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 Post subject: Muddling through is awfully jolly
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:27 pm 
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Douglas Reed, in a different book this time but caustic as ever, writes of matters long ago. In reaching from the grave, however, his words resonate on things present, as if he was here now – today. This, though, is 1938, and he is complaining at the misallocation of resources on providing huge numbers of gas masks, when the risk of gas is slight and the risk from high explosives grave.

But in England there, Reed says, "were only gas masks, and not many of those, but no bomb-proof shelters, though in your underground railways you have the finest raw material for bomb-proof shelters, if anybody would take the trouble to have them adapted for that purpose, of any city in the world".

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 Post subject: Re: Muddling through is awfully jolly
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:33 pm
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We should not forget that through most of the Thirties the Labour party did everything it could to oppose rearmament and preparedness,
Some of their leaders (like Lansbury) were pacifist. Others ,( like Nye Bevan), were pro Soviet,even when the facts of the deliberate starvation of millions in the Ukraine were widely known and feared that Britain's forces might be deployed against their communist Russian comrades.

It always struck me as one of history's ironies that they were able to blot all that out and come out on top, blasting "The guilty men of Munich".

Labour sympathisers, like Arnold Toynbee, were still trying to destroy national sovereignty for the will o' 'the wisp of "collective security" long after it was obvious that other means would decide matters. No wonder the Nazis called him "a most intelligent man".


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 Post subject: Re: Muddling through is awfully jolly
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:28 am
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The problem is due to the fact that all organisations are constitutionally unable to do more than one thing well at a time. Efficiently multitasking complex, often conflicting tasks is not possible. Hence Fighter Command was able to concentrate on developing delivering an integrated day fighter defence system for Great Britain at the expense of nighttime defence. And Bomber Command managed to deliver its expansion scheme stations at the expense of navigational electronics, for example.
The British pride themselves on improvisation, when in fact the German Army was much better at it (eg that Regimental Surgeon who organised a fighting retreat in Hungary in 1945?). We tend to remember only those occasions when luck was in our favour and forget the disasters that would have been mitigated or avoided altogether with a bit of foresight, planning and concentration on the task in hand.


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 Post subject: Re: Muddling through is awfully jolly
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:42 pm 
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edward wrote:
We should not forget that through most of the Thirties the Labour party did everything it could to oppose rearmament and preparedness,
Some of their leaders (like Lansbury) were pacifist. Others ,( like Nye Bevan), were pro Soviet,even when the facts of the deliberate starvation of millions in the Ukraine were widely known and feared that Britain's forces might be deployed against their communist Russian comrades.

It always struck me as one of history's ironies that they were able to blot all that out and come out on top, blasting "The guilty men of Munich".

Labour sympathisers, like Arnold Toynbee, were still trying to destroy national sovereignty for the will o' 'the wisp of "collective security" long after it was obvious that other means would decide matters. No wonder the Nazis called him "a most intelligent man".


Labour was broad church, and had many different strands of opinion. It was also undergoing traumatic reorganisation, with the disaffiliation of the ILP. Therefore, it is not always easy (or safe) to attribute a coherent policy line to "Labour" - as it hardly existed in a coherent form. And, while indeed there were individuals wholly opposed to re-armament, there were also others (like Morrison) who, since 1935, had been arguing for a better shelter policy.

That notwithstanding, the Tories were in power and had a majority sufficiently large to enable them to re-arm. The problem, therefore, was not Labour, but the Tories - and also their media friends. Don't forget that the Daily Mail, the Times and the Sunday Times strongly supported appeasement.

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