This from the British Labour party 1945 manifesto. It resonates today, despite globalization, de-industrialization and austerity.
Or probably because of them. And because people still want food, work and homes.
The same things they wanted in 1945
That seem even further out of reach today. Read what Labour promised then – and see what’s been happening in recent years in the UK
WHAT THE ELECTION WILL BE ABOUT
Britain’s coming Election will be the greatest test in our history of the judgement and common sense of our people.
Query: Are you listening Scotland? Are you listening all you non-DUP voters in Northern Ireland?
The nation wants food, work and homes. It wants more than that – it wants good food in plenty, useful work for all, and comfortable, labour – saving homes that take full advantage of the resources of modern science and productive industry. It wants a high and rising standard of living, security for all against a rainy day, an educational system that will give every boy and girl a chance to develop the best that is in them.
Query: Who’s offering these things to the nation? The DUP? the Conservatives? Labour? or the SNP?
These are the aims. If they are to be turned into realities the nation will be called upon to put the nation above any sectional interest, above any free enterprise.
And in stating it we give clear notice that we will not tolerate obstruction of the people’s will by the House of Lords.
The Labour Party stands for freedom – for freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the Press. The freedom of the Trade Unions, denied by the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, 1927, must also be restored.
But there are certain so-called freedoms that Labour will not tolerate: freedom to exploit other people; freedom to pay poor wages and to push up prices for selfish profit; freedom to deprive the people of the means of living full, happy, healthy lives.
JOBS FOR ALL
Our opponents would be ready to use State action to do the best they can to bolster up private industry whenever it plunges the nation into heavy unemployment.
They say, “Full employment. Yes! If we can get it without interfering too much with private industry.”
We say, “Full employment in any case, and if we need to keep a firm public hand on industry in order to get jobs for all, very well. No more dole queues, in order to let the Czars of Big Business remain kings in their own castles. The price of so-called ‘economic freedom’ for the few is too high if it is bought at the cost of idleness and misery for millions.”
The Bank of England with its financial powers must be brought under public ownership, and the operations of the other banks harmonised with industrial needs.
INDUSTRY IN THE SERVICE OF THE NATION
Millions of working and middle class people went through the horrors of unemployment and insecurity. It is not enough to sympathise with these victims: we must develop an acute feeling of national shame – and act.
HOUSES AND THE BUILDING PROGRAMME
Everybody says that we must have houses.
Housing will be one of the greatest and one of the earliest tests of a Government’s real determination to put the nation first.
EDUCATION AND RECREATION
An important step forward has been taken by the passing of the recent Education Act. Labour will put that Act not merely into legal force but into practical effect, including the raising of the school leaving age to 16 at the earliest possible moment, “further” or adult education, and free secondary education for all.
And, above all, let us remember that the great purpose of education is to give us individual citizens capable of thinking for themselves.
National and local authorities should co-operate to enable people to enjoy their leisure to the full, to have opportunities for healthy recreation. By the provision of concert halls, modern libraries, theatres and suitable civic centres, we desire to assure to our people full access to the great heritage of culture in this nation.
HEALTH OF THE NATION AND ITS CHILDREN
By good food and good homes, much avoidable ill-health can be prevented. In addition the best health services should be available free for all. Money must no longer be the passport to the best treatment.
In the new National Health Service there should be health centres where the people may get the best that modern science can offer, more and better hospitals, and proper conditions for our doctors and nurses. More research is required into the causes of disease and the ways to prevent and cure it
SOCIAL INSURANCE AGAINST THE RAINY DAY
The Labour Party has played a leading part in the long campaign for proper social security for all – social provision against rainy days, coupled with economic policies calculated to reduce rainy days to a minimum.
A WORLD OF PROGRESS AND PEACE
We cannot cut ourselves off from the rest of the world – and we ought not to try.
An internationally protected peace should make possible a known expenditure on armaments as our contribution to the protection of peace; an expenditure that should diminish as the world becomes accustomed to the prohibition of war through an effective collective security.
The Labour Party will seek to promote mutual understanding and cordial co-operation between the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, the advancement of India to responsible self-government, and the planned progress of our Colonial Dependencies.
LABOUR’S CALL TO ALL PROGRESSIVES
Quite a number of political parties will be taking part in the coming Election. But by and large Britain is a country of two parties.
The election will produce a Labour Government, a Conservative Government, or no clear majority for either party: this last might well mean parliamentary instability and confusion, or another Election.
In the interests of the nation and of the world, we earnestly urge all progressives to see to it – as they certainly can – that the next Government is a Government which will act on the principles of policy set out in the present Declaration
NB You can read the whole text of the 1945 Labour Manifesto at the link below
Thanks to STEVE ASANEILEAN
who provided it in his comment to the post: