - Part III / FRFI 163 Oct / Nov 2001

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FRFI 163 October / November 2001

From the Second World War to the end of the post-war boom

This is the third part of an extended version of the talk given by DAVID YAFFE on the Labour aristocracy and imperialism to the Free University of Turkey in Zurich in May 2001.


The Second World War
By the Second World War opportunism had triumphed. The Labour Party and the trade unions had overcome the serious challenge to their domination of the working class movement during the crisis-ridden years of the 1920s and 1930s. The threat of the Communist Party and other small revolutionary forces had dissipated.1 Yet the danger to British capitalism was not yet over. The austerity and privations of the war and immediate post-war years had to be carefully negotiated to ensure that the labour organisations of the working class would be no threat to capitalism for a very long time. The role of the Labour Party and trade unions was to be decisive in this process.

After Chamberlain’s government fell in May 1940, Labour was invited to join a coalition government under Churchill. Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood, the leader and deputy leader of the Labour opposition, joined the war cabinet. Several other Ministers were from the Labour Party. The right-wing Transport Union leader, Ernest Bevin, never a Member of Parliament, became Minister of Labour. With great enthusiasm he took on the role of regimenting and controlling the working class in pursuit of British imperialism’s war aims. Within weeks strikes were banned. Bevin very quickly had full co-operation from other trade union leaders, who were heavily involved in the administration of government policy at all levels.

Industrial unrest among rank-and-file workers inevitably increased during the war years and the number of strikes, although small and short, exceeded the previous peak (1920) in 1943. The largest strikes were in the mining industry. However, after Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Communist Party, which could have been expected to give an effective voice to this opposition, dramatically changed its position on the war. Suddenly, for them, the war ceased to be a fight ‘between imperialist powers over profits, colonies and world domination’ in which the Labour Party and the trade union movement supported Britain’s imperialist war aims. The war was now a war to defend democracy against fascism. The Communist Party became the most zealous supporter of the war effort, was associated with the drive for greater productivity in industry, opposition to unofficial strikes and the campaign for opening a second front against Germany in Western Europe. Both the Soviet Union’s entry into the war and the Communist Party’s change of position led to a surge in its membership of some 50,000 members to an all time peak of 55,000 by 1944. This was not, however, an upsurge of potentially revolutionary forces but rather their containment. At the end of the war the Communist Party even lagged behind the political mood of the vast majority of the working class, as did Attlee and Bevin until overruled by the National Executive of the Labour Party, when they called for a continuation of the coalition government. The war years had radicalised the working class and raised expectations, and any post-war government had to reflect this change.2

The war, therefore, generated a demand for social reform and a determination not to return to the pre-war social conditions. It fell to Liberals such as Beveridge and Keynes to formulate proposals that began to meet such demands. The Beveridge Report (1942) proposed a major extension of social security, and assumed the creation of full employment, the introduction of family allowances and a National Health Service. Typically the trade union representatives on the Beveridge Committee continued to express the traditional values of the labour aristocracy: ‘they were in favour of contributory insurance; contemptuous of “dodgers”, the “very poor”, and of the type of person who will not join a Friendly Society.’ They also wanted the withdrawal of public assistance from the wives and children of striking workers.3 In February 1943, during a debate on the Beveridge Report, all the parliamentary Labour Party outside the coalition government voted for an amendment calling for the immediate implementation of the Report, while the Tory Party were opposed. This did much to swing significant sections of the middle classes for the first time behind the Labour Party in the post-war 1945 election, guaranteeing it a massive majority.4 Had the coalition government not appeared willing to introduce the social reforms embodied in the Beveridge Report and the later 1944 White Paper on full employment, it is unlikely, as K Mann points out, that the labour movement could have retained control of rank-and-file activists in the last two years of the war.5 State welfare was the price capital had to pay for social co-operation during the war years and for the restoration of capital accumulation in Britain after the war.

Reconstruction of the imperialist order 1945-51
At the end of the Second World War imperialism faced a political and economic crisis. The victorious imperialist powers had fought a war under the guise of defending democracy and national freedom. They now confronted a large number of national liberation movements in the colonial and semi-colonial countries demanding that freedom – many of them (such as China, Malaya, Greece, Yugoslavia and Vietnam) led by communist parties. Large areas of Eastern Europe were soon to be removed from imperialist control, significantly strengthening the influence of the Soviet Union. Western Europe lay in ruins, its economies bankrupt and industry destroyed.

Britain had fought the Second World War to defend and extend the Empire, to maintain its status as a major imperialist power, as well as to defeat fascism. As Cain and Hopkins have noted:

‘...the battle over the shape of post-war colonial policy was continued even as the bombs fell on London... In 1945, amidst a war-shattered Europe that had ceased to pose a threat but also appeared to offer little promise, Britain still saw her future as being at the centre of a revitalised empire.’6

To protect its position the convertibility of sterling into other currencies had been ended in 1939. The Empire, and more generally the Sterling Area, had been critical to Britain during the war years in supplying resources, in pooling and rationing all dollar and gold earnings and providing the enforced loans, in the form of growing sterling balances held in London, which enabled Britain to import vital goods and sustain its war effort. US aid (lend-lease) that had been given to Britain during the war came with harsh conditions. Britain’s capital assets had often to be sold, sometimes at a loss, and Britain’s export capacity had to be run down, preventing the accumulation of reserves and forcing Britain to take on ever-larger debts with Sterling Area countries. The sterling balances by 1945 were equivalent to seven times the value of Britain’s gold and dollar reserves.

The Empire was to prove equally crucial in the early post-war years in restoring the fortunes of British imperialism in the face of continuing US pressure on Britain to move towards multilateral trade arrangements and to dismantle the Sterling Area. The central objective of British policy was to sustain sterling’s role as an international currency and the City of London as a global financial centre in the face of US hostility. The Empire was to be vital in achieving this.7

Immediately the war ended, Britain faced formidable economic problems. Three weeks after Labour’s victory at the General Election the British economy suffered a tremendous blow. The US government ended the lend-lease arrangement of March 1941, under which Britain and other allied countries had been able to buy war materials and food supplies from the US on credit for the duration of the war. What had provided Britain with about two-thirds of the funds needed to finance a total external deficit of £10,000m over six years of war was withdrawn unilaterally and without prior negotiation. Future supplies from the US would now have to be paid in cash. The US had demonstrated its supremacy.

Britain had ended the war virtually bankrupt and with the largest debt in its history. Around a quarter of the country’s pre-war wealth had been wiped out during the war years. At home, physical destruction of property was estimated at £1,450m and domestic capital disinvestment at £885m. A quarter of overseas investments, £1,118m, had been sold off; overseas debt – mainly a rise in the ‘sterling balances’ – had increased from £476m to £3,355m and gold and dollar reserves had fallen by £152m. Net income from overseas investment had fallen to half the 1938 level and the volume of exports was down to 30% of the pre-war level. Britain would inevitably face a massive balance of payments deficit as it attempted to rebuild its economy – an accumulated deficit of some £1,250m ($6,000m) over five years was the best estimate at the time. Immediately, Labour sent a delegation to the US to negotiate a loan that could cover such a deficit.8

The loan negotiations were difficult and the US government was in no mood to give way to British demands. Eventually a ‘line of credit’ (the funds would be only advanced as required) of $3,750m was made available until December 1951, plus $650m in final settlement of lend-lease debts. The Canadians added a further loan of 1,250m Canadian dollars ($1,159m). The terms of the credits were not harsh – interest of 2% to become payable together with the capital repayments only from 1951 and over a period of 50 years. The interest did not have to be paid in any year if income from visible and invisible income fell below the pre-war average. But there were strings attached reflecting US imperialism’s hostility to the British Empire and the Sterling Area. The US insisted on the convertibility of sterling and an end to the Sterling Area dollar pool within one year of the loan agreement coming into force, together with the freeing of the blocked sterling balances over a period of years. Britain finally had to ratify the July 1944 Bretton Woods agreements establishing the IMF and the Bank for Reconstruction and Development and support a US proposal for an International Trade Organisation designed to eliminate trade discrimination and the imperial preference. This was a concerted attempt by US imperialism to constrain the British Empire and the Sterling Area, the vital platform for restoring the fortunes of British imperialism.9

Labour had no political choice but to accept the conditions placed on the loan agreement if it were not to abandon its own domestic programme with serious political consequences. It did not believe that it could or would have to honour all the commitments made with the loan agreement. Attlee stated later that ‘the US and Canadian loans were essentially measures to buy time.’10 Two years after the agreement was made, with the loan almost depleted, Britain kept its agreement and on 15 July 1947 made sterling convertible. Five weeks later it had to be suspended because of a massive run on the pound as holders of sterling tried to convert it into dollars. A similar dollar crisis hit the whole of Western Europe in 1947, threatening European recovery and living standards. With the emerging anti-communist stance in the US, President Truman launched the ‘cold war’ in March 1947, the deteriorating economic conditions in Western Europe began to take on strategic importance for the US. In June 1947 the US Secretary of State, Marshall, proposed a European Recovery Programme and offered massive aid to Europe, provided Europe took steps towards European economic co-operation. In April 1948 the US Congress approved $13bn Marshall Aid to be spread over four years – a significant contribution towards the dollar deficit and a boost for US exports. At the same time, the US attitude to the British Empire and the Sterling Area began to soften, as it became clear that the British Empire could become a bulwark against communism or, at least, the growing number of national liberation struggles. Multilateralism was still the US’s primary goal, but it would be a slow process that initially required massive aid to Europe. As a result of this shift in policy priorities, Britain was able to press ahead with an imperial preference policy based on exploiting the Empire. In order to maintain its status as a major imperialist power, Britain had accepted the role of junior partner to US imperialism, policing the world to make it ‘safe’ and profitable for capitalism. The Labour Party took on this task with unbridled enthusiasm.11

Labour imperialism
Labour exploited the colonies to the full. Under the guise of colonial development the Empire was forced to supply the essential raw materials and scarce dollars needed for Britain’s economic recovery. The Gold Coast (Ghana) and Malaya were particularly ruthlessly exploited for their dollar earnings. Malayan tin and rubber earned more US dollars in 1948 than the total exports of Britain. The sterling balances were tightly controlled and amounts freed for colonial development were restricted, so that they could enhance the reserves held in London and support the pound. Official marketing boards were used to purchase colonial exports, often at below world market prices and the surplus funds were often tied up in London. ‘Development’ for the colonies was in reality development for Britain. Between 1946 and 1951 £40.5m (around £8m a year) was spent on Colonial Development and Welfare Expenditure throughout the whole Empire. In the same period the sterling balances from the colonies increased by some £150m. In addition, in 1951 West African marketing boards had £93m tied up on deposit in London. So the colonies had been lent or given some £40m by Britain but were forced to lend or tie up in London about £250m. This gives some idea of the extent of British imperialist exploitation. In this way colonial exploitation subsidised the standard of living of British people, including the working class, making the austerity suffered at home much less severe than it otherwise would have been.12 Ernest Bevin, Labour’s Foreign Secretary after the Second World War, acknowledge this reality when he said:

‘I am not prepared to sacrifice the British Empire because I know that if the British Empire fell...it would mean the standard of living of our constituents would fall considerably’. (House of Commons, 23 February 1946)

‘Not sacrificing the British Empire’ meant ruthlessly asserting British control over all areas where Britain’s economic interests were at stake. Resistance was pitilessly and barbarically put down. Of particular importance for Britain, once India had got its independence, were Africa, Malaya and the Middle East. British oil interests in the Middle East were vast and British multinational companies made staggering profits from their stake in the oil fields of the Middle East. Control of the Middle East was a vital component of Labour’s foreign policy. Where it could not maintain a military presence it sustained a string of reactionary client states through which it could control oil production and oil prices. Bevin again made the essential point:

‘His Majesty’s government must maintain a continuing interest in that area if only because our economic and financial interests in the Middle East were of vast importance to us...If these interests were lost to us, the effect on the life of this country would be a considerable reduction in the standard of living...British interests in the Middle East contributed substantially not only to the interests of the people there, but to the wage packets of the workpeople of this country.’ (House of Commons 16 May 1947)13

Britain has never ceased the fight to protect its interest in the Middle East to this day. Whether through coups, invasions, colonial wars or military intervention, the people of the Middle East have suffered and continue to suffer the brutal consequences of British governments, Labour and Tory, maintaining British imperialism’s interests in that region.
However Britain’s remit was to run even further. Britain under the post-war Labour government played a crucial counter-revolutionary role alongside the US in crushing socialist and national democratic movements in all areas of the world where imperialist interests were being challenged. Typical was Britain’s intervention in Greece. Bevin justified this by saying ‘the British Empire cannot abandon its position in the Mediterranean’. By 1946 40,000 British troops were fighting communist and revolutionary forces while giving financial and military support to Greek fascists. In 1947 Britain handed over the role of counter-revolutionary terror to the US and in the subsequent civil war 11,000 villages were destroyed and 50,000 people killed.

Britain under Labour began the process that forestalled the revolution in Vietnam in September 1945 by helping to organise a coup d’état against the newly proclaimed Democratic Republic of Vietnam. Bevin then signed a secret agreement with the French which guaranteed a British handover of Indochina in exchange for a French withdrawal from Syria and Lebanon. The result was 30 years of continuous war, millions of Vietnamese deaths and a devastated country. British intervention in Indonesia in 1945 led to 40,000 casualties and allowed the Dutch to restore neo-colonial rule. British occupation of Malaya was brutal and murderous. The Labour government set up concentration camps, used assassination squads and every conceivable form of terror to defeat a 12-year armed struggle led by the Malayan Communist Party. The final infamy of this Labour government was to take the side of the neo-fascist Syngman Rhee regime in South Korea in the Korean war, providing 12,000 troops, the largest foreign contingent after the US. When the war finally ended some three million Koreans had been killed.

Labour played a leading role in the establishment of NATO in 1949. This imperialist alliance was created not only to contain and undermine the Soviet Union but also to isolate it from the growing anti-colonial movement, which had emerged in the years after the war. Labour’s foreign and colonial policy from 1945 to 1951 was of enormous political and historical significance for the rest of the twentieth century. The devastating consequences for most of the world’s population are with us to this day. Yet nearly every section of the British left, on the basis of the Labour government’s so-called domestic achievements in this period, continued their shameless support for the Labour Party, still claiming it as the party of the working class. They could only do so, as Robert Clough has pointed out, ‘on the racist assumption that the lives of the colonial people are of far less importance than those of British workers’.14

Labour was successful in its primary aim after the war of maintaining the status of Britain as a major imperialist power second only to the United States. Yet the British left chose to disregard this awkward reality and, refusing to break with the Labour Party, it concentrated its indignation on the iniquities and overall dominance of US imperialism. Typical was the Communist Party in a refrain that was to become common from that time on among sections of the left:

‘While Britain continues to “own” colonies all over the world, and even the largest world colonial empire, Britain itself becomes at the same time more and more of a colony or semi-colony, or at best a client-State or satellite, of American finance capital.’15

This shameless refusal to acknowledge Labour imperialism and the imperialist character of Britain has had a deeply corrupting influence, not only on the organisations of the working class but throughout the British left. British prosperity and democracy after the war were built on the backs of millions of oppressed peoples in the colonies with the full backing of the British Labour movement.

The post-war boom
It took two world wars, depression and fascism to resolve the inter-imperialist rivalries that began at the turn of the century.16 The 1914-1918 imperialist war had ended Britain’s supremacy as the dominant imperialist power. By the end of the Second World War power had decisively passed to the United States, and Britain, in order to retain a significant role as a major imperialist power, had become its junior partner. After 1945, Britain was still a major industrial power with a strong manufacturing base, while the economies of its European competitors, as well as Japan, had been virtually destroyed by war. However, over time, Britain’s world role was to impose an enormous burden on its domestic economy. Britain had the highest military spending of the NATO countries after the US. The British economy followed the priorities of Britain’s international commercial and financial interests, creating inevitable conflicts with the political and economic requirements for expansion of the domestic economy.

In the decade after 1945 the British economy revived by consolidating its ties with the Sterling Area, with the pound remaining a formidable force in world trade, accounting for around 50% of all international transactions at the end of the 1940s. Labour’s priorities were clear. The outflow of British capital resumed on a vast scale. Between 1946 and 1959 some £4,000m was invested abroad at an annual rate of between 25% and 33% of fixed capital investment at home. In one year, 1947, the outflow of capital was equivalent to 8% of national income, nearly equal to the total domestic capital investment. This extraordinary development took place at a time of bread and potato rationing and widespread austerity. In September 1949 the pound had to be devalued from $4.03 to $2.80 to the pound – a reduction of 31%. Cuts were made in government expenditure. However, the economy soon recovered with exports growing rapidly as a result of devaluation, the expansion of the US market and the beginning of a commodity boom driven by European reconstruction, by Marshall Aid and finally by the Korean War.

Balance of payment crises were ever-present in the post-war period given Britain’s military commitments and capital export abroad. Nevertheless, by the mid-1950s British capital felt itself ready to extend its financial and commercial operations beyond the Sterling Area to a wider world in competition with the dollar. Convertibility of the pound was gradually introduced at fixed rates between 1955 and 1958. This period began the process of British capital and the City turning away from the Empire and the Sterling Area to a more global orientation. Decolonisation was forced on Britain from the mid-1950s onwards, accelerating after the Suez crisis in 1956. Britain was no longer economically capable of funding the military operations needed to defend its colonial Empire. In the 1940s, 50% of Britain’s foreign trade was with members of the Empire and Sterling Area and one quarter with Western Europe. By the early 1970s this had been reversed. Britain applied for membership of the EEC for the first time in 1961. It was accepted for membership 12 years later.

The forced devaluation of the pound in 1967 signalled the end of the Sterling Area, which finally came as the re-emergence of inter-imperialist rivalries led to the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate regime and the devaluation of the dollar at the end of 1971. The City of London, as the most open financial market in the world, became the leading centre for the offshore Eurodollar and Eurobond market, which from small beginnings in the late 1950s expanded very rapidly over the next two decades. The City became the conduit for the global financial operations of multinational companies and banks. London’s position as the leading international centre became stronger in the 1970s than at any time since before the First Imperialist War. British imperialism had taken on its most parasitic form.17

The post-war boom and the working class
The post-war boom saw the greatest expansion of capitalism in its history. It was the result of a unique set of circumstances which ended in the mid-1970s with the re-emergence of inter-imperialist rivalries and the challenge of Japanese and German capitalism. The boom had a very deep impact on the standard of living and political consciousness of the working class.

Already in the war years from 1939-44, the real wages of the working class had risen by 81% due mainly to longer and more regular hours of work. Women’s employment had increased considerably. Real wages remained static in 1946-50, but took off once the boom got underway, and doubled from 1951 to 1964. The 5-day week became normal. 52% of manual workers had paid holiday of three to four weeks. Unemployment stayed remarkably low at around 1.8% of the workforce until the onset of the crisis. Around 25% of workers had relatively secure jobs in the state sector. Trade union membership rose from 9.3m in 1950 to a peak of 13.3m in 1979. There was a significant increase in house ownership among the working class as the number of owner-occupied houses increased from 31% in 1951 to 55% in 1971.18

The National Insurance Act 1946 greatly extended the existing sickness and unemployment schemes, making contributions compulsory for all and benefits almost universal. The National Health Service Act 1946 introduced a free health service for those who contributed to the social security scheme. Those who were not covered by these two Acts – ‘the blind, vagrants and the destitute’ – were later provided for under the National Assistance Act 1948, which abolished the feared and hated Poor Laws that had been in place since the sixteenth century. Having a job and at the same time the benefits of state welfare represented a dramatic advance in the social well-being of the working class. There was, however, still a minority who were very poor and subject to the humiliation of the means test administered by National Assistance Boards.

Throughout the post-war boom there was a shortage of labour in certain sectors of the economy. Britain was forced to turn to external sources to fulfil this demand. The first groups of immigrants came after the dislocation of the war. From 1945-1957 there was a net inflow of 350,000 European nationals, together with a similar number of Irish workers. As this source of labour began to dry up with the recovery of the European economies, another one was at hand. Underdevelopment had created a huge reserve army of labour in the British colonies in Asia, Africa and the West Indies. Immigration from these countries began to build up from the beginning of the 1950s, from around 1,000 a year at first to a peak of 75,000 a year in 1961. Immigrant workers formed an oppressed layer of the working class. They worked in the lowest-paid jobs with the worst conditions, as white workers tended to move to better paid jobs in the service sector. Black workers were needed for NHS ancillary jobs and lower grade nursing, and worked in lower paid jobs on the railways and London Transport. The availability of this pool of labour helped maintain the viability of state welfare, and in reality was an indirect benefit for the more privileged layers of the working class and growing middle class. In addition black workers tended to be employed in the less technologically advanced sections of manufacturing, in small metal foundries and textile mills of the North and North West and in the clothing sweatshops and the hotel and catering industry in London. The political importance of these oppressed sections of the working class within the heartland of imperialism was to be forcibly driven home to the socialist movement during the uprisings in many British cities at the beginning of the 1980s.19

Racism was always deeply ingrained in Labour culture. As early as 1949, Aneurin Bevan was proudly telling Parliament that immigration officers were turning away aliens who sought to abuse the health service.20 Back in power from 1964-70, and with unemployment beginning to rise, Labour introduced racist immigration legislation in 1965, 1968 and 1969. In the years out of office Labour had backed the Tory Government’s brutal suppression of national liberation movements in seeking neo-colonial solutions in the Empire. Both Labour and the British TUC supported suspending the constitution and the despatch of troops to British Guiana after the victory of the People’s Progressive Party under Cheddi Jagan in 1953. Similar they supported the suppression of the Kenyan Land and Freedom Army – the Mau Mau – which allowed British imperialism to impose a neo-colonial settlement under Jomo Kenyatta. Back in office Labour suppressed the National Liberation Front of North Yemen, stood behind the US in its brutal war against the Vietnamese people, was the main backer of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, made concessions to the white racists in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and in 1969 sent British troops into Six Counties of Ireland. It was a measure of the deeply entrenched backwardness of the British left that all the main organisations, the Communist Party, the International Socialists (SWP) and Militant, supported British troops going into Ireland.

The relative prosperity in Britain during the post-war boom gave rise to new privileged sections of the working class – a new middle class. The British left recruited primarily from this layer. This section of predominantly educated, salaried white-collar workers grew with the expansion of the state and services sector and, in the more recent period, with the information technology revolution. The change in the structure of the working class continued with a major shift in employment from the productive manufacturing sector to the predominantly unproductive service sector. At the end of the 1950s, the post-war highpoint, there were around 9m workers in manufacturing. By the end of the 1970s this had fallen to 6.8m. At the same time workers in public administration, education and health had risen from 3m to 4.7m and those in banking, finance and insurance from 500,000 to 1.7m. By 1980 there were 4.6m more workers in the service sector than in the production and construction industries.

Rosa Luxemburg once said that:

‘If the capitalist mode of production can ensure boundless expansion of the productive forces, of economic progress, it is invincible indeed. The most objective argument in support of socialist theory breaks down; socialist political action and the ideological import of the proletarian class struggle cease to reflect economic events, and socialism no longer appears an historical necessity.’ 21

In the period of the post-war boom this appeared to be the case and arguments for socialism fell on stony ground. The organisations of the Labour aristocracy throughout this period consolidated their hold over the working class movement with little opposition. Nothing would significantly change as long as sufficient profits were produced to return an adequate rate of profit on capital invested and to finance state welfare. The social democratic consensus of the post war years could be maintained. It was possible to guarantee the relatively privileged conditions of higher paid workers and the middle classes while sustaining adequate living standards for the mass of the working class. While the privileged sections of the working class benefited most, the majority of the working class shared some of the gains of this period.

However as soon as the rate of profit began to fall – an inevitable consequence of the process of capital accumulation – then the consensus began to break apart. Unemployment and poverty started to grow. And at the very moment when increased state spending was needed, state spending was blamed for the crisis. The myths of Keynesianism and the social democratic consensus were exposed. In the mid-1970s the Labour Party set monetary targets and cut state spending. The low paid public sector workers fought back and the ‘winter of discontent’ of 1978/1979 drove the higher paid skilled workers and the middle classes into the arms of the Tory Party. The split in the working class was to dramatically widen again. The importance of the political lessons to be drawn from our understanding of the role of the labour aristocracy was very soon to be demonstrated again.

To be continued

1 The first two parts of this article appeared in Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 161 and 162 – June/July and August/September 2001. They are on our website http://www.rcgfrfi.easynet.co.uk in the FRFI section.

2 See John Callaghan Socialism in Britain Basil Blackwell 1990 pp137ff, 151, Henry Pelling A History of British Trade Unionism Penguin Books 1963 pp212-216, and James Hinton Labour and Socialism Wheatsheaf Books 1983 pp162-168.

3 S MacGregor The Politics of Poverty Longman 1981 p13, cited in K Mann The making of an English ‘underclass’?

4 See R Clough Labour: a party fit for imperialism London 1992 pp76-77.

5 Mann op cit p75.

6 Cain and Hopkins British Imperialism Crisis and Deconstruction 1914-1990 Longman 1993 p 234.

7 Cain and Hopkins op cit p270.

8 Alec Cairncross Years of recovery: British economic policy 1945-51 Methuen 1985 pp3-16, Peter Burnham The Political Economy of Post War Reconstruction MacMillan 1990 p17, and S Pollard The Development of the British Economy 1914-1967 Edward Arnold 1973 p356-7.

9 See Cairncross op cit chapter 5, Burnham op cit pp48-54 and Pollard op cit pp356-358.

10 Cited in Burnham op cit p57.

11 P Armstrong, A Glyn, J Harrison, Capitalism since 1945 Basil Blackwell 1991 p68-73, Pollard op cit p361 and Cain and Hopkins op cit p272-3.

12 Palme Dutt Britain’s Crisis of Empire Lawrence & Wishart 1949 p37 Mark Curtis The Ambiguities of Power: British Foreign Policy since 1945 Zed Books London 1995 pp 15-16, Cain and Hopkins op cit p278-281 and Armstrong, Glyn, Harrison op cit pp61-62.

13 Cited in Dutt op cit p125.

14 See Clough op cit pp76-107 for a substantial discussion of Labour imperialism after the Second War.

15 Dutt op cit p160.

16 See Paul Bullock and David Yaffe ‘Inflation, the crisis and the post-war boom’ in Revolutionary Communist 3/4 Larkin Publications 1975 for this and a discussion of the post-war boom.

17 See Hobsbawn op cit p220, Cain and Hopkins op cit pp 281ff, Cairncross op cit p153.

18 For these and other statistics on the important changes affecting the working class see Eric Hopkins The Rise and Decline of the English Working Classes 1918-1990 Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1991 pp88-158.

19 See Clough op cit pp157-162 for a more detailed discussion.

20 Cited in Mann op cit p87.

21 The Accumulation of Capital p325.
Open University Press 1992 p76.