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December 22, 2004

Barmy Aristocrats.

Britain has a long record of odd, slightly barmy, aristocrats being admired in the public eye, almost as mascots to show quite how silly the whole system is. It’s one of the things that makes PG Wodehouse still so revered as a writer, the Earl of Emsworth and such. The Second Viscount Stansgate fits neatly into this role:

Next year I shall be campaigning for the election of Labour candidates, as I have in 17 general elections over the last 70 years. As a 10-year-old in Westminster in 1935 I distributed party leaflets. In 1945, on leave from the RAF and working in the same constituency, I saw a landslide socialist victory that established the welfare state, the NHS, restored trade union rights, built houses, created full employment, ratified the UN charter and transformed our empire into a free Commonwealth.

Labour's years in the wilderness are routinely blamed on the left and the unions. But the 1951 defeat was due to inflation caused by rearmament; the IMF-enforced cuts in 1976 triggered the winter of discontent and our 1979 defeat; while in 1981 the SDP split gravely weakened us.

December 22, 2004 in Politics | Permalink


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Tracked on Dec 22, 2004 1:48:25 PM