Magazine article New Internationalist

Spirit of '45

Magazine article New Internationalist

Spirit of '45

Article excerpt

FILM Spirit of '45 (94 minutes) directed by Ken Loach

In all Loach's docs we hear those whose views are rarely heard. In this latest one contributors are clear about huge popular support in Britain, at the end of World War Two, for taking major industry and utilities out of private hands and into public ownership, and for setting up - and protecting - the National Health Service.

What lay behind this? People had seen, during war, what a planned economy could achieve. And they wanted no return to pre-War unemployment and poverty. An octogenarian socialist recalls going to school without shoes. Another, in a brilliant sloganed red beret, recalls entering an orphanage after his mother, denied medical attention, died from a haemorrhage.

The post-War gains were huge, but those interviewed reveal a serious failing. As a one-time miner says, the guy who was running the mining company before public ownership was still running it afterwards - Labour's top-down nationalization lacked any popular control. …

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