X Close

The Brexiteer who could have saved Labour With Peter Shore as leader, the party would never have lost touch with its roots

Peter Shore wouldn't have lost the red wall. Credit: Graham Turner/Keystone/Getty Images

Peter Shore wouldn't have lost the red wall. Credit: Graham Turner/Keystone/Getty Images


April 5, 2021   4 mins

It is one of those speeches that always gives you goosebumps — no matter how many times you hear it. The 1975 Common Market referendum was just two days away and the Oxford Union had brought together some big beasts to debate the motion: “…that this House would say ‘yes’ to Europe”. Edward Heath, Jeremy Thorpe and Barbara Castle all made their pitch. But it is Peter Shore’s contribution that has gone down in the annals of history.

The ‘No’ campaign was obviously heading for defeat. But that didn’t stop Shore arguing with all the passion of someone who believed things to be on a knife-edge. Millions watched live on television as this Labour cabinet minister implored them to resist the prophecies of the doomsayers and have confidence in their ability to manage their own affairs.

“The message that comes out is fear, fear, fear,” he said, gesturing towards Heath, the ardent Europhile. “Fear because you won’t have any food. Fear of unemployment … A constant attrition of our morale … A constant attempt to tell us that what we have — and what we have is not only our own achievements, but what generations of Englishmen have helped us to achieve — is not worth a damn.” Now, asserted Shore, that the fraudulent arguments of the Marketeers were exposed, “What it’s about is basically the confidence and morale of our people. We can shape our future … We are 55 million people … I urge you to say ‘no’ to this motion.”

It is one thing to be a fine platform orator; it’s another to have the intellectual heft to back it up. Shore had both gifts. Born in 1924 to middle-class hoteliers, he spent his early years on the Norfolk coast. When the depression forced the sale of the family business, they relocated to Liverpool, with Shore’s father returning to his previous career in the Merchant Navy. After Cambridge, wartime service in India with the RAF and several years as a Labour Party staffer, Shore was elected in 1964 as the member of parliament for Stepney in East London. Within three years, he was inside the Cabinet.

Peter Shore was the kind of politician you rarely see today: an unashamed interventionist who believed that the proper role of government was to use all the levers at its disposal to manage the economy in the interests of the people. Shore saw government as a force for good and understood that, in its relationship with the market, it must act as master and not servant. This meant regulating markets and not allowing them to let rip. It meant speaking the language of competitiveness, exchange rates and industrial strategies. It meant, ultimately, the elevation of the needs of the real economy — where goods were produced and wealth created — over those of finance capitalism; the prioritisation of full employment, growth and living standards over monetary targets as macroeconomic policy goals.

It was this driving philosophy which ensured, during the IMF crisis of 1976, that Shore was not seduced by the arguments of Prime Minister Jim Callaghan or Chancellor Denis Healey — they, along with others in the Cabinet, suggested that if Britain couldn’t spend her way out of recession, she had no choice but to embrace the precepts of Friedman-style monetarism. And it was Shore’s deep-seated belief in the capacity of the state to improve people’s lives — and the duty of democratically-elected politicians to drive such improvements — that informed his opposition to Euro-federalism. Like many who stood in that rich tradition of Left-wing Euroscepticism, Shore’s antipathy was not to Europe, the continent; he simply objected to an arrangement that served the interests of bankers and the multinationals over ordinary working people.

He thought it wrong to give primacy to the views of technocrats over those of elected representatives. Shore saw the objectives of those driving political and economic integration across Europe as antithetical to not only the aims of the British labour movement but the concept of democracy itself.

Oh, to have had Shore and other big beasts of the Eurosceptic labour movement — Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Hugh Gaitskell, Bob Crow and Barbara Castle — around in 2016, to articulate the entirely rational Left-wing case against the EU, and to act as an antidote to the cynicism and hysteria that infected so much of the Left during that period.

Peter Shore stood for the Labour leadership twice: in 1980 and 1983. What might have been if he’d won, and then become Prime Minister? Labour would not have retreated from its historical economic radicalism. By the early 1990s — just as it had done for the second part of the 1970s — the party had come to broadly accept the argument that “There is no alternative” to market fundamentalism, and that elected governments must be no more than minor actors in the operation of the economy. A Labour Party — and country — led by Peter Shore would not have succumbed to such pessimism. Nor, most likely, would the party have developed the infatuation with the EU which has done so much to alienate millions of its once-loyal supporters over recent years.

The driving philosophy of this government would have been that democratic socialism was possible only if politicians of the Left were willing to step up to the plate and take control of the nation’s economic destiny rather than hive off responsibility to markets and technocrats.

As a Labour PM, Shore would have led from the front in opposing the Single European Act and Maastricht Treaty. Britain would not have entered the Exchange Rate Mechanism, and the ignominy of Black Wednesday would have been avoided. Shore would have resisted, too, the drive towards the internationalisation of capital which has facilitated a global market where power and wealth are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and multinationals have the whip hand over elected governments.

He would not have hesitated to prioritise the interests of the productive sector over the City. His Keynesian interventionism and his focus on competitiveness would have ensured Britain did not experience the decimation of her manufacturing base that came to pass under Margaret Thatcher and her successors. Hundreds of thousands of blue-collar jobs would not have been lost to overseas competitors.

Shore — like so many Labour heavyweights from yesteryear — was a patriot to his fingertips. A Labour Party shaped in his image and following his credo would not have lost touch with working-class communities, a drift that began three decades ago, around the time Shore stepped down from the front bench. And our nation as a whole would have been much the better for it.


Paul Embery is a firefighter, trade union activist, pro-Brexit campaigner and ‘Blue Labour’ thinker

PaulEmbery

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

131 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

I think the key mistake many make is the attempt to sound bite the silent majority. At the time i am sure many wanted to try something new, a common market along with the other efta countries, what could go,wrong? Who could have known then the highs and lows that the ultimately named EU would achieve. Who could know it would become a strange cross between a slaughter lot to feed the German economy, a socialist collective and a group of mates banding together to help each other out.
I think, that labour missed the obvious issues with the emergent free movement of labour across such a disparate group of economies speaks more to their true objective than any suggestion of their incompetence could justify.
It is now so obvious to all they don’t really care about the working people of this country and are using them solely as electoral cannon folder for their campaign to achieve power for their own gain.
I dispair when I think that nowadays labour seems to focus more on the affluent suburban middle class, the self proclaimed intelligentsia the public sector and the unwaged than it does on its original supporter base. They are not even humble enough or self aware enough to recognise their own failings instead they choose to blame the people for not supporting them, as if it is their right to own your vote based on your demographic.

J Bryant
J Bryant
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

I dispair when I think that nowadays labour seems to focus more on the affluent suburban middle class, the self proclaimed intelligentsia the public sector and the unwaged than it does on its original supporter base. They are not even humble enough or self aware enough to recognise their own failings instead they choose to blame the people for not supporting them, as if it is their right to own your vote based on your demographic.
This is also a painfully accurate description of the US Democratic party.

Colin Reeves
CR
Colin Reeves
3 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

But so far the Labour party (except in Tower Hamlets) hasn’t cottoned on to the fact that you can win elections without voters.

kathleen carr
KC
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

My family had relatives in Australia and it hadn’t occured to us that we were leaving their markets for the new European ones. The 1975 referendum was presented as both a trading opportunity and rather bizarrely I thought, a chance to bring about european peace ,this idea was even mentioned by remainers in 2016 as though Britain was responsible for the two world wars.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

‘The 1975 referendum was presented as both a trading opportunity and rather bizarrely I thought, a chance to bring about european peace’

It’s always been, at its heart, a Franco-German stitch up designed to stop them from being forever at each others’ throats and for which others in Europe are expected to pay their own political price.

The ‘what’s not to like’ language used to describe it, ‘common’, ‘single’, ‘union’, freedoms’, ‘competences’ etc has always been very deliberately chosen. Doublespeak that flatters to deceive.

Chuck in the figleafs of an ‘independent’ parliament and courts that help to create and preserve the artifice of checks and balances ‘et voilà, ladies and gentlemen, I give you what everyone once thought to be impossible, the world’s first truly democratic, barely accountable, unashamedly centralised, all but anonymous technocracy!’.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

I remember in 75 my Dad saying we were turning our backs on our true friends, those who had come to fight with us against those we were now throwing in with.
Looking back, to think it had only been 30 years since they had been doing so, it’s a shocking truth. It makes me wonder why so many such Countries are so ready to welcome us back, but I’m glad they are.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

In 1975, my grandmother voted to stay in. Within a very few years she was saying “If I knew then what I know now, I’d have voted Out.”

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

Everything you have said about your grandmother’s actions and sayings is also true of me. (I was born in 1950.)

conall boyle
CB
conall boyle
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

as though Britain was responsible for the two world wars

Read some AJP Taylor or Niall Ferguson and you’ll find Britain wasn’t entirely blameless, with the revered Churchill complicit in driving both Wars.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  conall boyle

Try watching Faulty towers. Germany started the war. They invaded Poland.

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  conall boyle

The 2nd WW was unavoidable, surely?
As for the 1st, we shouldn’t have entered it at all. Just let the French & Germans have their once-every-50-year spat and saved that gifted generation.
Possibly no Versailles & no WW2….?

John Williams
John Williams
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

“…as though Britain was responsible for the two word wars” – Britain was certainly not responsible for WWII and if ever there was a just war, an honourable war it was that one – the British people still feel ennobled by that one, and deservedly so. But the really interesting question is about the degree of Britain’s responsibility for WWI – a Britain resentful at losing her economic (and therefore political) position of dominance in the world, Edward Grey’s fumbling telephone conversation with the German ambassador .. Fascinating!

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

“I dispair when I think that nowadays labour seems to focus more on the affluent suburban middle class, the self proclaimed intelligentsia the public sector and the unwaged than it does on its original supporter base.”
Piketty analyses what I call the betrayal by “the parties of labour” of their erstwhile blue collar constituency in favour of the urban/suburban educated elites in his “Capital and Ideology”. It’s a trend found in exit polls not only in the UK, but also with the Democrats in the US and Democratic Socialist parties on the continent. I believe it is increasingly rendering them unelectable.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

Indeed Labour,Lib-dems seem to think islington ,or Twitterati represent ALL views! However the Tories,greens,SNP,Plaid are also woke hopeless..VOTE Independent May 6

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

“…Oh, to have had Shore and other big beasts of the Eurosceptic labour movement — Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Hugh Gaitskell, Bob Crow and Barbara Castle — around in 2016, to articulate the entirely rational Left-wing case against the EU…”

Yeah, Shore was excellent, but while Foot and Benn were formidable debaters, and would have been very useful in the Brexit debate, Foot was in every other respect, bonkers. You wouldn’t have wanted him running a pub quiz, much less a country.

Having said that, what I found most depressing about the whole Brexit debate in the run up to the referendum, was the appallingly low quality of it all round, from both sides. This, I think happened because, the Brexiters initially blithely entered the debate, only to find they had turned up to a gunfight with a knife, whereas the Remain side had come along with a machine gun. I rembember thinking this when Obama put in his tuppence worth at Cameron’s instigation. Once they got over the shock, the Brexiters quickly adjusted by reacting in kind, and it all turned pell mell, but the loser was any kind of sophisticated debate.

Last edited 3 years ago by Prashant Kotak
George Bruce
George Bruce
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Having said that, what I found most depressing about the whole Brexit debate in the run up to the referendum, was the appallingly low quality of it all round, from both sides.

Agreed but it seems a feature of life in general these days. People just want yes/no, good/bad, on/off, just a simple binary answer. Maybe it was always like that.
Is it an evolutionary thing? In the past people who said “Large beast with claws and sharp teeth? Run!” survived better than those who said “Maybe it did not see us? Maybe it has just had its lunch? Maybe it does not eat people?”
So the people who see the world as grey are a more recent development than the “if it is not black it must be white” crowd.
I remember coming across the phrase “the monstrous indifference of the cosmos”, which implies among other things that the universe does not care that you would like it to be simple to understand.
Brexit or Remain? It is grey, folks!

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago
Reply to  George Bruce

I think the debate from the Leavers was far superior because they had facts on their side. Unfortunately the leavers who understood the importance of leaving a political project were never given the airtime on mainstream channels. You had to know where the debates were being held.
We now know that two thirds of the BBC coverage was given to Remainers who thought by trashing leavers and calling them names would win the argument. We also are wiser to the fact that the Vote Leave faction who arguably should never have been given the official opposition banner, were actually controlled opposition. If Leave.eu had been given their rightful cross party/cross business head, the debate may have been louder and clearer.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Anjela Kewell

Got a source for that claim about 2/3 BBC airtime?

Robin Lambert
RL
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Garbage Exemplified by BBC Question time,The ,politics Programme , 4,500 Remainers, with less than 400 leavers..in last *8 years.

John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Just this once I will oblige. I would observe from your postings that you often clamour for ‘evidence’ and ‘sources’ for the comments of others yet seldom do you underpin you own with anything other than assertion.

https://news-watch.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/News-watch-Survey-of-Ten-BBC-Programmes-July-2020-.pdf

Last edited 3 years ago by John Smith
Patrick Buckley
Patrick Buckley
3 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

Thank you, John, for this. I’d seen something similar to this a while ago but didn’t keep a copy.

Simon Baggley
SB
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It’s well established- read Fake News Factory by David Sedgwick

Mike Boosh
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

I think St Obama turning up to tell us all how to vote was the moment the remain side lost… A foreign leader intervening in our politics and, frankly, threatening us, was always going to have the opposite affect to that intended

Prashant Kotak
PK
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

It certainly backfired. I can’t help thinking how little they understood of their own countrymen, for the Remain side leadership to think it would help their cause.

Leon Wivlow
JT
Leon Wivlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

David Goodhart estimated that the woke contingent make up approx. 20% of the UK population. They do, however, make about 80% of the noise.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Leon Wivlow

Not here.

Simon Baggley
SB
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You personally make up for the lack of numbers

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

There you go with the culture war thing again. When will you let it lie for a bit?

Phil Mac
PM
Phil Mac
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

I was staggered he said it, such a ridiculous intervention. Thankfully it backfired spectacularly.

Duncan Hunter
Duncan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

The fact that he used the distinctly un-American expression “back of the queue” rather than line was another giveaway as to the confected nature of his intervention.

Last edited 3 years ago by Duncan Hunter
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Certainly has that impact in Scotland when Johnson intervenes. I think Trump was equally clear about his position, though. Do you think that increased the Remain vote?

Prashant Kotak
PK
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

But Trump became President several months after the Brexit referendum. The expectation in the summer of 2016 was mostly that Clinton would win. How could Trump’s stance have affected the Remain vote?

Mike Boosh
MB
Mike Boosh
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Quite so, which is why Johnson largely keeps away from Scotland. As for trump, as others have said he wasn’t president at the time, and his comments were barely reported.

Al Johnson
AG
Al Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

And after the result Obama went on air to say the Leave result was merely ‘a hiccup on the road to a United States of Europe’. Chilling.

Hugh Jarse
Hugh Jarse
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

Test….

Johnny Sutherland
JS
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Wasn’t it Barbara Castle that wanted seat belts on motorbikes?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

She certainly bought in seat belts for cars as well as the on-the-spot breathalyser test. I don’t recall if she made the motorbikes gaffe but I wouldn’t be surprised – politicians make those types of mistakes.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago

No worse than Geoffrey Rippon introducing the compulsory wearing of crash helmets on motorcycles in 1973.
A gross infringement of personal liberty and the removal of Darwinian self selection!

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
dahonk100
dahonk100
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Also don’t forget about Sir Bob Geldof and his Metropolitan chums in the toffs party cruiser on the Thames flicking the V to the fishermen and Farage in the trawler boats. Even a few Remainers I know were fuming over that gross insult to working class people who put their lives on the line to help feed the UK.
But then again Geldof is a part of the liberal Metropolitan establishment whose arrogance and hubris got the better of him when he insulted the trawler men.
Cheers Sir Bob you got a few extra votes for the leave campaign there

David J
David J
3 years ago

I have no special opinion on Shore, but do observe that Labour is headed by the knee-bender Starmer, whose performance in that act was the single most pathetic action I have had the misfortune to see.

Hugh R
HR
Hugh R
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

Knee- bender and REMAINER.
No leaver in the party will forget his proposed Remain/Not Leave stitch-up proposal for a 2nd referendum.
The Party of Islington cannot seem to understand it is irrevocably doomed to failure under this chep.

It’s a simple Arithmetic issue, you clowns.

Last edited 3 years ago by Hugh R
Chris Hopwood
CH
Chris Hopwood
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

Bojo lived in Islington for many years and Dominic Cummings still lives there

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Hopwood

Even I have lived in Islington, and I’m the one who coined ‘QuIslington’. But I lived there for no more than year, a long time ago.

G Harris
GH
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Hugh R

Agreed.

Mainly thanks to his frankly insulting position on the EU referendum, Starmer is now irretrievably damaged goods.

Labour just never seem to learn.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

If you had to pick one moment when Starmer lost the next election that would be it.

Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

I sincerely hope you are correct.

Jez O'Meara
Jez O'Meara
3 years ago
Reply to  David J

I’ll never vote labour again, over the years I’ve seen that party go from stupidity to even lower levels of stupidity. The knee bending moments, and virtue signalling momentum in the left hasn’t stopped either its continuing apace, i wonder where the report on racial equality last week leaves labour now.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Jez O'Meara

Look at independents ,SDP or reform, voting Lib=Lab-Cons-green-Plaid-sf-SNP brings ”hate” speech legislation, Inept police Commissioners ,inept Government & SARS2 ”Temporary” Passports…

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I have great respect for Paul and normally agree with his articles, but there are far too many ifs, buts and maybes here for me and it is highly unlikely that he would have beaten Thatcher at any point during the 1980s.
Shore was indeed something of a visionary in his opposition to the EEC/EU, and in his aversion to the financialization of every aspect of life and society. But the idea that more state and more government is always the solution to everything has been tested to destruction.

Colin Haller
CH
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

So has the idea that less state and less government is always the solution to everything. Maybe it’s time we grew up and accepted the fact that only mixed economies actually work?

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Haller

OK. So can you explain, in your mixed economy, the socialist elements.
The NHS. Kills 20,000 a year from avoidable errors. Socialist medicine.
Or the welfare state. They have taken trillions from the workers for their old age. All the money redistributed, none of it invested into capital. That leaves a debt. 14 trillion pounds hidden off the books. How is that going to work in the future?

Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

And without the ERM debacle would Labour have won in 97? But it’s a tantalizing thought that we might never have heard of either Blair or Cameron….

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Reeves

Major (delivered worst Tory performance since 1935 & his slavish love of eU,&ERMwas rightfully unseated him ))as inept as Hague,Now Starmer,Davey,Bojo ,sturgeon,Drakeford, going for the crass stupidity ”Crown”

Martin Adams
MA
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Thank you, Fraser. Your comments on the article and on its historical conjectures express impeccably what I was thinking about them. And I too have the greatest respect for Mr Embery.

plynamno1
PL
plynamno1
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“.. is always the solution to everything..” is what nobody said.

Benedict Clibborn
BD
Benedict Clibborn
3 years ago

I rather think Bob Geldof and Barack Obama did the heavy lifting for Vote Leave.

Last edited 3 years ago by Benedict Clibborn
Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

The first time that both Geldof and Obama ever did anything useful. And probably the last.

Arnold Grutt
AG
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Who can forget Geldof and Branson (two very, very rich men) flicking V-signs at a Brexit boat in 2016? Well, I certainly effing won’t.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
Aden Wellsmith
AW
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

They don’t get it do they. Insult the voters. Then ask the voters for their support.
A winning strategy – yeah right.

Wilson Cotton
Wilson Cotton
3 years ago

I was lucky to have been at that debate. Heath had turned up on the condition that he would not be opposed by either Enoch Powell or a member of the Conservative party, particularly Neil Marten MP, leader of the leave campaign. In the event the student speaker representing the leave campaign was Robin Harris, who went on to become Margaret Thatcher’s right hand man. I can still recall him describing Heath, “Mr Europe himself, and what is he? A broken politician rejected by his party and his people.” Heath was disappointing as was Barbara Castle. The two star speakers were Jeremy Thorpe at his waspish best and Peter Shore, who spoke from the heart. He was a great orator and a thoroughly nice and decent man.

Peter Woodifield
Peter Woodifield
3 years ago
Reply to  Wilson Cotton

I had forgotten about Robert Harris, thank you for reminding me. I was there working that night, and you are absolutely right about Ted Heath and Jeremy Thorpe.

David Webb
DW
David Webb
3 years ago

Excellent article by Paul, but of course Peter Shore never got close to being Labour leader. He was indeed brilliant in debate, but maybe wasn’t so good at personal persuasion of those in power. He must have been involved in those discussions that led to Harold Wilson’s attempt to join the EEC in 1967, and presumably lost the argument. Still, if his voice contributed to Wilson’s decision to keep us out of Vietnam, then we owe him a big debt.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  David Webb

Did the US really want us in Vietnam? We were already fully committed in Aden, Borneo, Oman & BAOR.
Judged by how poorly we later performed in Iraq and Afghanistan the US were fortunate that we “the borrowers” didn’t make an appearance.

David Webb
DW
David Webb
3 years ago

I believe LBJ asked The issue for the US was probably more the moral support rather than military weight. I’m not suggesting that Peter Shore was a decisive voice – I don’t think Harold Wilson was ever keen on the idea.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  David Webb

Well, at least ‘face’ was saved by Australia joining in.

Last edited 3 years ago by Charles Stanhope
Robin Lambert
RL
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

LBJ wanted ANY ,even one British regiment in Vietnam,1965, sensibly Harold Wilson,realised Civil wars are Worst Conflicts ( Biafra 1968 etc,,) Uk didn’t perform poorly ,in Iraq and Afghanistan ,they didn’t have proper equipment eg bulletproof vests…ill judged by Tony bliar ..now Boris will cut uk troops to 72,000 making defending gibraltar,falklands logistical nightmare &possible losses

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

The US Army was unimpressed with our performance in both Iraq & Afghanistan, and not because we lacked “bulletproof jackets”.

If we hadn’t spent £37billion on ‘Trick & Trace’ we could afford 6 further (Scottish built) Aircraft Carriers to defend Gibraltar, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Ascension Is, the Falklands and perhaps even the Isle of Wight.

Michael Cazaly
MC
Michael Cazaly
3 years ago

Strangely enough, most of the world has been unimpressed with the US’s performance anywhere since the end of the Cold War.
China must have watched its self destruction with some amusement, but the US hasn’t yet understood that running an empire is difficult and thankless.

Peter Woodifield
PW
Peter Woodifield
3 years ago

I was lucky enough to be present at that debate and can remember feeling that Peter Shore, in particular, and Barbara Castle had the better arguments even if they were doomed to lose the vote. As I recall, Peter Shore and his ilk were portrayed by their opponents as backward looking romantics, but history has shown they were more clear-eyed about the long-term direction of the Common Market (as it was then) than its supporters – although Ted Heath I suspect would have welcomed the EU. Shore, like many of his generation such as Healey, Callaghan and Foot, was a patriot to his fingertips. Shore was a democratic socialist and no Corbynista and there was much to admire about him even if you didn’t espouse his politics.

Pierre Pendre
Pierre Pendre
3 years ago

We joined the Common Market because Macmillan and Heath, under Civil Service prompting, lost their nerve about Britain’s ability to survive independently under the postwar Attlean settlement which led to sclerotic management of the “commanding heights of the economy” – i.e. nationalised industry – and brainless and destructive trades unionism. They thought we would be better governed by the continental style technocracy that the Common Market represented.
The alternative would have been to confront the 1945 consensus which they doubted they would have the public support to do as the experience of Heath’s government proved. Instead they took the weasel way out and joined the EEC out of cowardice.
I doubt Macmillan, the great trimmer, was a believer which de Gaulle sussed when he issued his famous “non”. He knew that the British by temperament and history would never be true Europeans and were likely to be trouble which turned out to be the case.
Although every prime minister until May professed to believe in Europe, their loyalty to the EU was really nothing more than being stuck with a policy they did not think could be changed. They were disciples of the 1950s French politician Guy Mollet who said “it’s not because our policies are bad that we are going to change them.”
We struggled in the EU for 50 years like man running a marathon in shoes two sizes too small to fit and were only rescued by Cameron’s misjudgment that he could bully the British people into a repeat of the 1975 referendum. I was at the EEC ministerial meeting – not as a participant, obviously – when Callaghan astounded his colleagues with triviality of his demands after all the shouting about the need to win a better deal.
I remember admiring Shore’s arguments against being part of the European projects but in his time he could never have hoped to prevail against the jobsworth majority. The great advantage of being out of the authoritarian Brussels madhouse is that we are free to be us again even if we don’t always get it right.

John Smith
SE
John Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Pierre Pendre

Yes, and another advantage is that we may now hopefully start to see the emergence of politicians of real calibre and substance now that the tiller of the ship of state and the full power of captaincy has been returned to these shores. I certainly hope so as the current cohort are a lacklustre and motley crew irrespective of whether they hail from starboard or larboard.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  John Smith

“Put not your trust in Princes, or any child of man.”

David Bell
DB
David Bell
3 years ago

The problem with “radical socialism” is simple – every time it has been tried it has failed! As Margaret Thatcher said “it eventually runs out of other peoples money”.

Shore’s version would have failed but in doing so he would have ensured the country had no other means of earning an income. The reforms of the 1980’s were always going to happen. We either did it ourselves (as Mrs T did) or we were forced to do it. Either way Shore would have failed as a PM because his ideas were a failure.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Quite. And notice how Shore’s own arguments against the EU – that we can do quite well enough by ourselves, thank you very much, are – when applied to individuals – the root of classical Liberal insight. Also note his unashamed reference to the “generations of Englishmen” on whose achievements current success depends – it might almost be Powell – and that is no discredit to Shore. Experience, said the lady, is a Tory – by which she meant right wing. And Shore, having looked into the Europe question with all the rigour and sincerity of his character, became – essentially – right wing as far as Europe was concerned. Good for him. But down with his socialism!

Anjela Kewell
Anjela Kewell
3 years ago

Peter Shore was indeed a giant among pygmies. However, do not look back with rose coloured glasses. Benn would not have allowed the Grammar schools to give a step up to the poor. Neither would Foot. It was indeed the Labour movement who needed the working class to keep them relevant. But for the wrong reasons.
Already Thatcher was gaining ground among the small entrepreneurs and family run businesses. Those very people who are the backbone of UK GDP. The rot started with Ted Heath. Halted by Thatcher and then rushed forward with Tony Blair. I suspect most Labour politicians, already steeped in the wealthy upper middle classes were ready to ditch their base for ultimate power.
As with all truly brilliant people, they never seem to be allowed in modern politics to make their mark. The Civil Servants, unelected and very mediocre, will never tolerate a truly great leader. They destroyed Thatcher, they destroyed Enoch Powell, they stopped Peter Shore, and in recent years the stolen election in USA has stopped President Trump from making real changes for American working classes. Politics since the rise of Blair, Clintons and technocracy has been about the unaccountable, the NGOs and the Globalists. None of whom are good for the world or its citizens.

NIGEL PASSMORE
NP
NIGEL PASSMORE
3 years ago

I’m 53 so can just about remember Peter Shore in context. Moving on from just him, if you want to see how far the Labour Party has fallen search for Jim Callaghan’s first shaddow cabinet in June 1979 and then do the same for Sir Keir Starmer in 2020. Compare and contrast. One is a list of big beasts from Jurrasic Park, the other is selected from Sid’s Pet Shop in Sidcup.
Oh for the sake of balance, you get the same sense of deja vu if you do the same for M Thatcher’s first cabinet in May 1979 and Al Johnsons first cabinet in December 2019 just as draw droppingly poor by comparison.
The quality threshold bar for our modern political class is already on the floor and still they can’t raise it.
Regards
NHP

Last edited 3 years ago by NIGEL PASSMORE
John Smith
John Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  NIGEL PASSMORE

Agree. See my comment above. Hopefully now we are in charge of our own ship again it will encourage a higher quality crew to take up the call.

One of the things I find so depressing about the Johnson premiership is the dreadful quality of the cabinet. If one were a halfway competent backbencher you’d be looking down at the front row thinking “really?”

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

It’s bitterly ironic that it was the political Right in the UK, with the arguable exception of Tony Blair, at least nominally of the Left, that did by far the most to embroil the UK in what is now ominously referred to as, ‘The European Project’.

From Heath who took the UK in originally without a specific vote, to Thatcher who signed the Single European Act and pushed heavily for a single European market, apparently utterly oblivious of its political consequences, to Major who signed the sovereignty busting Maastricht Treaty, again without any specific democratic reference despite being aware of its profound implications, thus paving the way for the single currency and ‘ever closer integration’.

Knowingly giving away forever what was never fully yours to give in the first place speaks of a certain self-belief, untrustworthiness and arrogance and, unfortunately, people like Shore prove that being ‘small r’ right is really only ever half the battle in politics, if that.

Last edited 3 years ago by G Harris
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

It is the case that Thatcher was both: a driver of the single market and anti EEC/EU. All that happened was that she changed her mind over a ten year period – a growing slow motion disillusionment visible to anyone who lived through the eighties. It’s allowed – viewpoints are not locked in stasis for all time. The same in reverse, was the sway of the very strong Eurosceptic wing of Labour (Foot, Benn, Shore, Castle) was flipped when Labour bought a line from Jacques Delors. That’s all it took. And it eventually led to today’s Labour party, completely cut off from the people it was created to serve.

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

‘viewpoints are not locked in stasis for all time’

Generally I would agree. It’s the opinions change when the facts change argument, and you need to be brave enough to let the world know why they have, but I’m not entirely convinced that was the case here.

The problem here is that Mrs Thatcher knew full well what Delors’ political agenda was and one would like to think that she might be aware that politics and economics are inextricable.

One could argue that it was simply blinkered ideology that led to her desperately wanting to shake up the protectionist, unionised economies of Europe and shake them out of their socialist torpor, but to not realize that it would have political consequences was beyond naive given her position.

The SEA she signed, presumably willingly, in 1987 not only committed member countries to a timetable for an economic merger it also laid plans for the establishment of a single currency and a common foreign and domestic policy.

It was there in black and white.

Perhaps it was a similar case of, ‘now we’ve signed it, we’d better read it’ as Douglas Hurd famously ‘jokingly’ remarked after Major had just signed the Maastricht Treaty?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I agree, Thatcher was culpable. But on the question of mind changing, it is not just a question of new facts as in Keynes’ famous remark; sometimes the facts remain the same but our conclusions change. Perhaps this was closer to Mrs T’s change of heart.

michael_stokes
MS
michael_stokes
3 years ago

What a nice article, which misses what a genuinely nice man he was. I remember inviting him to talk to my students on the death of Harold Wilson. And patiently dealt with endless questions. And then retired for a couple of hours with a non-fake cigar in an Islington pub
Not a word of bitterness from Shore about the PM who sacked opponents of EEC membership and who deceived the Voters in the first European referendum by claiming there would be no loss of sovereignty. Remember the HMG booklet that showed map with Europe shown in Victorian style red? Without Shore, Foot and a couple of superb journalists there wouldn’t have been a leave campaign.
The biggest loss of his too early death was the loss of clarity he would have provided on how to accomplish the leave vote. For Shore the mechanism was simple. A one line bill immediately revoking the clause in the accession act making the UK subject to all future European legislation. That would have compelled the EU to negotiate seriously and not believe that the Starmerite/Blairite faction could sabotage the will of the British people. What a saving of time and division that would have been.

Benjamin Jones
BJ
Benjamin Jones
3 years ago

I remember climate change programmes on tv in the late 80’s and the claim was, by 2020, Peterborough would be on the coast.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

Only ten or fifteen years earlier, the talk was that we were heading for a new Ice Age and the glaciers would have advanced to within sight of Peterborough!

Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

I remember the early ’70s when we were about to enter a new Ice Age.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Reeves

The High Priest of Green, James Lovelock, (101) the author of the fabled ‘Gaia Hypothesis’, has recanted and has gone Nuclear, much to the irritation of his former disciples.

Robin Lambert
RL
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Benjamin Jones

see 1974 ”The Weather machine” BBC1! it might be on youtube, forecast inevitable 2nd ice Age and much more snow ..but it was wrong as are Todays ”Global warmists”..

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago

I remember meeting MP Peter Shore way back in the early 1980s. He attended a concert I gave at the newly opened Bangladeshi Centre in Nottingham Hill as guest of honour. We had a chat after the programme. Seemed like a very tuned in guy. Different from so many of the other Labour politicians I have met over the years. Dennis Healey was the fastest mover to the buffets that were laid on after speeches and gatherings, when I met him in Leeds!!! Tony Benn was the most dignified and educated and honest of them for me.

JR Stoker
JS
JR Stoker
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Mr Benn was a shifter, a hypocrite, and a man who not only changed his name twice (dropping Stansgate, dropping Wedgwood) but kept his wealth (house in Notting Hill, country retreat of Stansgate Abby) whilst reducing ours.

Jad Adams
JA
Jad Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Benn bought a family home in Holland Park Avenue in 1952 on a £4500 mortgage and only moved from it to a care home very late in life. His mother owned a house in Stansgate that was his and his brother’s only on her death in 1991. The research isn’t difficult to do.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Jad Adams

Benn came from a long line of Liberal affluent political families, inherited and married money. Very few people could have afforded a £4.5K mortgage in 1952; rationing was still on. In 1952 people were living in Nissan huts and very few owned their own homes. For someone in their late 20s to be able to afford a £4.5k mortgage meant they would have had to pay a deposit of 10%. This would put Bennin the top 10% or even 5 % of the wealthiest families in the UK.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Didn’t Benn give up his hereditary peerage to stand as an MP? Voters of Chesterfield seemed to like him.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Nottingham Hill ??

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
3 years ago

Yes. A new Bangladesh Cultural Centre that had just been set up. Labour were after the ethnic vote if you recall.

Simon Baggley
SB
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

He’s questioning the location – Nottingham Hill ?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago

Hilarious. If only the electorate had come to its senses and voted for even more socialism in 1979, British trade-union-serving socialism would have rescued us from EU socialism, and nobody in 2021 would mind waiting six months to have a phone put in.

G Harris
GH
G Harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

‘and nobody in 2021 would mind waiting six months to have a phone put in’

Yes, and of course kids in 2021 would still all be bouncing around on Space Hoppers, riding Choppers and eating Space Dust and we’d all be sitting down as families to watch George and Mildred, Celebrity Squares or The Liver Birds of an evening.

Mum getting tipsy on her Babycham and dad trying to with his Watney’s Red Barrel as the Vesta curry bubbled away on the stove.

A vote for Labour in 1979 was a vote for the entire 70s to be preserved in aspic I remember.

It was a manifesto pledge in fact.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Don’t forget the Timothy White’s sun tan cream.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

“And it was Shore’s deep-seated belief in the capacity of the state to improve people’s lives — and the duty of democratically-elected politicians to drive such improvements”
As an observer from the far reaches of the Dominions I can’t comment either way on Mr. Shore’s attributes or UK political history but “belief in the capacity of the state to improve people’s lives” is one of the most dangerously loaded comments in the world, because most politicians and governments have spectacularly ambiguous definitions of “improve” and “people”.
Usually the result is some sort of government-sponsored advantage for certain groups that sing from the same ideological hymnbook and tick the right box on election day.
The problem is those improvements in certain people’s lives have a tendency to come at the expense of other peoples’ because they forget the duty of government is actually to improve all lives.
Obviously the article is suggesting that Mr. Shore would have protected British union-based manufacturers which many believe suffered and fell under Thatcher’s sword, but would he also have improved the lives of small business entrepreneurs, independent contractors, or even – gasp – corporations themselves?
Or would he have repeated the mistakes that most governments make because they can’t or won’t recognize when they need to step in and establish control or when they just should get the hell out the way and let people get on with it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Walter Lantz
Colin Reeves
Colin Reeves
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” (Ronald Reagan )

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago
Reply to  Colin Reeves

Sure — because the sainted Reagan’s policy decisions don’t themselves bear scrutiny. Pull the other one.

Martin Smith
MS
Martin Smith
3 years ago

Labour had a fabulous opportunity during the hapless May administration to take control of Brexit; but they had no leaders with either the foresight, brains or courage to do it.

Richard Brown
RB
Richard Brown
3 years ago

It’s unfortunate that the picture of Peter Shore at the head of this article looks exactly like the satirist John Wells. He even has the fake cigar and the slightly shifty look of a satirist, the whole thing looking like a clip from an early TW3.

Ben
BP
Ben
3 years ago

“Peter Shore was the kind of politician you rarely see today: an unashamed interventionist who believed that the proper role of government was to use all the levers at its disposal to manage the economy in the interests of the people.”
…Except we’d tried to make the planned economy work for 35 years from 1945-79 and it proved an absolute disaster: worse than any other outside the Warsaw pact.
You make no mention of the countless devaluations, on-going strikes, oil price shocks, punitive tax rates and thumping great losses which our glorious manufacturers were returning year after year: British Gas, British Shipbuilders, British Coal, British Airways, British Rail, British Leyland. Every one a turkey.
And all capped off by the Winter of Discontent, where government attempts to impose a 5% pay limit across the economy regardless of sector differentials blew up in its face. Ford posted record profits in 1978 so the recommended 5% limit led to a furious walk-out and an eventual settlement of 17%. This opened the flood-gates for similar demands across the public sector and when they were resisted the unions called their members out and the country ground to a halt. The central plank of the government’s economic strategy lay in tatters and with it British Socialism.
Peter Shore was a principled and courageous man when it came to democracy and our position as a self-governing country in Europe. He was wrong as the author is, for believing that the answer to the catalogue of policy disasters above was more of the same.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ben
Charles Hedges
CH
Charles Hedges
3 years ago
Reply to  Ben

https://staging.unherd.com/2021/04/the-brexiteer-who-could-have-saved-labour/
Who knows England who only knows England? The problem was that since 1870, the World Industrialised and Britain rested on it’s  oars (Phrase by A Toynbee ). Railways replaced canals: steam power sail, telephones telegrams and letters, electricity replaced gas for lighting; oil replaced coal in ships and planes replaced ships for moving mail and people. Human control of machines, was replaced by mechanical which was replaced by electrical; valves replaced by transistors which were replaced by silicon chips. Industry changed over 250 years with un and semi- skilled labour being replaced by machines. Countries which evolved, such as Germany and Switzerland moved manufacturing from low to medium to high tech/advanced because they had the skilled workforce. One cannot use a labourer to make a Swiss watch or a robot.
By the 1970s, 70% of the unions were un and semi-skilled who resisted modern technology because they lacked the skills. The closure ofthe Suez Canal in 1967 meant ships were nom longer limited by it’s size and oil tankers went from 50K T to 500K T. Strikes by dockers,  sailors and shipyard workers increased costs.
Bulk ore containers – grains, coal and ore went up to 250KT an containers were brought in. British yards and unions did not travel to Japan and Korea to see what they were doing. Japan was able to build 500K T oil tankers to budget, on time and without faults. British coal cost £40T to produce , World market was about £32T. The result was collapse in employment of dockers, sailors, ship yard workers, coal and iron industry. Canals reduced cost of transport of coal and resulted in 75% reduction in cost. Post 1967 super ships reduced cost of transport of oil, coal, grains, ores and large goods. One can transport £100Ks of Swiss watches or jewels in a briefcase. Therefore cost of transport has biggest impact on producing low value low technology goods. Merchant ships are basically baths with a sharp bow and engine at the back; compared to warships they are low value large items. Britain may set the standards MN Officers but once a foreigner obtains the certificates, British officers are not needed. Few merchant ships needs British crews, because once loaded little skill is needed.
Foremen earned 20 % more than unskilled, so there was brain drain of craftsmen, foremen, technicians , scientists and engineers to all over the World. A mine electricians who is a craftsmen, perhaps obtained an ONC or higher  could get a job anywhere in the World. Why should their life and their families be controlled by Scargill or a Red Robbo? Cicero said Cui Bono ; well in 1970s it was the union leaders in the un and semi skilled unions who earned more money than their skills would warrant. Union leaders only have wages because their are union dues. If that industry dies, so does their income . So union leaders will keep funct over manned industry going to keep earning. If their was a canal builders union, leaders would insist on canals being built.
People such as Sir Monty Finniston, Anthony Sampson, Sir Nick Cayzer warned of the dangers but were ignored.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
3 years ago

The key thing about Shore, Benn and Foot, that today’s Labour Party will never understand, is that they were patriots. You could have an honest and productive disagreement with their politics without today’s obligation to hate your opponents.

Aden Wellsmith
AW
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

It’s very simple. Labour has adopted identity politics. As a result it will never get into power.
Identity politics means forcing one group to pay for the wants of another. That makes the losers angry. Then those receiving the money assume they are entitled to that money. It’s their right. When the majority get control, they axe those payments.
Brexit is a prime example. The elite demanded cheap servants, paid for by the majority. The majority forced a vote and voted to cut that subsidy.
We see it with BLM, where donations have been used to buy the founder a mansion in a white area.
Orwell had it right. RIP Labour.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago

I met Peter shore at 1999 november Kensington by election Hustings.He was still sharp Witted and eloquent..A pity Blair Starmer blocked this type of Democrat socialist from their ##New” Vision of state Control, recently Tories have crumbled to ”Cultural Marxists”Similar Anti-Demcratic ”Vaccine Passports”

Last edited 3 years ago by Robin Lambert
James Brennan
James Brennan
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

I met Peter Shore in 1963. I don’t think anyone then regarded him as a left-winger, and I don’t think he ever regarded himself as one. I don’t think, either, that anyone who lived through World War II would think a Vaccine Certficate was anti-democratic – the only people who ever checked my identity card were Home Guard members at excercise check-points and nice old ladies issuing replacement ration books, all of whom hadn’t been deprived of any democratic rights, except by constitutional means for a clear reason, and excercised them in 1945 to some effect. The people who now affect to be defenders of free choice and democracy (on our behalf – as if we didn’t know) are the people who believe we are all free to dine at the Ritz, but have forgotten the duty that sort once accepted, that they have to do so without injuring the lives of others. If a pandemic doesn’t make them think twice, Hitler wouldn’t have had much effect on them either. But he’d have been able to make hay when it came to their democratic rights.

Last edited 3 years ago by James Brennan
roofingag
roofingag
3 years ago

To think that Shore could have won the 1987 election is quite optimistic.

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

Although I agree with much of what is said about Peter Shore I think his economic thinking had run out of steam by 1979. Jim Callaghan and Dennis Healey had come to realise that, and so did the country.
I thought all was lost when Michael Foot was elected Leader and was very disappointed Dennis was rejected. I think he had the intellect, experience, gravitas born of war time endurance, political nous, courage and common touch to be a great Prime Minister let alone Leader of the Labour Party.
He and Peter Shore as Deputy would have been a dream ticket in my opinion. I don’t think they would have won in 83 because of the Falklands. But if the Party had retained them life would have been very uncomfortable for Margaret Thatcher and her government, and a realistic and traditional set of Labour policies free of undue trade union and Militant influence could have returned the Party to power and put Dennis Healey in Downing Street in 87.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago

Ah, if only.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Well said! My experience to the smallest detail. (I was born in 1950.)

William Clark
William Clark
3 years ago

I greatly admired the speech, and I admire Peter Shore and deeply respect his patriotism, being a convinced patriot myself. Sadly, I always felt he was describing the world as he would like it to be rather than the world as it is. I do not mean to be pessimistic by saying this. I believe a free market economy can be, and indeed is, virtuous. I shall not write an extended essay here, but all economic and financial crises that I have studied have been caused by intervention by governments, either to attempt to gerrymander the world in their interests or to apply simplistic and doomed solutions to complex problems, which the market alone can resolve. For example, the financial crisis was caused by the Clinton government ordering banks to lend to those incapable of managing debt. They should have taught people to manage debt, but insisted banks and lenders maintain lending discipline, rather than jettison it in the crazy way they did.

Aden Wellsmith
AW
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago

Interesting that they are hiding the cast iron evidence of the rotation speed of the earth.
Think of a skater. If your arms go out when spinning, you slow down. If you move them in you speed up.
So Global warming predicts and says that sea levels have risen. So the earth’s rotation speed will have slowed.
Now if you don’t adjust GPS systems to take into account rotation speed, a 1 second change will mean you land 500 meters away from the runway, or half way down it with no time to stop. No adjustment means a massive death toll.
There is no death toll because GPS systems have taken the rotation speed into account.
So has the earth slowed as they predict? No, its speed up.
Climate change has been falsified.

William Gladstone
William Gladstone
3 years ago

Wasn’t Foot offering similar? The truth is I doubt the amount of agency this country has anyway and when Thatcher said there was no alternative what she meant was this is the way the US was going and this is the way the world economic forum was pushing and either we adapted or continued to be portrayed as the sick man of Europe and overall got poorer as a result.
Maybe Shore wouldn’t have aligned so closely to the EU as kinnock and Blair but I don’t buy that. The Europhiles within the tory party were plotting to get rid of Thatcher and EU (EC) at the end of the 80s and the end of the cold war looked like the brightest future (yes obviously fundamentally it was flawed but single currency was years away and ever closer union was portrayed as optional). So why would Shore not want to use any amnd all means to get rid of Thatcher.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

One of the other reasons Labour became Pro EEC/Eu was it moved from its “common market” origins to become a “big state” organisation with complex rules to control the economy and favour the corporatist economy rather than the free market.

This move took it into the orbit of 1980’s anti EEC politicians such as Blair and Brown who loved the complexity the EU brought.

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

I thought this a reasonable, if tenuous, argument till it got to ‘big beasts of the Eurosceptic labour movement — Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Hugh Gaitskell, Bob Crow and Barbara Castle — around in 2016, to articulate the entirely rational Left-wing case..’ when it descended into parody. The idea that there is a ‘rational Left wing case’ is a bit of a stretch. That Foot, Benn, Crow, and Castle could have articulated it is surely a joke.

Aden Wellsmith
Aden Wellsmith
3 years ago
Reply to  GA Woolley

Benn. The man who used a trust to avoid paying inheritance tax

Michael Whittock
Michael Whittock
3 years ago

Although I agree w

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago

His Keynesian interventionism and his focus on competitiveness would have ensured Britain did not experience the decimation of her manufacturing base that came to pass under Margaret Thatcher and her successors.
Interesting. How do you think he might have achieved that? Uninvent the container ship? It’s not as though basic manufacturing jobs have vanished, just that the wages for performing them have to be competitive with those paid in, say, Vietnam.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

Sad that a degenerate like Heath was ever elected to high office.

Alan Dempsey
Alan Dempsey
3 years ago

Paul, don’t know if you read these comments, but I’ve just finished Despised. It’s brilliant. It’s all the reasons I feel disenfranchised under this current Labour party. Absolutely fantastic. Wish you was my MP. And thanks for the brilliant article above. Excellent stuff.

Kelvin Rees
KR
Kelvin Rees
3 years ago

A quirky sort of party insider without a strong public profile, he failed to build a base across the Labour movement and his leadership bids were abject failures. The UK was in thrall to Thatcherist nationalism and Shore mirrored that sentiment, moving as it were from inside to out ‘…generations of Englishmen (sic) have helped us achieve….’ Ouch!

mark taha
mark taha
3 years ago

As a Conservative, I must say that if Peter Shore had been leader of the Labour Party I’d have had a serious conflict!

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

I have enjoyed this boxset of articles extolling the virtues of one politician or another, who never actually got to prove whether they were right or not and the comments underneath. The common theme seems to be they were bright and committed to a principle. The lack of which we decry in today’s politicians of all parties.
The reality though is there is no single right path; following anything too dogmatically for too long eventually leads to disaster. The best we can ever hope for from governments is they stagger along in roughly the right direction, yet are prepared to try a different path when it becomes painfully obvious they were staggering along the wrong one.
Much is made about the youth and inexperience of Boris’s cabinet. However there are many bright people in there, who have done at least some real world work before entering politics. In my view they are staggering along in unprecedented times, no worse and potentially a lot better by virtue of being less encumbered by historical baggage, than the remaining dinosaurs would have done if they were in cabinet. It is very easy to criticise and blame when they stumble, far less easy to actually do better without the benefit of 20:20 hindsight. If they do lead us out of our current predicament, we must ensure we get rid of them as by then they will over confidently lead us down the wrong path for the new times.

eugene power
EP
eugene power
3 years ago

That FrancoGerman stitch up. Its saved us from wars. With the winners paying reparations- why did we not do that in 1919?

Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
Nicholas Staveley STANLEY MBE
3 years ago

It is a great shame that people like Paul Embury are able to voice their opinion, on a public platform, with total impunity, when Paul, very obviously has no idea about true Labour values!
Paul is almost certainly too young to realise what true Labour values are’
I suspect Paul thinks that Tony Blair represented Labour with very good values!
I am a Socialist, and I have always voted for Labour candidates. At first, I believed that Jeremy Corbyn would be good for Labour because he was/is an old-fashioned (traditional) Labour Party member – and he was one of the few politicians who actually connected with true Labour values!
Sadly, he lacked any real leadership qualities and he was a dismal failure, as leader. His treatment of anti-Semites was disgusting – and he allowed that problem to meander on and on and on – when decisive action was clearly required!
Corbyn let me down, and all traditional Labour voters, but he leaves one important accomplishment, as a legacy:
Corbyn steered Labour away from Blair’s uncaring, and self-centred, Neo-Conservatism, back towards key labour values and, in-so-doing, he recreated the gulf between true Conservative and true Labour Party Socialist values! And this has given everyone a real choice no matter what their political convictions may be! And this has to be a good thing for all of us!
Many current politicians, from either side of the house do not really realise the core values of either the red or the blue – and it all became some sort of blurred mess!
Call it simplistic, if you like, but true Labour cares for everyone, whereas Conservatism is founded upon the tenet of “Survival-of-the-fittest” and rewarding success. So all of us, the electorate, are now able to choose far more clearly, between the two major parties – and if we don’t like either, there are always the Lib-Dems – but I am the first to admit that I struggle to determine exactly what their basic tenet is.

D.C.S Turner
D.C.S Turner
3 years ago

Palpably absurd. Shore was a ridiculous figure, and brexit an act of collective suicide. The rest of the sane world is laughing at us.

Dan Martin
Dan Martin
3 years ago

You say “pessimism”, I say “reality”. In truth, you are making faith-based claims that cannot be verified. Just think how strange it is that your alternate history coincides exactly with your priors.

Sean MacSweeney
Sean MacSweeney
2 years ago

I was 15 in 1975 and too young to vote, but I couldn’t believe that we would be so stupid as to join this “European club” sadly we did (there’s no accounting for the stupidity of the working class) when Brexit happened in 2016 (which I supported) I was very amused at the irony that those idiots who had been duped to voting YES in 1975 were the same idiots who voted OUT in 2016, quite amusing really