Thursday, 10 March 2011
Clement Attlee is widely considered to the greatest ever prime minister in British history, a view which I share, him being a socialist after my own heart. Attlee came to power in 1945, after the surprise defeat of wartime prime minister Winston Churchill. The coalition government during the war had again brought to the forefront of politics Attlee's labour party, previously having resided in a sort of political limbo.
The greatest challenge Attlee's post-war government now faced was poverty. Evacuation during world war two had brought to the attention of many people the shocking conditions in which many of the British poor lived. Attlee introduced a policy of reform during his six-year term of office, nationalizing many industries such as gas and steel and introducing numerous measures to help the impoverished, including setting up the NHS with his health minister Aneurin Bevan. He also supported Indian independence, followed a diplomatic cold war policy and still managed to control the volatile personalities within his cabinet such as Herbert Morrison, Ernest Bevin and Aneurin Bevan.
Also, he had a pipe.