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Labour Party (UK)

  • Originally published 03/26/2013

    Polly Toynbee: Labour Needs to Recapture the Spirit and Nerve of 1945

    Polly Toynbee is a columnist for the Guardian. She was formerly BBC social affairs editor, columnist and associate editor of the Independent, co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer...Here we are in the worst crisis of our lifetime, in the depths a long slump with no end in sight – demand dead, companies hoarding cash, most cuts still to come and bound to depress future growth. The bottom half lose most as real wages fall, while rents, food and fuel prices rise. Nothing gets better as deficit and debt soar. What better time for Ken Loach's new documentary, Spirit of 45, a patchwork of old documentaries and memories of the coming to power of the postwar Labour government, full of hope. In a breathless few years, Labour implemented its remarkably radical programme, creating the NHS, nationalising coal, steel, rail, road transport and electricity, initiating a mighty house-building programme. Loach's film is a hymn to the Labour party manifesto of 1945 – the tone would make as good a text for 2015 as back then.