Re: Labour never learns.
- From: JNugent <jenningsltd@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 19:51:29 +0000
On 18/01/2011 18:49, alexander.keys1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
On Jan 18, 2:40 pm, "Truebrit"<trueb...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:Read the last few paragraphs. It would seem Labour even in 1947 spent the
country into penury.
I was 12 when this happened and I do remember it.
Some things never change. This was my earliest memories as a child, maybe
some of you remember it too? Anyone who lived through the winter of 1947
most likely will never forget it.
The weather forecasters are threatening us with a winter of low temperatures
and severe weather. When the first few flakes of snow begin to fall, the
nation is instantly plunged into chaos, the trains cease to run and police
warn everyone to stay indoors, it would be as well to remember past winters
After the Second World War Britain was bombed out, bankrupt, exhausted and
desperately short of fuel. The winter of 1947 sank the country to a level of
deprivation unknown even during the war. A catalogue of weather calamities
precipitated a national crisis and changed Britain and the rest of Europe
for decades afterwards.
The winter began deceptively, with just a brief cold snap before Christmas
1946. Snow lay thick on the ground when, in mid-January, temperatures soared
so high that it felt as if spring had arrived early. The snow thawed so
rapidly that it set off floods - just as hurricane-force winds brought down
roofs, trees and even houses and a railway bridge in Birmingham.
But real winter arrived soon afterwards as the country was gripped in an
Arctic freeze that lasted for two months, with snow whipped into monstrous
drifts that buried roads and railways. The temperature fell to -21C at
On February 20 the Dover to Ostend ferry service was suspended because of
pack-ice off the Belgian coast. It became the coldest February ever recorded
- and there was virtually no sunshine for almost the whole month.
The freeze paralysed coalmines, with coal stocks often stuck at the
collieries by railways and roads buried in snow. Even carrying coal by sea
was hazardous, with storms, fog and iced-over harbours.
A week after the freeze began, the Minister of Fuel and Power, Emmanuel
Shinwell, ordered electricity supplies to be cut to industry, and domestic
electricity supplies to be turned off for five hours each day, to conserve
coal stocks. Whitehall and Buckingham Palace were reduced to working by
candlelight. Television was closed down, radio output reduced, newspapers
cut in size and magazines ordered to stop publishing. The emergency package
hardly made a difference to power supplies but was a crushing blow to public
Food supplies shrank alarmingly and rations were cut even lower than they
had been during the war. Farms were frozen or snowed under, and vegetables
were in such short supply that pneumatic drills were used to dig up parsnips
from frozen fields. For the first time, potatoes were rationed after some 70
000 tons of them were destroyed by the cold.
The Government tried a deeply unpopular campaign to encourage everyone to
eat a cheap South African fish called snoek, millions of tins of which had
been imported - but it tasted disgusting and was used eventually as cat food
Those delivering food supplies were battling to get through blizzards and
snowdrifts, and the Attlee Government was seriously worried that the country
could slide into famine.
March turned out even worse than February. March 5 brought the worst
blizzard of the 20th century. Supplies of food shrank so low that in some
places the police asked for authority to break open stranded lorries
carrying food cargoes. On March 6 The Times reported: "The blizzard has
virtually cut England in two. It is almost impossible to get from South to
Eventually, on March 10, a sustained thaw set in - and triggered another
spectacular disaster. After weeks of deep frost, the ground was so hard that
the melting snow ran off into raging torrents of floodwater and, to make
things worse, a huge storm dropped heavy rain. Indeed, it was the wettest
March on record in England and Wales. The winds whipped up floodwater into
waves that breached dykes in the Fens, flooding 100 square miles of rich
farmland, and houses collapsed. Canada sent food parcels to stricken
villages in Suffolk, and the prime minister of Ontario even offered to help
to dish them out.
It is difficult to imagine a worse run of weather, although the Government
was blamed for the food and fuel crises. Elected in the summer of 1945 with
a landslide majority, the Labour administration had embarked on a radical
programme of nationalisation, including the health service, coalmining,
electricity supply and railways. But it was caught unprepared when people
began to buy electric fires and immersion heaters, and power stations could
not meet the rising demand for energy.
Yet despite the collapsing economy and threat of starvation, the Government
carried on behaving as if it were in control of a world superpower. Military
expenditure was 15 per cent of GDP - far higher than before the war - and
included the development of Britain's own nuclear bomb, as well as forces
stationed in Europe and across the Empire. With a hugely ambitious programme
of free healthcare and reconstruction, it was simply unsustainable. The
winter of 1947 led to savage cuts in public spending at home and contributed
to the humiliating devaluation of sterling from $4 to $2.80 the next year.
Less than two years after winning the war, the nation was left freezing cold
plunged into darkness and on the brink of starvation - and for many people
it showed that national planning and socialism did not work.
Labour was turned out of office in a landslide defeat at the next general
This was an extract from, "Since Records Began: The Highs and Lows of
Britain's Weather" by Paul Simons.
They also had a royal wedding in 1947, of the then Princess Elizabeth
to Prince Philip. Probably not what people expected of a Labour
Were Labour thinking of banning heterosexual marriage even back then?
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