These days Labour claims the minimum wage as its greatest achievement. Prior to this they claimed starting the NHS was up there at the pinnacle and some still do.
The minimum wage is the reason the low paid in this country have been stuck in some kind of trap since the second year of Blair’s reign of Terror. It gave employers a target and wages of the lower paid sank rather than even stayed the same. There were a couple of theoretical beneficiaries, mainly those working in sweat shops in Leicester, Bradford and the like. Those employers often continued to ignore the rules anyway and carried on paying their serfs a couple of pounds an hour. So much for Labour representing the working class.
The NHS plans were formulated during the WW2 but had to wait until 1948 to be implemented. The funding came from the Marshall Aid from the US. We received $1.3 billion in 1948/9 and a total of $3.3 billion up to 1951. This was a gift, we had also borrowed $3.75 billion in 1946 at 2% because we were absolutely borassic and on our uppers. While other recipients of Marshall Aid generally used the money for infrastructure repairs, Atlee’s Labour government used it to build up the Welfare State and look at what that is costing us these days, not only in cash terms but also it is like a fly paper for the rest of the less developed world.
It has been said many times but the truth remains that no other country has thought, wow, that NHS is a great idea, let’s copy it.
My contention is that neither of those two results of letting socialists loose on the laws of this country have been at all beneficial overall. There is good and bad in the NHS but the bad far outweighs the good and the good probably costs us more than it should. I can find no benefit at all in the minimum wage other than employers making even more profit and stuffing it into their own pockets. It is debatable, however, whether anyone directly employed by the NHS is on anything like the minimum wage.
The question still remains, what is Labour’s greatest achievement. Here we have to go back to Harold Wilson. I had no time for his governments, they seemed to spend an awful lot of time trying to keep the brothers in line and making excuses for their own hypocrisy. Who remembers their screams about private beds in NHS hospitals but when Barbara Castle went into one, she had a private room (reasons !). There are many more such examples but I digress.
Harold himself claimed his greatest achievement was the Open University. How hard could that have been but I suppose the Universities fought tooth and nail to stop it.
My two cents worth is that staying out of the mess that was the Vietnam War was worth more than all the others put together. Had they reintroduced conscription here, I and many other puffins might have been called up. Australia was suckered into that war and they had 521 killed and over 3,000 wounded. If we had gone in it would probably have been with more troops and therefore more casualties. LBJ was the US President at the time and he was an evil so and so. I don’t think any of us can imagine the pressure and trickery Wilson would have been subjected to, LBJ and his entourage were masters of the dark arts. It must have taken a lot of guts to stand up to Lyndon Baines Johnson (see, another Johnson, they are all crooks, well some of them).
It is my contention that staying out of the Vietnam quagmire was Labour’s greatest achievement and I would suggest that many who don’t read the articles will agree.
It kind of hurts to write about Harold Wilson without dishing out abuse but for that one achievement he deserves to be praised and the Open University was pretty good too.
© well_chuffed 2022