1. Harold Macmillan's 'never had it so good' speech followed the 1950s boom (Telegraph, Nov 2010)
2. Fifties Britain: Never so good? Or too good to be true? (National Archives)
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※ excerpt of the above no. 1 article:
Harold Macmillan's 'never had it so good' speech followed the 1950s boom
By Martin Evans,
The Telegraph, 19 Nov 2010
Full employment combined with an unprecedented consumerism meant millions of Britons saw their standard of living rise.
Mr. Macmillan, who was speaking at a Tory rally in Bedford six months after becoming the Conservative Prime Minister, painted a rosy picture of the economy, which was benefiting from increased production in major industries such as coal and steel.
Wages, exports and investment were all up and compared to the austerity of the war years, his assessment rang true for many people across the land. Mr. Macmillan told Tory supporters: "Go around the country, go to the industrial towns, go to the farms and you will se a state of prosperity such as we have never had in my lifetime─nor indeed in the history of this country."
But despite the boom, the Prime Minister remained desperately concerned about inflation, describing the dilemma of how to maintain growth and employment but keep a lid on prices as the "64,000 dollar question."
His answer was to increase production while calling for restraint and common sense in wage demands and spending. Two years after the famous speech, Mr. Macmillan led the Tories to a resounding election victory.
But pressure at home and on the international stage soon saw the dream unravel. [:]
- In 1961, concerned about the spectre of rising inflation Mr. Macmillan imposed a wage freeze, which proved deeply unpopular.
- The government was also rocked by its failure to join the EEC and the Prime Minister's support for African independence.
- In 1963 the Profumo affair, in which the Secretary of State for War was forced to resign after his affair with the mistress of a Russian spy was exposed, shattered the government's reputation.
Mr Macmillan resigned a few months later due to his health.