Friday, October 06, 2006

rewriting history

Despite the fact that we come from different strands within the Party, I don't often take issue with Hughesy who writes a fine blog, but I don't think I can let this pass unchallenged. In an attempt to have a dig at John McDonnell for saying that people are disillusioned with Blair's Government, Hughesy decides to put the boot in to Clem Atlee for some obscure reason, saying:
"I wonder if he can remember the majority that Attlee managed for his (very short) second term of office after his allegedly ‘successful and highly popular progressive first term’ (according to some leftie mythologists)"
Now, I don't know whether I am a 'leftie mythologist' or not, but let's not deal in myth and look instead at some facts.

In 2005, out of an electorate of 44,245,939, Labour got 9,552,436 votes, approximately 21.5% of the electorate. Labour had a majority of 66 seats

In 1950, out of an electorate of 34,412,255, Labour got 13,266,176 votes, about 38.5% of the electorate and Atlee had a majority in single figures.

Yes, Labour only won a wafer thin majority in 1950, but with more votes than the Conservatives, and with nearly 2 million votes more than they had won in the post-war landslide. Staggeringly, 18 months later, Labour added another 700,000 votes - and lost to the Tories.

So, on a programme of nationalisation, building homes fit for heroes and creating the National Health Service (despite being broke from fighting the War), Labour markedly increased its popularity. In 2005, Labour's 9.5 million votes compares very badly with the 'Things can only get better' euphoria of 1997 when the Party secured 11,348,623 votes. So privatistion, creating a market economy in the National Health Service, and flogging off council housing are hardly the popular policies that the 'right mythologists' would like us to believe.