We all know that Gordon Brown and Ed Balls are economically inept and couldn’t organise a drinks party in a brewery. But this trait is true of all Labour governments, because anyone who understood economics wouldn’t be a socialist.
During the war we had a period of austerity, as all human effort and materials were dedicated to defeating fascism. In January 1940, bacon, butter and sugar were rationed. This was followed by successive ration schemes for meat, tea, jam, biscuits, breakfast cereals, cheese, eggs, lard, milk and canned and dried fruit. Almost all foods apart from vegetables and bread were rationed by August 1942. Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945. So we suffered wartime food rationing for five and a half years.
When the war ended there was no need to keep food rationing. We no longer had the Axis to beat and submarines weren’t sinking our food ships, the market could and should have taken over and rationing should have been abolished. But it wasn’t. Clement Attlee’s Labour government came to power in July 1945 and they had the conceit and the ignorance to believe that they could run the food supply better than the market. Control freaks. This was a disaster for 50 million British people.
Rationing didn’t just continue. It got worse. In July 1945 gift food parcels from overseas weighing more than 5 lb started to be be deducted from the recipient’s ration. In mid 1946 bread (which had never been rationed in the war) was rationed. In March 1947 potato rationing started, once again for the first time, and the weekly ration of meat from the butcher was reduced by two pennies to one shilling’s (5p) worth. Britain was on subsistence, or for many people with hard manual work, semi-starvation. Pictures from this time show people with very low BMIs.
But all this was for ordinary people. Prince Philip had two stag parties, the cake was 9ft high in four tiers and weighed 500lb, the 2,000-plus wedding guests were in a ration free zone.
Germany, which had been utterly destroyed, used capitalism to rebuild (Wirtschaftswunder) and finished rationing in January 1950. France had been trashed by the war and had strict very rationing during it, by 1949 this was all finished.
My uncle ran a milk farm in Monmouthshire, during the post war rationing he was told by the government how much milk to produce. They wouldn’t take any more and he wasn’t allowed to sell any overproduction. So every day he was pouring milk down the drain whilst the country went hungry. This is what happens when the state thinks it knows more than the market.
The Conservative opposition under Winston Churchill was pretty ineffective, he was becoming too old. But they continually said that rationing was not needed and that they would end it and restore the market when they returned to power, Labour said that this was impossible. The 1950 general election was fought largely on the issue of rationing. The Conservative Party campaigned on a manifesto of ending rationing as quickly as possible. The Labour Party (unbelievably) argued for the continuation of rationing indefinitely. Labour was returned, but with its majority badly slashed (enough were still believing the socialist lies). Then in October 1951 the Conservatives came back into power. The end of more than 6 years of Labour starving the British people needlessly, longer and harsher than they had suffered during the war.
Things then rapidly returned to normal as the market and capitalism took over, culminating in the amazing supermarkets that we have today. In 1953 confectionery and sugar rationing finally ended (among the last to go) and finally in 1954 all remaining food rationing ended. Consumption increased from a low average of 2,300 Kcal during Attlee’s misrule to 2,700 under Churchill.
The British people were so disgusted by the way they had been both deceived and starved that they did not vote another Labour government in for 13 years. But when Harold Wilson gained power in 1964 he started the process of trashing our economy all over again. Every Labour government does.
And for any lefty Attlee lovers out there, remember that he used the army and the police to break strikes. Some socialist.