Workers Hammer No. 238
In our article “No illusions in capitalist bailouts!” in Workers Hammer no 237, Winter 2016-2017, we stated in regard to the Clement Attlee Labour government elected in 1945: “Notwithstanding illusory promises that the working people were finally on the road to the supposed Clause IV paradise of ‘parliamentary socialism’, Labour’s main priority was to repay its massive loans from the US, primarily by enforcing severe austerity and wage restraint on the working class, which was forced to endure continued rationing of foods, and a wage freeze in 1948.”
While the Labour government certainly enforced severe austerity on the working class, it was not the case that “Labour’s main priority was to repay its massive loans from the US”. The loans were to be repaid over fifty years and payments did not begin until 1950.
The article continued, stating the government’s priorities correctly: “At the same time the Labour government sought to maintain the fiction that Britain remained a world power of the first rank. Under Attlee, Britain played the colonial overlord in the bloody partition of India in 1947. At home, investment in modernisation of industry, not to mention spending to improve life for the working class, ranked a distant second behind financing British imperialism’s military aims as a junior partner of the US, primarily in the anti-Soviet NATO alliance.”