Clement Attlee: Guest Post by AVONPCCWATCH

11 Apr

clement Attlee

On October 8th 1967 in London an 84 year old man died of pneumonia , his funeral service , a low key affair was held on 7th of November at Temple Church and did not last too long. There were around 150 people who attended the service- the man’s estate, at probate was £7,295.

Monday 8th April 2013 , an 87 year old woman dies of a stroke , at a £3,500 a night suite at the Ritz in London.
A funeral is planned with gun carriages, Queen in attendance and gun salutes- the woman is estimated to be worth in excess of £10 million, and has her money largely ‘offshore’.

What do these two people have in common ? They both have honours , they have both been Prime Ministers but only one has been given a ‘state funeral’ in all but name .
If it looks like a state funeral-sounds like a state funeral-smells like a state funeral-then it probably is…..

By acknowledging Thatcher , but not Clement Attlee ,the Queen has shown a partisan attitude , state occasions must bind all of the community together as one people. Attlee by his unstinting devotion to public service and the massive achievements for ALL sections of society , both as Deputy PM to Churchills coalition and then PM from 1945-1951.
Clement Attlee , an unprepossessing , Oxford history graduate , son of a solicitor , an archetypal tory one might say , who whilst doing voluntary work with poor boys in Stepney was appalled by the plight of the working class.

A barrister , a war veteran on several fronts , lecturer at LSE , elected Mayor of Stepney in 1919 and then in 1922 General Election elected M.P. for Limehouse. Attlee was leader of the Labour Party for 20 years, and the Government led by him was instrumental in enacting legislation to enable :- NHS , National Insurance , Benefits sytem , Family allowance,Fire Service Pensions , Agricultural Wages Board , Nationalisation of utilities , it helped form NATO, the U.N. and helped a number of former colonies gain independence- these are just a few of his governments achievements.

In a cabinet full of personalities , like Bevin, Bevan, Dalton and Cripps  Attlee was a quiet unshowy man. A serious,patriotic and decent Christian man of principle. Attlee said that he ‘ Never felt alone because he could reach into his memory for verses by , Tennyson , Browning and Swinburne. In 2004 voted the 20th Centuries greatest Prime Minister in a poll of 139 academics.

In all Clement, Attlees achievements both during and after the war were all encompassing- he saw the benefits system as supporting people to get back on their feet and was genuinely concerned for the welfare of all working people.

Without entering into a diatribe on Thatcherism or its rights and wrongs , all I can say is that we are seeing how divisive Thatcher is- especially away from the South of England. It is fair to say that the effusiveness of praise for her achievements is disproportionate to them. By opting for the obvious ‘bread and circus approach’ Camerons government is taking a risk in stirring up memories best forgotten.


One Response to “Clement Attlee: Guest Post by AVONPCCWATCH”

  1. Sarah K April 15, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Oh hear hear. Clement Attlee was a great leader, a great Prime Minister, and a hero of mine. His memory should be feted beyond the current level. Thank you for this well thought out piece.

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