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Robert Blake and Wm. Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206262.001.0001

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Churchill and Social Reform

Churchill and Social Reform

(p.57) 4 Churchill and Social Reform

Paul Addison

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state. With Herbert Asquith and David Lloyd George, he was the principal driving force behind the Liberal Party's welfare reforms of 1908–1911. At the Board of Trade, he pioneered measures to reduce poverty and unemployment through state intervention in the labour market. In 1909, he toured Britain campaigning for the ‘People's Budget’ and its radical proposals for the taxation of wealth. At the Home Office, his penal reforms as well as his measures to improve working conditions in shops and coal-mines were reflections of a continuing drive for social reform that was cut short by his transfer, in 1911, to the Admiralty. In the course of a lifetime in party politics, Churchill often touched on social questions, and there were other phases of his career in which he bore some responsibility for the development of social policy.

Keywords:   Winston Churchill, Britain, welfare state, social reform, social policy, Liberal Party, poverty, unemployment, taxation

AMONG his other claims to fame, Winston Churchill ranks as one of the founders of the welfare state. With Asquith and Lloyd George, he was the principal driving force behind the Liberal welfare reforms of 1908–11. At the Board of Trade he pioneered measures to reduce poverty and unemployment through state intervention in the labour market. In 1909 he toured the country campaigning for the ‘People’s Budget’ and its radical proposals for the taxation of wealth. At the Home Office his penal reforms, and his measures to improve working conditions in shops and coal-mines, were reflections of a continuing drive for social reform that was cut short by his transfer, in 1911, to the Admiralty. The Board of Trade and Home Office years stand out from the rest of Churchill’s career as the only period in which his energies were concentrated in the social field. But in the course of a lifetime in party politics he often touched on social questions, and there were other phases of his career in which he bore some responsibility for the development of social policy. As Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924 to 1929 he encountered once more the problems of poverty and unemployment. As Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 he presided over the post-war plans of the Coalition government, and returned to power in 1951 at the head of a Conservative administration in charge of the new welfare state.

How important was social policy to Churchill? On a sceptical reading it was never of great significance. His true ‘destiny’ lay in military and imperial affairs. Opportunism and ambition led him to play, for a while, the role of radical reformer, but the performance was mainly rhetorical. His Tory and aristocratic background divorced him from a true understanding of social conditions, and he lacked the commitment of the principled social reformer. His belligerence during the General Strike betrayed his lack of sympathy for the working class, and his patent lack of interest in social reform contributed heavily to his electoral defeat in 1945. (p.58)

An alternative reading, which may best be described as romantic, identifies in Churchill a lifelong strand of interest in the improvement of social conditions. In his earliest speeches, we learn, he spoke of the need for old age pensions and other reforms. In later life he consistently supported the improvement of the social services. But for his defeat at the polls in 1945, he would have carried through the Beveridge plan and introduced a National Health Service. As Martin Gilbert writes: ‘Both in his Liberal and his Conservative years, Churchill was a radical: a believer in the need for the State to take an active part, both by legislation and finance, in ensuring minimum standards of life, labour and social well-being for its citizens.’1

The aim of this chapter, in setting out the record, is to see how far it corresponds with either of these readings of Churchill’s connections with social policy.

Winston Churchill entered politics as the political heir of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. From Lord Randolph he took the cry of ‘Tory Democracy’ and a rhetoric of concern for the condition of the working class. He first stood for Parliament, in 1899, as the candidate for Oldham, a predominantly working-class constituency which returned two MPs. Both seats were vacant, and Churchill stood in alliance with a rare Tory trade unionist, James Mawdsley. The Conservative government of Lord Salisbury was notable for its negative approach to social policy, but Churchill did his best to identify the party with social reform: ‘To keep our Empire we must have a free people and an educated and a well-fed people. That is why we are in favour of social reform.’2 Mere rhetoric, perhaps, but a subaltern who only the previous year had fought at Omdurman was more entitled than most to make the connection between imperial power and the ‘condition of England’.

In 1901, on the recommendation of John Morley, Churchill read Seebohm Rowntree’s study of poverty in York. In an unpublished review of the book, intended no doubt for an army periodical, he described Rowntree’s findings in great detail and concluded that poverty was a threat to the health and fitness of army recruits. ‘And thus, strange as it may seem, eccentric, almost incredible to write—our Imperial reputation is actually involved in their condition.’3

Contrary to Churchill’s opinion, the view that poverty was a threat to the Empire was almost a commonplace of the period. The disappointing performance of British forces in the South African war gave (p.59) rise to the gospel of ‘national efficiency’ proclaimed by Churchill’s friend and mentor Lord Rosebery. Churchill, however, was inhibited on questions of social reform by an overriding commitment to the retrenchment of public expenditure. He was a disciple and ally of the Treasury in its campaign to reduce government spending in the after-math of the South African war. The need for economy was one of the principal themes of his attack upon the army reforms of the Secretary of State for War, St John Brodrick.

Churchill, therefore, did not draw collectivist conclusions from Rowntree. Speaking in the House of Commons in May 1902 he argued that reductions in public expenditure offered the best hope for the poor:

The only chance the struggling millions of whom we read in Mr Rowntree’s book…ever have of enjoying the bounties of nature and science, lies not in any socialistic scheme of taxation, but, solely and simply, in an effective and scientific commercial development. I apprehend very grievously that there will one day come a government in England which will put upon its programme a great Navy and a great Army; £20,000,000 for old age pensions and the housing of the poor; £25,000,000 for an elaborate system of education.4

When Joseph Chamberlain raised the banner of tariff reform in 1903 Churchill opposed him and soon afterwards crossed the floor of the House to join the Liberals. For the time being this made no difference to his negative view of state intervention. On the contrary, free trade was another Treasury orthodoxy which harmonized with the cause of economy. When the Webbs sounded him out on social reform in June 1904, Beatrice recorded waspishly in her diary: ‘I tried the “national minimum” on him but he was evidently unaware of the most elementary objections to unrestricted competition, and was still in the stage of “infant-school economics.’”5

When the Liberals took office in December 1905, Campbell-Bannerman appointed Churchill to the Colonial Office as Undersecretary. It was during his period at the Colonial Office that Churchill first declared his support for the establishment by the state of a ‘national minimum’. In a speech in Glasgow in October 1906 he declared:

It is not possible to draw a hard-and-fast line between individualism and collectivism…Man is at once a unique being and a gregarious animal. For some purposes he must be a collectivist, for others he is and will for all time remain an individualist…The whole tendency of civilisation is, however, towards the multiplication of the collective functions of society…I should (p.60) like to see the state embark on various novel and adventurous experiments…I look forward to the universal establishment of minimum standards of life and labour.6

He returned to the theme with greater force in the New Year of 1908 in an article for the Nation entitled ‘The Untrodden Field in Polities’. What can account for this development in Churchill’s thinking? His conversion to collectivism was the result of his change of party. The Liberal party was a broad coalition of forces in which the initiative was beginning to pass from the Gladstonian Liberals, whose doctrine was laissez-faire, to the ‘New’ Liberals whose doctrine was state intervention. Churchill was captured by the New Liberals, whose aim was to reconstruct the party on the basis of a ‘progressive alliance’ with Labour.

Churchill was in touch with so many radicals and reformers at this juncture that it would be hard to say which, if any, had the greatest influence. Lancashire, his political base, was a stronghold of Lib-Lab politics and the New Liberalism. C. P. Scott, the editor of the Manchester Guardian, acted as mentor and publicist.7 But Churchill was also in contact with such leading propagandists of reform as H. W. Massingham, the editor of the Nation, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and Charles Masterman. Somewhere in the picture we also catch a glimpse of Lloyd George: but his relations with Churchill between 1906 and 1908 have left only a faint blur.

The electoral dimension of social policy was well to the fore in Churchill’s thinking. His declaration in favour of collectivism, already quoted, was intended to consolidate the electoral alliance between the Labour and Liberal Parties by minimizing the policy differences between them. As he explained to the Scottish Liberal Whip, his purpose was ‘to isolate the wreckers who vilify the Liberal party and hand over its seats to the Tories’.8 Churchill put the electoral point more broadly in a letter to J. A. Spender, the editor of the Westminster Gazette, in December 1907:

No legislation at present in view interests the democracy. All their minds are turning more and more to the social and economic issue…Minimum standards of wages & comfort, insurance in some effective form or other against sickness, unemployment, old age, these are the questions and the only questions by which parties are going to live in the future. Woe to Liberalism if they slip through its fingers.9

When Asquith succeeded to the premiership in February 1908, (p.61) Churchill at first accepted his offer of the Local Government Board, the department which supervised the Poor Law. But at the last minute Asquith switched him to the Board of Trade. This was fortunate for Churchill. The Local Government Board had a well-deserved reputation as a bastion of administrative inertia. The Board of Trade, on the other hand, was under the direction of two leading officials who favoured a measure of state intervention in the labour market, and possessed the necessary information and expertise: the Permanent Secretary, Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith, and the Director of the Labour Department, Wilson Fox.

The principal measures which Churchill sponsored at the Board of Trade were unemployment insurance, labour exchanges, and statutory minimum wages in the ‘sweated trades’. None of these proposals originated with Churchill. Unemployment and labour exchanges had been under discussion inside the Department in connection with the proceedings of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law. Intervention in the ‘sweated trades’ had long been advocated by Sir Charles Dilke and others. Nor is there any doubt that in the preparation of legislation, Churchill relied heavily upon his officials.10

While Churchill’s impact ought not to be exaggerated, in certain respects it was decisive. He was a dynamic force who arrived at the Board of Trade with a strong commitment to reform. As he confided to Charles Masterman shortly before his appointment, he believed that he was called upon by providence to do something for the poor: ‘Why have I always been kept safe within a hair’s breadth of death’, he asked, ‘except to do something like this?’11 It was Churchill who gave the instructions for legislation to be drawn up in advance of the findings of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, and persuaded Asquith and the Cabinet to support him. It was Churchill, acting on the advice of the Webbs, who appointed William Beveridge to the Board of Trade with instructions to draw up a scheme of labour exchanges. Beveridge proposed two alternative types of scheme: one run by local authorities, and the other by central government. It was Churchill who decided that labour exchanges should form a single organization run from the centre. He also insisted that they should be staffed by trade unionists, social reformers, and others appointed directly by the President of the Board, instead of by civil servants—an extension of ministerial patronage that was later reversed.12 Finally it was Churchill who first introduced unemployment insurance into the realm of practical politics. Subsequently, the plans for unemployment insurance were taken over (p.62) by Lloyd George, and amalgamated with health insurance in the National Insurance Act of 1911.

The social reforms of the Liberal government have often been described as ‘laying the foundations of the welfare state’. But in the Edwardian period the very phrase ‘welfare state’ was unknown. Churchill, Asquith, and Lloyd George conceived of their reforms as creating a strictly limited safety net. It was not intended to provide social security for all, but to assist families in the struggle to avoid the worst extremes of poverty, or dependence upon the much hated Poor Law. Unemployment insurance applied only to selected trades and benefits were only payable for fifteen weeks. It was assumed that interference in the labour market was to be kept to a minimum. Churchill regarded the Board of Trade reforms as an alternative to socialism. Like so many of his contemporaries, he was impressed by the example of Germany, where labour exchanges and health insurance had been introduced by Bismarck with the aim of integrating the working class into the nation. Comparing Germany with Britain he wrote to Asquith in December 1908: ‘She is organised not only for war but for peace. We are organised only for party politics. The Minister who will apply to this country the successful experience of Germany in social policy may or may not be supported at the polls, but he will at least have a memorial which time will not deface of his administration.’13 In an interview with a reporter from the Daily Mail in August 1909 Churchill said: ‘The idea is to increase the stability of our institutions by giving the mass of industrial workers a direct interest in maintaining them. With a “stake in the country” in the form of insurance against evil days these workers will pay no attention to the vague promises of revolutionary socialism…’14

Churchill’s contention that his Board of Trade reforms were conservative in character was confirmed by the welcome they received from the Conservative front bench. But his Bismarckian language was accompanied by a lively compassion for the underdog. When the rules governing entitlement to unemployment benefit were under discussion at the Board of Trade, Churchill objected strongly to Beveridge’s proposal that workers dismissed for drunkeness or dishonesty should be disqualified from benefit. He wrote:

I do not feel we are entitled to refuse benefit to a qualified man who loses his judgment through drunkeness. He has paid his contributions; he has insured himself against the fact of unemployment, and I think it arguable that his foresight should be rewarded irrespective of the cause of his own dismissal, (p.63) whether he lost his situation through his own habits of intemperance or through his employer’s habits of intemperance. I do not like mixing up moralities and mathematics.15

Churchill, however, lost this particular argument. The safeguards Beveridge recommended were incorporated in the subsequent legislation.

In January 1910 Asquith promoted Churchill to the Home Office. In his new office Churchill proposed to carry through a comprehensive reform of penal policy in which the lightening of sentences was accompanied by the exclusion of various categories of offender from prison, and the improvement of prison conditions. Owing to the fact that he was at the Home Office for only a short time, he left with much of his agenda unfulfilled. But it was a dazzling performance while it lasted, and exemplified the kind of Liberalism that was most in harmony with his personality: the extension of mercy to the weak and powerless.

Though Churchill paid close attention to individual cases, his main concern was to reduce the blatant social bias of the courts against the poor and the working class. The overwhelming majority of crimes in Edwardian Britain consisted of petty offences committed by poor people. These offences were often punished by imprisonment, and offenders with three or more convictions were liable to be sentenced under ‘preventive detention’, a regime of imprisonment for up to ten years which had been introduced by Churchill’s predecessor, Herbert Gladstone.

As Home Secretary, Churchill had the right to vary the sentences imposed by the courts. He decided to pursue a systematic policy of reducing sentences wherever it seemed to him that the punishment was disproportionate to the crime. Unlike his predecessor, he did not wait for pleas of mercy, but searched the criminal calendars for relevant cases. He was particularly active in reviewing sentences of preventive detention and threatened at one point to abolish the act which authorized it. He would liked to have gone much further and imposed on the judges a new scale of penalties, but left the Home Office before he could pursue the idea.16

Churchill’s compassion for the underdog ought not to be confused with the permissive liberalism of the later twentieth century. His policies fully reflected the authoritarian strand in Edwardian social thought. He was eager to introduce compulsory labour colonies for vagrants, a favourite conception of the Webbs. For young offenders he proposed, as an alternative to imprisonment, ‘defaulters’ drill’ to be performed at (p.64) police stations. This was a wholly Churchillian idea, inspired no doubt by his experience in the army.17 In the event, neither labour colonies nor defaulters’ drill was introduced. It was the duty of the Home Secretary to review all death sentences and recommend clemency wherever he felt it was justified. Churchill recommended a reprieve in 21 cases out of 43. But the rate of reprieve was already running at 40 per cent in the first decade of the century.18 Like his Board of Trade reforms, Churchill’s penal policies were broadly in line with long-term trends in opinion and practice. But in penal policy he was more independent of the experts; the regulation of the labour market involved technical problems in which he lacked expertise, but he was confident that he understood the basic issues of crime and punishment. He took the initiative in policy-making and pressed ideas on his officials. Sir Edward Troup, the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office, later recalled: ‘Once a week or oftener Churchill came to the office bringing with him some adventurous or impossible projects; but after half an hour’s discussion something was evolved which was still adventurous but not impossible.’19

The Home Office was the department responsible for the regulation of working conditions in mines, factories, and shops. This enabled Churchill to consolidate his record on welfare legislation through the passage, in 1911, of the Coal Mines Act and the Shops Act. The Coal Mines Bill, a measure to improve health and safety in the mines, arose mainly from the recommendations of a Royal Commission, but was enthusiastically promoted by Churchill in the hope of improving his relations with the miners after the Tonypandy affair. The main provision of the Shops Bill, a proposal to limit the hours of shop assistants to 60 hours per week, was wrecked by the opposition of large retailers, who feared that it would benefit the self-employed shopkeeper at their expense. The Shops Act of 1911 was a feeble measure, though it did ensure, subject to Home Office arbitration, a weekly half-holiday for shop assistants.20

The reforms Churchill sponsored at the Board of Trade and the Home Office were, broadly speaking, bipartisan. Hence he was able to recommend them in ‘Bismarckian’ terms as contributions to the strength and unity of the nation. But in wider party politics Churchill was a radical who consistently attacked the Conservatives as a party of wealthy vested interests conspiring to exploit the poor. In the budget of 1909 Lloyd George proposed a range of new taxes on wealth and landed property. The Conservatives attacked them as socialist, and the (p.65) rejection of the budget by the House of Lords precipitated a constitutional crisis. Churchill campaigned for the budget, and against the House of Lords, with all the pugnacity of which he was capable. He believed, no doubt, what he said at the time. But as a radical demagogue he was not wholly plausible. As Lady Violet Bonham Carter pointed out, Churchill picked up the language of radicalism from Lloyd George, but ‘the words that rang true in his mouth rang false in Winston’s. For the first time in my experience of him I felt that he was—quite unconsciously—wearing fancy-dress.’21

Churchill’s paternalism was never to disappear from his politics. But his radicalism faded between 1911 and 1914. In October 1910 Lloyd George canvassed his secret proposal for a Coalition government; Churchill expressed great enthusiasm, but the plan fell through. After this Churchill and Lloyd George began to diverge. Churchill continued to hanker after a rapprochement with the Conservatives. After his appointment to the Admiralty in October 1911 he began to see himself as an increasingly ‘national’ figure and to champion naval rather than social expenditure. Lloyd George reverted to his radical roots and began to prepare the great land campaign of 1913–14. Churchill displayed very little enthusiasm. In the end, he agreed to support the campaign, but only as part of a deal whereby Lloyd George promised to finance naval expansion.22 The deal broke down in January 1914, when Lloyd George openly attacked the naval estimates and Churchill was almost forced to resign. Lloyd George and Churchill were both highly pragmatic politicians, but they were playing from different strengths and backgrounds. Lloyd George understood the class consciousness of the radical dissenter, who viewed the landlord class from below. Churchill was the paternal aristocrat who believed in the improvement of the social order from above.

From 1911 to 1918 Churchill was absorbed in naval and military affairs. But an underlying paternalism was sometimes visible. At the Admiralty he improved the pay and conditions of the lower deck. As officer in command of the sixth battalion of the Royal Scottish Fusiliers, in the trenches in 1916, he was solicitous for the welfare of his men, who were mainly miners from Ayrshire.23 From the back-benches, in August 1916, he argued in favour of rationing to protect the poor from the effects of rising prices. After the Coalition victory in the general election of 1918 Churchill wrote to Lloyd George to say that in his view the main task of the new government would be to ‘rescue the weak and the poor’.24 In the Lloyd George Coalition of (p.66) 1918–22 Churchill was Secretary for War and Colonial Secretary. It was during this period that Churchill, who had already lost his reputation as a radical, came to be widely regarded as a reactionary. His anti-Bolshevik crusade in Russia, and strident hostility to the Labour Party at home, produced a transformation of rhetoric. He abandoned the language of social progress in favour of a language of negative anti-socialism. Former Liberal allies like H. W. Massingham, or MacCallum Scott, his first biographer, turned sharply against him.

Churchill’s shift to the right was a consequence of the polarization of British politics. The disintegration of the Liberal Party, the rise of Labour, the syndicalist challenge, and the fear of Bolshevik subversion brought out in him the latent conservatism of the Edwardian era. But it is also true to say that Churchill exploited the polarization of politics in his own interest. As a Coalition Liberal, dependent on the patronage of Lloyd George and the goodwill of the Conservative party, he was insecure. In calling for the creation of a permanent anti-socialist bloc, he was trying to resolve the problem of his own political identity.

This helps to explain why Churchill banged the anti-socialist drum so loudly after 1918. But as the records of the Lloyd George Coalition show, he was more favourable to a policy of social appeasement in the Cabinet room than on the public platform. In April 1919, for example, against a background of severe industrial unrest, he urged the Cabinet to adopt a recommendation of the National Industrial Conference in favour of a minimum wage: ‘The Secretary of State for War strongly approved recognition of the principle of wage minima. In his opinion the real answer of ordered society to Bolshevism was the frank recognition of minimum standards and open access to the highest posts in industry.’25 Of all the members of the Lloyd George Cabinet it was Churchill who most strongly favoured a levy on war wealth, an issue on which he eventually found himself in a minority of one.26 In July 1921 he strongly opposed a cut in the housing programme but was overruled.27 As Colonial Secretary he urged the adoption of two imperial schemes to reduce unemployment at home: assisted emigration to the Dominions, and loans for the promotion of capital projects in the colonies.28 Churchill evidently feared that the Coalition was losing working-class support to Labour, and probably realized that class politics were undermining his majority in Dundee. When he lost the seat in the general election of 1922, he wrote in a private letter: ‘When one thinks of the kind of lives the poor of Dundee have to live, one cannot be indignant at the way they voted.’29 (p.67)

In 1923 Baldwin fought and lost a general election on a protectionist platform. With protectionism out of the way, Churchill could hoist once more the anti-socialist flag. In March 1924 he stood as an Independent at the Abbey by-election. But while he still emphasized the primacy of anti-socialism, Churchill now adopted a more positive tone on social reform. He was eager to attune himself to the Baldwinite mood of social reconciliation, and began to play on his Edwardian past He reminded the electorate of the Abbey division of his progressive credentials:

Although my war record is frequently referred to, I have a large number of measures of social reform to my credit. These seem to have been forgotten, My interest in social reform is very real, and it is only because I feel that I will be able to assist in remedial legislation dealing with housing, and the extension of National Insurance, so as to give real security against the common hazards of life, that I am willing to stand before you.’30

Churchill’s reference to housing deserves elaboration. In 1923 the Glaswegian industrialist Lord Weir unveiled a plan for the mass production of prefabricated houses by unskilled labour. Since it was likely to set the government on a collision course with the building trades, the Weir plan was problematical, and cautiously received by Baldwin and Chamberlain. But Churchill adopted it with enthusiasm as a means of tackling simultaneously the problems of housing and unemployment., Another point in its favour, he believed, was the potential appeal of an ambitious housing programme to women voters.31

When the Conservatives won the general election of 1924, Baldwin rewarded Churchill for his return to the party by appointing him to the Treasury. Generally speaking, Churchill was an orthodox Chancellor, Though he sometimes practised a little sleight of hand with the figures, he believed in the balanced budget and the other principles of orthodox finance. But in another sense, he was less orthodox. He inherited from his father, Lord Randolph, a conception of the Treasury as a platform for popular politics. He had also, no doubt, learned much from Lloyd George and the ‘People’s Budget’—but as a Conservative Chancellor he had no wish to imitate the radicalism of 1909. His aim was to convert the Treasury into the headquarters of a Tory Democracy. In the words of his Private Secretary, P. J. Grigg, Churchill intended to make the Treasury ‘an active instrument of Government social policy instead of a passive concomitant or even, as it sometimes was, an active opponent’.32 (p.68)

One of Churchill’s first decisions as Chancellor was to lend his support to the proposals of Neville Chamberlain, the Minister of Health, for the extension of social insurance. The Widows, Orphans and Old Age Pensions Bill was of great personal significance to Churchill as a continuation of the system of social security which he and Lloyd George had founded. Lloyd George had, indeed, intended to include pensions for widows and orphans in his National Insurance Bill of 1911, but had been forced to abandon the idea because of opposition from the friendly societies. By adopting the Bill as Treasury policy, Churchill was able both to identify himself with Baldwin’s Conservatism, and to emphasize the continuity of his own commitment to social reform. As Churchill saw it, the case for social insurance was exactly the same as it had been in 1908, and he fortified himself by dipping into the phrases and arguments he had used in the past. When a delegation of employers warned of the damaging effects for industry of an extension of social insurance, Churchill replied:

Personally, I feel that the system of insurance, whatever may be the effects on the self-reliance of the individual, is going to be an absolutely inseparable element in our social life and eventually must have the effect of attaching the minds of the people, although in many cases their language and mood may not seem to indicate it—it must lead to the stability and order of the general structure.33

Whatever Churchill may have wished, his achievement in social policy at the Treasury was strictly limited. This was partly for the obvious reason that it was the role of Treasury to control and contain public expenditure. In addition Churchill was under strong pressure, as a Conservative Chancellor, to reduce taxation for the benefit of employers and the middle classes in general. He deliberately coupled the announcement of the social insurance scheme with a reduction of six-pence in the income tax—the tax on profits, fees, and salaries. At the same time he announced that Britain would return to the Gold Standard. This, too, restricted his room for manœluvre. By depressing trade, and precipitating a long and costly dispute in the coal industry, the Gold Standard also restricted the revenue at Churchill’s disposal.

The social policy of the Baldwin government was largely the work of Neville Chamberlain, the Minister of Health. Shortly after his arrival at the Treasury, Churchill proposed to Chamberlain that they should cooperate politically in framing the government’s programme. No doubt he had in mind the relationship between himself and Lloyd George in the Asquith Cabinet. But Churchill and Chamberlain seldom worked (p.69) easily together and their conceptions of politics were different. Churchill wanted a few bold strokes that would lend themselves to electoral propaganda, Chamberlain a more efficient administrative structure for the social services. Housing policy was a case in point. Churchill would have liked to see a bold experiment in mass housing along the lines of the Weir plan. But Chamberlain preferred a modest pilot scheme.34

A notable feature of Churchill’s period at the Treasury was his persistent concern over the high levels of unemployment which had prevailed since the onset of the depression in 1920. It is well known that fear of the consequences for employment lay at the root of his apprehensions over the return to Gold. Though he defended the decision stoutly in public, in private he blamed both Montagu Norman, the Governor of the Bank of England, and Sir Otto Niemeyer, the Controller of Finance at the Treasury, for leading him up the garden path of deflation. This had produced, wrote Churchill in a blazing letter to Niemeyer, ‘bad trade, hard times, an immense increase in unemployment involving costly and unwise remedial measures, attempts to reduce wages in conformity with the cost of living and so increase the competitive power, fierce labour disputes arising therefrom, with expense to the State and community measured by hundreds of millions’.35

As this letter makes clear, Churchill did not believe that public works (‘costly and unwise remedial measures’) offered an effective solution. If he had not been overborne by the Bank and the Treasury, his own preference would have been for a more reflationary fiscal and monetary policy, with less emphasis upon the strict Treasury principles of a balanced budget, provision for the Sinking Fund, and high interest rates. But in all these respects Churchill was boxed in.

Churchill was not an incipient Keynesian. In his view the consequence of the strict deflationary policies of the Bank and the Treasury had been to overburden industry with taxation: one of the keys to industrial revival was therefore to cut taxes. But as this was an extremely difficult goal to achieve, Churchill hit on the alternative of redistributing the tax burden by derating industry and transferring the cost to the consumer. His derating scheme, announced with a great fanfare in the budget of April 1928, was undoubtedly an employment policy, though not intended as a panacea or quick solution to the problem. Churchill regarded Lloyd George’s campaign for loan-financed public works as unsound and unconvincing. (p.70)

To sum up Churchill’s period at the Treasury, we can say that he carried into the age of Baldwin a residue of the politics of pre-war social reform. But he was far less successful in translating his ideas into practice than he had been from 1908 to 1911. A Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer was not the same thing as a Liberal Home Secretary. But in any event Churchill’s room for manœuvre was strictly limited after the major decisions announced in his first budget.

After the Conservative defeat of 1929, Churchill continued for a time as an Opposition spokesman on economic affairs. He attacked the Labour government for liberal and extravagant expenditure on the dole’. But in January 1931 he resigned from the Shadow Cabinet in order to lead the Tory diehards in their revolt against Baldwin over India. After this he seldom intervened in domestic affairs. In 1932–3 he was strongly critical of the National government for its failure to pursue a more energetic attack on unemployment, which had risen to three million in the slump. In March 1936 he suddenly rose one evening in the House of Commons to attack the government for imposing a Household Means Test on the unemployed:

When we were introducing the legislation in regard to Old Age Pensions the whole trend of it…was to consolidate the home, and give the old man and the old woman who sit by the ingle nook something to pay their way in the cottage home, something to give them the right to sit there and make it possible for their dependants and children to support them. It was a matter of weaving together the ties of the family. Now this household means test, which is so much considered at the present time and which has much to be said for it plausibly at first sight, is found to work a splitting function in regard to this home life, and to invite people in the same family, under the same roof, to ask, ‘What are you doing, what are you bringing in?’ and to assess in a meticulous and invidious fashion each other’s relative contribution to the maintenance of the family circle.36

Apart from such rare interventions, Churchill had nothing to say of social policy after 1931. India, rearmament, and foreign policy occupied him to the exclusion of all else. The social surveys of the 1930s, and the evidence they supplied of poverty, malnutrition, and ill-health, passed him by. His view of social policy was increasingly retrospective. He regarded it, like the Empire, as a great British achievement in which he was proud to have played a part. Addressing social workers at the Edinburgh University Settlement in 1931 he declared that he had been ‘directly concerned and mainly responsible for more social legislation than anybody else’: (p.71)

If he looked back on his early days at the Board of Trade, when they established the Labour Exchanges and the outline and foundation of unemployment insurance…and the legislation affecting coal mines, the regulation of trade disputes and the more humane treatment of the convict population in prisons—in all these matters he was thrown closely into touch with social workers, and learned to have a respect for those who made it part of their life and duty to champion the cause of the weak and the poor.’37

In later years Churchill was often to reiterate his claims to a prominent place in history as a social reformer. Churchill also maintained that social reform had fulfilled its Edwardian promise by strengthening and uniting the nation. In March 1936 Hitler marched his troops into the Rhineland. Six weeks later, Churchill spoke in the debate on Neville Chamberlain’s budget. After complimenting Chamberlain on the success of his economic policy, he turned to the subject of the social services:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke with pride the day before yesterday about the increasing growth of our social services. I share in that feeling. I will only say about our social services, with the creation and development of which I have been connected on and off for many years, that they must not be considered as a weakening of the strength of the nation. On the contrary, I believe they have greatly added to our strength; I believe they have given us that foundation which is essential to national unity, and without which it would be hopeless for us to make headway against the many perils which are moving towards us.38

In June 1939, shortly after the introduction of conscription, Churchill spoke with pride of the greatly improved physique of the new recruits by comparison with the soldiers of 1914: ‘What a vindication all this has been for our social services and those who have worked for them! There is no more far-seeing investment for a nation than to put milk, food and education into young children.’39

To Churchill, social policy was less a problem for the future than a record of progress accomplished. This is one reason why, as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945, he took for so long a negative view of the clamour for social reform. In August 1940 the War Cabinet set up a committee to discuss war aims. Churchill felt that there was little need for a declaration on domestic reform. The Tory party, he reflected, was ‘the strength of the country: few things needed to be changed quickly and drastically; what conservatism, as envisaged by Disraeli, stood for was the gradual increase of amenities for an even larger number of people, who should enjoy the benefits previously reserved for the very few.’40 (p.72)

Churchill was also opposed to the discussion of post-war reforms in wartime for a more substantial reason, as he explained to the editor of the Manchester Guardian in March 1941:

The necessary thing was to win the war, and any statement on peace aims would either be a collection of platitudes or would be dangerous to the present unity. We did not want a statement that dealt with any of the hotly disputed things in domestic affairs, and it was going to be difficult at the end of the war not to have a breach on questions like property and socialism.41

Churchill tried hard to prevent the raising of peacetime issues in wartime. He rejected the proposals of the War Cabinet’s Committee on War Aims. He forbade R. A. Butler to proceed with an Education Bill in wartime. He sacked Reith, the Minister of Works and Planning, for going too far to the left in his proposals for a central planning authority to control land use. But Churchill’s negative approach produced a result that was entirely unexpected. In creating a policy vacuum he also created the opportunity for William Beveridge.

In his report of December 1942 Beveridge proposed a comprehensive system of social insurance supported by family allowances, a national health service, and policy to maintain employment. Both Churchill, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Kingsley Wood, the current Chancellor, feared that the Beveridge proposals would cost too much and impose too heavy a burden on post-war industry. But so great was the groundswell of popular support for Beveridge that it would have been dangerous to reject it out of hand. More pressing, for Churchill, was the need to maintain the unity of the Coalition government. The Labour Party was profoundly pro-Beveridge and some compromise was essential if the leaders of the party were to remain in office. The War Cabinet accepted Churchill’s ruling that there was to be no legislation in wartime. But the government accepted many of Beveridge’s recommendations in principle, and undertook to prepare the plans for post-war legislation. In February 1943 Churchill complained to his Parliamentary Private Secretary, George Harvie-Watt, that the government had gone further towards accepting the Report than he would have done himself. Beveridge, he grumbled, was ‘an awful windbag and a dreamer’. But Churchill quickly realized that if the Report could not be resisted the best course was to appropriate it. In March he went on the radio to announce that his government would prepare a ‘Four-Year Plan’ of post-war social reform. On the specific topic of social insurance he declared: ‘You must rank me and my colleagues as strong partisans (p.73) of national compulsory insurance for all classes for all purposes from the cradle to the grave.’42

Attlee was once asked why action on the Beveridge Report was postponed. He replied: ‘I think the real reason was that Winston planned to come in as the first post-war Prime Minister and he thought it would be a nice thing to have the Beveridge Report to put through as an act of his Government.’43 There is much evidence to support Attlee’s contention. By the spring of 1945 the Coalition government had prepared draft bills for comprehensive social insurance, family allowances, and a national health service. This is not to say that a Churchill government after 1945 would have introduced a welfare state identical to that which Labour introduced. The health service would certainly have been organized differently. On the eve of the general election Churchill’s ‘Caretaker Government’ made concessions to the doctors that would greatly have weakened the government’s control over the administration of the scheme. Churchill forbade an announcement of the changes proposed.44

In the general election campaign Churchill again spoke of his ‘Four-Year Plan’, and much of his second broadcast was devoted to the subject of health. But his references to social policy were almost entirely eclipsed by anti-socialist scare tactics, of which the most preposterous was his warning that a Labour government would inevitably introduce ‘some form of Gestapo’ into Britain. Churchill plainly failed to appreciate the importance attached by the electorate to such issues as housing and employment policy: but he was, of course, physically and mentally exhausted—and under the illusion that he was going to win.

As Leader of the Opposition between 1945 and 1951 Churchill confined himself mainly to opportunist attacks on the economic record of the Attlee governments. But in social policy he invariably contested the Labour Party’s claim to a monopoly of social concern, and insisted that the credit for devising the post-war welfare state should be given to the wartime Coalition, and not to the Attlee governments. In a House of Commons debate of 1949, he declared:

It really is remarkable that the accusation of being callous about unemployment or the welfare of the people should be launched against me, the author of the labour exchanges and the first Unemployment Insurance Act, and, as Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, of the Old Age Pensions Act being lowered from 70 to 65 and the institution of the Widows and Orphans Act. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman or anybody on those benches can show services to the working classes equal to those I have mentioned they will (p.74) be more free to throw stones at others. All the benevolent and beneficial aspects of this Parliament were actually planned…by the National Coalition government of which I was the head and which rested on an overall Conservative majority in the House of 150.45

Churchill no doubt judged that a strong declaration of support for the welfare state was a necessary precondition of a Conservative return to power. But he did not envisage another round of expansion in the social services. Talking to R. A. Butler in 1950 he remarked that the politics of social policy were wearing thin, owing to the fact that the worker now had to pay: ‘There will, in future, be much less politics in social reform though much perhaps in economic breakdown.’46

When Churchill returned to office in October 1951, the Conservative strategy was to retain the welfare state and full employment, while dismantling as fast as possible the Labour government’s apparatus of economic controls. The case for continuity in welfare and employment policy was reinforced by the narrow margin of the Conservative victory. With an overall majority of 17 the government was secure enough in the House of Commons. But more votes had been cast for Labour than for the Conservatives: the party, it seemed, was still on trial.

Churchill’s outlook in 1951 has been well described by Kenneth Morgan: ‘He was above all anxious to demonstrate his capacity for ordered, peaceful statesmanship, carrying the working class with him in patriotic endeavour, and to refute early accusations that he was an unreconciled class warrior.’47 His first ministerial appointments appeared to signal a government of social conciliation. R. A. Butler was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer, Walter Monckton Minister of Labour, and Harold Macmillan Minister of Housing. But the position was complicated by the balance of payments crisis inherited from the previous government. This led the Treasury to press on the new government two radical courses of action that would have been deeply unpopular if implemented.

First the Treasury demanded swingeing economies in the health service. The Minister of Health, H. F. C. Crookshank, and the Secretary of State for Scotland, James Stuart, were eager to oblige with a long list of cuts and charges. Crookshank, for instance, wanted to charge patients a guinea a week for hospital maintenance, with graduated charges for hospital appliances. Fortunately for the government, these proposals never became public knowledge. They were whittled away in ministerial discussions and Crookshank was left with only minor economies to announce.48 But even these aroused strong Conservative (p.75) hostility, and Crookshank was plainly losing his grip on the House of Commons. In March 1952 Churchill was present in the House when Aneurin Bevan denounced the government for dismantling the National Health Service. He was answered, in a fine attacking speech, by the Conservative MP Iain Macleod. Two months later Churchill appointed Macleod as Minister of Health. It is not clear what Churchill’s own view of the health service controversy was. He may have appointed Macleod for his debating powers rather than his commitment to the health service. But the consequence was that the NHS was now in the hands of a politician who believed in it, and entered a phase of comparative tranquillity.

In February 1952 the Bank of England and the Treasury tried to bounce the Cabinet into ‘Operation Robot’, a plan to make sterling convertible and float the pound. The Chancellor, R. A. Butler, was converted, and put the proposal to the Cabinet. The Robot plan was a radical attempt to cure the balance of payments problem by abandoning the managed economy and the Conservative commitment to full employment. As Butler explained to Churchill:

It will be seen that this new course in our external policy requires a complete rethinking of the whole of our economic policies which have been in operation, fundamentally with the support of all parties, during the past few years…the basic idea of internal stability of prices and employment, which has dominated economic policy for so long, will not be attainable.49

At the end of February the Cabinet was divided over the plan and Churchill was unable to make up his mind. A few days later Cherwell, a strong opponent of ‘Robot’, overheard Churchill musing on the attractions of ‘setting the pound free’. He wrote to the Prime Minister:

I hope you will be under no misapprehension as to what all this means. It means that whenever our exports fail to pay for our imports, the value of the pound will fall until imports diminish…If this fails to close the gap the Bank Rate will have to be raised until more firms close down and dismiss their workers, leading to a further fall in demand for imported materials and food. If a 6% Bank Rate, 1 million unemployed and a 2s loaf are not enough, then there will have to be an 8% Bank Rate and a 3s loaf…

To rely frankly on high prices and unemployment to reduce imports would certainly put the Conservative Party out for a generation.50

After some hestitation, Churchill postponed a decision on ‘Robot’. The plan faded away, and full employment was preserved.

After this, Churchill was free to pursue his policy of outflanking the (p.76) Labour Party by conciliating the trade unions and the working class. In July 1952 a delegation from the General Council of the Trades Union Congress went to Downing Street to put the case for a million workers covered by wages councils in the distributive and allied trades. According to the report in The Times:

Mr Churchill listened attentively to all that the TUC representatives had to say. In promising to give full consideration to their arguments he recalled that when he was President of the Board of Trade, over forty years ago, he was responsible for the legislation which established trade boards to protect conditions of employment for the lowest paid workers, and added that he had always taken a close personal interest in the subject.51

In June 1952 Churchill was alarmed when the unemployment total threatened to rise above half a million. This would have made the government vulnerable to a Labour accusation of abandoning full employment. Churchill therefore appointed a committee to propose the creation of more jobs through public works. As unemployment figures then fell without government intervention, no action was required and the committee lapsed.52 But the episode demonstrates Churchill’s sensitivity to the politics of employment.

His other main concern was the housing programme. As Leader of the Opposition, Churchill had strongly attacked the Labour government’s record on housing, and promised that a Conservative government would improve on it. Then, in October 1950, the party conference had carried a resolution from the floor which pledged a future Conservative government to build a minimum of 300,000 houses a year. Churchill had promised that such a programme would be ‘our first priority in time of peace’. During the summer of 1952 there was a prolonged dispute between the Treasury and Harold Macmillan over the scale of capital investment in the housing programme. Determined that the party must redeem its pledge of 300,000 houses a year, Churchill summed up in favour of Macmillan.53

Churchill lived too long, and played too many roles, to rank as a consistent figure in the history of social policy. From a review of his record some conclusions may be drawn. Firstly, the Edwardian period was plainly the most important, and demonstrates the significance of political leadership in translating ideas into policies. Without Asquith, Lloyd George, and Churchill, the welfare reforms of the period might never have been enacted. Secondly, the Edwardian period was not an (p.77) isolated episode. Churchill’s interest in social policy owed something to the rhetoric of Tory Democracy. To some extent, also, he carried forward his ideas of social reform into the 1920s. Thirdly, the social problems of the 1930s were a blank page in his mind. He was a negative influence in the Second World War and a reluctant convert to social reconstruction. The welfare state of 1911 had, in a sense, been his; but the welfare state of 1951 was thrust upon him.

Churchill was a great believer in historical continuity, and managed to invest his own career with a consistency it seldom possessed. But he was consistent in his general view of society. He formed early in life a strong sense of the value of social reform. It was the constructive alternative to socialism, and a source of unity and strength for Britain as a Great Power. Over a period of more than half a century his language on the subject was remarkably consistent, and we should not dismiss it as mere rhetoric. It was an outlook firmly grounded in Churchill’s personality and social background. Contemporaries recognized in Churchill, at widely different periods, a paternal view of society. Charles Masterman, who saw him in action at the Board of Trade and the Home Office, wrote of him: ‘He desired in England a state of things where a benign upper class dispensed benefits to an industrious, bien pensant, and grateful working class.’ The press proprietor, Lord Riddell, whose diary records many conversations with Churchill, wrote in 1919: ‘His conception of the State consists in a well-paid, well-nur-tured people, managed and controlled by a Winston or Winstons.’ Finally Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary in the wartime Coalition, remarked of him in 1942: ‘He’s full of sympathy you know, for the ordinary British man and woman, and doesn’t like inflicting hardship on them. He’s the old benevolent Tory squire, who does all he can for the people—provided always that they are good obedient people and loyally recognise his position, and theirs.’54

Where did this paternal disposition come from? It can hardly have come from Lord Randolph, whose Tory Democracy was nothing but cold calculation. It is unlikely to have come from Rosebery or Lloyd George or the other father figures of his youth. One explanation may be that it stemmed from his childhood relationship with his nanny, Mrs Anne Everest. The one person who loved and cared for him when he was a child, she brought out in him a chivalrous attitude towards his social inferiors. At the age of 19 he was outraged when she was dismissed from the employment of the Churchill family, and did his best to ensure that she was provided for in old age. Churchill was, of (p.78) course, an aristocrat in his conviction that he was born to rule. But he saw it as the duty of his class, and hence of the state, to protect the weak and the poor. The strong and rebellious were an altogether different matter.


(1) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (London, 1991), p. xix.

(2) Henry Pelling, Winston Churchill (London, 1974), 73, quoting from the Oldham Standard, 1 July 1899.

(3) Randolph S. Churchill, Winston S. Churchill, companion vol. ii, part 1, p. 111. The review was unpublished and undated.

(4) Robert Rhodes James (ed.), Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches (New York, 1974), i. 152–3, speech of 12 May 1902.

(5) Norman and Jeanne McKenzie (eds.), The Diary of Beatrice Webb, ii: 1892–1905 (London, 1986), 327, diary for 10 June 1904.

(6) Rhodes James (ed.), Complete Speeches, i. 675–6, speech of 11 Oct. 1906.

(7) Peter Clarke, Lancashire and the New Liberalism (Cambridge, 1971), 189–91.

(8) Churchill to Alexander Murray, Master of Elibank, 28 Sept. 1906, Elibank MSS 8801, National Library of Scotland.

(p.524) (9) Churchill to J. A. Spender, 22 Dec. 1907, BM Add. MSS 46, 388.

(10) For the social policy context and the role of the Board of Trade see Roger Davidson, ‘Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith and Labour Policy 1886–1916’, Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis (1971); José Harris, Unemployment and Politics: A Study in English Social Policy 1886–1914 (Oxford, 1972); José Harris, William Beveridge: A Biography (Oxford, 1977), ch. 6.

(11) Lucy Masterman, C. F. G. Masterman: A Biography (London, 1939), 97.

(12) For Churchill’s impact see Harris, Unemployment and Politics, 276–7, 293–4; Bentley B. Gilbert, The Evolution of National Insurance in Great Britain (London, 1966), 252–3; Beveridge Papers III/36, Typescript of address to commemorate 50th anniversary of labour exchanges, London School of Economics.

(13) Randolph S. Churchill, Churchill, companion vol. ii, part 2, p. 863, Churchill to Asquith, 29 Dec. 1908.

(14) Harris, Unemployment and Politics, 365.

(15) Beveridge Papers III/39 Z2, ‘Notes on Malingering’, 6 June 1909.

(16) Sir Leon Radzinovicz and Roger Hood, A History of English Criminal Law and its Administration from 1750, v: The Emergence of Penal Policy (London, 1986), 770–3; V. A. C. Gatrell, ‘Crime, Authority and the Policeman-State’, in F. M. L. Thompson (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain (Cambridge, 1989), iii. 308–9.

(17) PRO HO 45/10631/200605, Memo by Churchill of 8 July 1910.

(18) Radzinovicz and Hood, English Criminal Law, 677.

(19) Quoted in Violet Bonham-Carter, Winston Churchill as I Knew Him (London, 1965), 220–1.

(20) R. S. Churchill, Churchill, ii. 423–4; Michael J. Winstanley, The Shopkeeper’s World (Manchester, 1983), 96–9.

(21) Bonham-Carter, Winston Churchill, 164.

(22) John M. McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries 1908–1923 (London, 1986), 71, diary entry for 31 Oct./1 Nov. 1913.

(23) Arthur J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era 1904–1919, i: The Road to War 1904–1914 (Oxford, 1961), 267; ‘Captain X’ (Andrew Dewar Gibb), With Winston Churchill at the Front (London, 1924), 72–7.

(24) Rhodes James (ed.), Complete Speeches, iii. 2485–90, speech of 22 Aug. 1916; Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, companion vol. iv, part 1, p. 447, Churchill to Lloyd George, 26 Dec. 1918.

(25) PRO CAB 23/10 WC 557, 16 Apr. 1919.

(26) Gilbert, Churchill, companion vol. iv, part 2, p. 791, Churchill to Lloyd George, 4 Aug. 1919; Mary Elizabeth Short, ‘The Politics of Personal Taxation: Budget-Making in Britain 1917–1931’, Cambridge University Ph.D. thesis (1985), 83.

(27) Kenneth O. Morgan, Consensus and Disunity: The Lloyd George Coalition Government 1918–1922 (Oxford, 1979), 102–3.

(28) W. B. Garside, British Unemployment 1919–1939 (Cambridge, 1990), 182, 190.

(29) Gilbert, Churchill, companion vol. iv, part 3, p. 2126, Churchill to Wolfe, 20 Nov.

(30) Rhodes James (ed.), Complete Speeches, iv. 3443, speech of 12 Mar. 1924.

(31) W. J. Reader, Architect of Air Power: The Life of the First Viscount Weir of Eastwood 1877–1959 (London, 1968), 117–20; for Churchill on housing see his article in The Weekly Dispatch, 13 July 1924, reprinted in Michael Wolff (ed.), The Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, ii: Churchill and Politics (n.d.), 141–2.

(32) P. J. Grigg, Prejudice and Judgement (London, 1948), 174.

(33) PRO T 171/247, Deputation from National Confederation of Employers Organisations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Social Services, 4 Mar. 1925.

(p.525) (34) Reader, Architect of Air Power, 124; David Dilks, Neville Chamberlain, i: Pioneering and Reform 1869–1929 (London, 1984), 424.

(35) Gilbert, Churchill, companion vol. v, part 1, p. 997, Churchill to Niemeyer, 20 May 1927.

(36) Parliamentary Debates (Commons), vol. 310, 31 Mar. 1936, col. 1968.

(37) The Scotsman, 6 Mar. 1931, 13.

(38) Parliamentary Debates (Commons), vol. 311, 23 Apr. 1936, col. 334.

(39) Rhodes James (ed.), Complete Speeches, v. 6143, speech of 28 June 1939.

(40) John Colville, The Fringes of Power: Downing Street Diaries, 1939–1955 (London, 1985), 216, diary for 10 Aug. 1940.

(41) A. J. P. Taylor (ed.), W. P. Crozier: Off the Record: Political Interviews 1933–1943 (London, 1973), 212, interview of 12 Mar. 1941.

(42) G. S. Harvie-Watt, Most of My Life (London, 1980), 117; Rhodes James (ed.), Complete Speeches, vii. 6760, broadcast of 21 Mar. 1943.

(43) Francis Williams, A Prime Minister Remembers: The War and Post-War Memoirs of the Rt Hon Earl Attlee (London, 1961), 57.

(44) Kevin Jefferys, The Churchill Coalition and Wartime Politics, 1940–1945 (Manchester, 1991), 191–2.

(45) Rhodes James (ed.), Complete Speeches, vii. 7853–4, speech of 28 Sept. 1949.

(46) John Ramsden, The Making of Conservative Party Policy (London, 1980), 147.

(47) Kenneth O. Morgan, The People’s Peace: British History 1945–1979 (Oxford, 1990), 113.

(48) Charles Webster, The Health Services since the War, i: Problems of Health Care: The National Health Service before 1957 (London, 1988), 185–94.

(49) PRO PREM 11/40, Memorandum on ‘External Action’ by the Chancellor of the Exchequer attached to letter of R. A. Butler to Churchill of 21 Feb. 1952.

(50) PRO PREM 11/137, Cherwell to Churchill, 18 Mar. 1952.

(51) The Times, 25 July 1952.

(52) PRO CAB 11/13, The committee was dissolved in December 1952.

(53) Harold Macmillan, Tides of Fortune 1945–1955 (London, 1969), 411.

(54) Robert Rhodes James, Churchill: A Study in Failure (Harmondsworth, 1973 edn.), 45; McEwen (ed.), The Riddell Diaries, 255, entry for 26 Jan. 1919; Taylor (ed.), Off the Record, 323, conversation with Morrison of 28 May 1942.