A Change of Government is as good a time as any other for a national stocktaking-especially when, as now, the change takes place after 13 years of leadership by one party. The new Ministers are busy learning the facts of life which for all that time they have been ignoring in opposition. After a preliminary bout of Paradise Lost, Book One, the fallen Ministers are stiffly climbing out of the strait jackets imposed by collective responsibility and beginning to air personal opinions, so far as they can do so without breaking their Privy Councillor's oath.

In the meantime Britannia, that exquisite Queen Anne figure, still rules the waves on one side of our pennies-serene, confident, aloof and utterly alone. About two years ago, Time guyed this masterpiece, portraying the new Britain as a bothered and painted matron with a middle-aged spread, clearly worried about her housekeeping, unable to employ domestic staff and harassed by her grown-up children. A witty and unkind but penetrating criticism of our present situation.

It is possible, however, and even tempting, to overstate the contrast between pre-1914 Britannia and the perplexed Mrs. Britain of the 'sixties, proud of her past but eager to keep up with the present.

Our gold currency is paper. Our empire is no more. No more are we the leading-in some continental markets almost the only-industrial nation. The two-power navy which sailed to Jutland belching smoke from her coal-or, latest innovation, oil-fired boiler rooms-is as remote as the fleets of Nelson or of Drake, one, in under half a century, "with Nineveh and Tyre." Our aristocratic class system is a memory, the middle class basemented, and now flat-converted houses of Belgravia and South Kensington its only visible memorial, apart from a few noble families perched precariously on the bachelor wings of stately castles which, open to the public, remain stuffed with the hoarded treasures of the past.

On second thoughts, the lack of continuity is less convincing, as de Gaulle reminded us in the extraordinary speech he delivered-how short a time ago- in Westminster Hall. Almost alone of European countries, we have retained the continuity of our political institutions, and, by a miracle, our immunity from invasion and foreign conquest. Queen, Lords and Commons, now in their eighth century of partnership, continue to provide the framework of our constitution, in form still medieval, in essence still contemporary, and even though our relative importance has diminished (as has that of all European states except Russia) our absolute wealth and even, in absolute terms, our military strength have never advanced so quickly. Although the contrast is considerable, and, to some, painful, we probably continue to enjoy, despite our difficulties, a relative importance and influence in the world greater than our numbers, strength or riches would seem to justify.

At a deeper level, the continuity of our position is even more obvious. Our adherence to the basic philosophy of the West, liberty under law, is all the stronger because the extent and danger of the Communist threat is deeply realized by all the main groupings of opinion and all classes of the nation. Despite the liquidation of the Empire, our interest-economic and political-in what goes on in Asia and Africa is hardly less direct than before, and, whilst attempts are made to decry this as neocolonialism, it is difficult to see why the identification of our own interest with the peace, security and prosperity of the developing world, and its ultimate absorption into the community of Western peoples, is less creditable than the attempts at subornation, subversion, propaganda and sheer mischief adopted by the other side. Our relations with Europe are closer than ever; our links with the Old Commonwealth and India-even South Africa-not less numerous. Our multilateral trading interests make us convinced believers, to whatever temporary expedients we may be driven, in our traditional policy of the progressive removal of trade barriers. In other words, given the shift in world power, the development of military weapons, the awakening of former colonial peoples, and Communism of all three brands (Russian, Chinese and Titoist), Britain's interests and policies remain very much what could have been predicted of Edwardian Britain.


Wherein, then, lies our concern about the future, our anxiety about our role in the world, and, what is more disconcerting, our friends' concern about our present? Have the British suddenly lost their political flair? Has the Britain of the 'sixties suddenly ceased to be a viable human community? In an age when Ghana and Iceland proclaim their sovereignty, have the British Islands lost their ability to live? Have the national characteristics of phlegm, humor and endurance suddenly deserted us?

The secret, of course, lies in our vulnerability. From being the most secure, we have become among the most vulnerable of human societies, fatally dependent on imports and foreign trade, our extremely prosperous economy poised precariously on the knife-edge of the balance of payments, our population dangerously concentrated in a few urban areas, easily accessible to potential enemies, and almost the ideal target for modern weapons of which the nuclear range constitutes only the most dramatic. The material factors which gave ease, grace and prosperity to Edwardian Britain have disappeared in the mists of time and will never come back.

Militarily speaking, when I was a boy, our frontier lay on the Straits of Dover, and, with our supremacy at sea, was completely invulnerable. The piston-engined bombers of the Baldwin era pushed it back to the Rhine. Jet aircraft and nuclear weapons poise it precariously at the Iron Curtain. But the missile age is upon us and puts it still further east. Soon, with the satellite weapon, it will be above the stratosphere.

But the precariousness of our economy in peace is perhaps a more immediate though less fundamental cause of concern than our vulnerability in war-and, unlike our vulnerability in war, it is a concern about which we ask ourselves from time to time whether it is to some extent our own fault. It is of course possible to exaggerate our troubles. Except for the upper and upper-middle class, we are quite certainly better off than we have ever been in our lives before. We are manufacturing and exporting more than ever in our history. Our precariousness, although probably greater than most Labor voters and many Conservatives know, is a matter of margins and adjustment rather than fundamental instability. Still, it is painful to bear such a high level of taxation. It is annoying to be told by Government to make rapid, if minor, changes of speed and direction. It is humiliating in the extreme-not enough people feel this passionately enough-to have to be bailed out by the Central Banks to the tune of $3 billion of overdraft facility and to have to defer payment on the interest of the American loan.

Economically speaking, we have learned that the national base is quite insufficient as the basis of a national plan-except perhaps in internal transport (from which, however, we are reaching out at last for a channel tunnel) and the construction industries (where, however, we are toying with the idea of adopting the metric system and prefabricated building). Investment in innovation on a scale necessary to keep up with the American Joneses requires a market on a continental, probably a global, scale. To Conservatives, it sometimes seems that the Labor Party has yet to come to grips with this fact of life and is still trumpeting the merits of a national plan, and pointing to Sweden (with seven million inhabitants) as an example to copy.

We are talking constantly therefore in terms of the sickroom and crisis, of Britain "lagging behind," of standing at the "bottom of the league," of being inefficient, out-dated and materialistic. This does us a great deal of harm with our friends, and it encourages our enemies no end. It is also, as I shall show, far from the truth. But the truth is that, after the loss of Empire and immunity from attack, we have not yet reached complete equilibrium-economic, political or military-and a certain number of swings of the pendulum will be necessary before we do.

We need not feel guilty about a great deal of this. The outside world is changing very fast in a number of extremely exciting directions toward a number of quite unpredictable ends, and even if our own society and economy were relatively static we should in any case be having to adjust it rapidly and often. As it happens that external change coincides with a period of rapid internal changes, we can, I think, flatter ourselves without complacency that we are handling a very difficult period in our history with courage, dignity and skill. (Labor Ministers should not take comfort from this claim. It applies to national achievements and not party differences.)

Policy is most conveniently divided into external affairs and defense, economic policy and social policy. Clearly all this, and much else, comes into a discussion of national role and personality.

The first point is, of course, the state of the alliance, and this depends as much upon the posture of our enemies as of our allies. One hopes that the advent of a Labor Government will make no fundamental difference to this. Neutralist opinion is not really a serious factor in public opinion, and outside the able, ingenious and devious fellow-travelling minority in the Labor Party (which appears reasonably under control) no one outside the lunatic fringe would wish to join the other side.

It is for this reason (among many) that the various economic policies based on a supposed analogy with Sweden (with a relatively small population and no great conurbanization)-an ignis fatuus with some commentators-makes no kind of sense at all. The analogy could be made to stick only with a greatly reduced population, a much more stable economy, a greatly reduced foreign trade and a foreign policy of dedicated neutralism.

But, looking at it through a British pair of spectacles, the Western Alliance appears to be in some disrepair by reason of an inadequate appreciation of the changed tactics of our opponents. The ultimate objectives of the Communists may be the same as in 1947 when the cold war started. Their whole approach is manifestly differently orientated, and has resulted in a greatly reduced military importance in the purely European theater.

In 1945, the Stalinists, having gobbled up the Eastern marches of the old Concert of Europe, and beaten, like the Turks, on the gates of Vienna, clearly fixed their beady eyes on a quick Communist victory in Western Europe. Without American help this might easily have taken place, and Britain would have found herself once more an isolated outpost of freedom under law on the fringe of a continental despotism.

But, since then, Europe has recovered her equilibrium, confidence and poise. Through British spectacles, this reduces rather than enhances the military importance of the European theater, increases rather than diminishes the political importance of an outward looking diplomacy, but accentuates the need of economic integration. The Communists appear to have drawn the obvious moral. From the death of Stalin onwards, the main political effort of international Communism seems to have shifted away from Europe to the Middle East, to Africa, to Southeast Asia, to Cuba. This is in keeping with the classical Marxist doctrine that the Russian Revolution was achieved by an alliance of the proletariat led by the Bolshevik Party (here represented analogically by the Russo-Chinese axis and the satellites) with the peasants (of whom the analogues are the developing peoples of Asia, Africa and South America). This is not to mean that the European theater is not in the last resort decisive or that a direct assault would not be attempted if it became worth while, only that this is not being attempted and that it is not thought worth while, at any rate at present.

Unfortunately this development has not-at least in the opinion of some of us in Britain-been matched by a comparable development in Western thinking or organization. There are too few who share our belief that the relaxation in European tension, even though it be contingent or temporary, can be made the occasion of a dialogue of some sort between East and West. There is a counterpart in the West to the Chinese attitude to the cold war in the Communist camp. As Russia becomes more and more industrialized, the increasing sophistication of her economy may force her to realize the implications of a measure of consumer choice. As the Western nations invest more and more in the social and educational equipment involved in a modern industrial society, and have to insure more and more against social unrest, a good deal will have to be done-as it has been in Britain under Conservative governments-which would seem rank socialism to conventional political theory.

But, more important than this and, in the political and military fields, more serious has been the as yet insufficient effort to reshape the strategy of the Atlantic Alliance in global as distinct from European terms. The need for the alliance is certainly not less than before. But it is less and less satisfactory for the Atlantic partners to divide their strategies and resources between a NATO still based on the European theater and other regional alliances and loyalties whose membership is not common and whose policies are not coördinated.

It is this view which has been forced on successive British Ministers by the very precariousness of our economic situation and the heavy pressure on our military manpower. It is this problem rather than the difficulties of the multilateral force which, some of us feel, should be occupying the ingenuity of British, American and European statesmen. Until this happens, NATO thinking will almost certainly concentrate disproportionately on European problems (which by that very fact it may well render insoluble) and incidentally impose on the West a divided strategy, a rigid and unsuitable military framework, a possibly unusable armament, and, on those members of NATO who have to discharge a world role as well as make a European contribution, an excessive economic burden.

The first problem in defense and foreign policy is therefore to induce the Western partners to re-think NATO strategy in terms of the threat currently posed by Communism rather than that of the Stalin era. No doubt, if we were to relax our efforts in the West, or sacrifice the interests of Europe, the old danger would reappear, perhaps in a more sinister form. But there is every reason why we should coördinate all our endeavors together-and with our Western contribution. France, Holland and Belgium, as well as the United States (even if we cannot immediately concert with Portugal) have all a varying degree of involvement in parts of the world outside Europe. No doubt each of these questions, as they arise, is seen as individual to the NATO members concerned. But they are all very much part of a global picture. It is ultimately intolerable that the Chinese threat to India, the problems of Viet Nam and Indonesian aggression against Malaysia should be viewed through separate pairs of spectacles, or that France, Britain and America should pursue divergent policies in the Middle East, or that the Congo, Rhodesia, Kenya, Cyprus, Aden and Somalia should not be considered by us all in relation to one another.


It is against this background that Britain must face her own foreign and military policy. The first political need is to define our attitude to the newly restored European continent. This brings us face to face with the Common Market. My own view has always been that the worst, and possibly fatal, step was our failure in 1950, under Mr. Attlee's Government, to join the Coal and Steel Community. This would have brought us in as a founder member of the Economic Community. We were frustrated at the time by the inability of the then Labor Government to see the inadequacy of economic planning on a purely national scale. There also were many Conservatives who, for very different reasons, were unwilling to take the step.

But the problem is now far more intractable. We began the 'fifties with about half traditional Europe behind the Iron Curtain. We begin the 'sixties with a Western Europe further subdivided against itself. Sweden and Switzerland are voluntarily, and Austria compulsorily, neutral. Spain is still isolated. Germany, though revived, is still divided and preoccupied with her love-hate relationship with the so-called D.D.R. Most tragic of all, the economic life of the Continent is roughly divided between the Market and EFTA, and, although this division almost certainly owes its existence to the single veto of de Gaulle on the proposed British entry, there is no particular reason to believe, if the Community continues to develop on its own lines, that it will be easier, after de Gaulle's disappearance, to effect a fusion.

In these circumstances, there is a good deal of pessimism, confusion and lack of realism in the British camp.

The other day, The Times of London featured as a principal letter a plea that we should make up our minds and choose between what were described as three alternative choices-the alignment of our economy with the United States "like Australia and New Zealand," in order (like them?) to become eventually part of the "same free-trade area;" an unequivocal attempt to circumvent General de Gaulle's veto into the Common Market; and a Sweden- like policy of diminished commitment and responsibility, with a view, I suppose, of ultimate neutrality. I have heard many Conservative critics of the present Labor Government credit them, consciously or unconsciously, with the third option.

But the point is that these policies are not in any rational sense alternatives. Not one of them is open to us in the sense that it could be achieved unilaterally by any British Government. Each, if openly pursued, would split the alliance wide open, and each therefore is only another name for a counsel of despair. None of them can offer trade opportunities equal to our need, even in the long run, and none has the smallest hope of solving the problems of Commonwealth or other developing countries. Incidentally, each would lead to the triumph of Communism over a great part of the world within a measurable time.

The fact is, of course, that successive Conservative Governments have been right to go banco for the lot. We need both reduced commitments, alignment with the United States and full partnership in Europe; and to choose or to have to choose would be ruinous. Nothing short of a greatly integrated West determined to go all out to win the battle of ideas by a single coördinated and global strategy-without a nuclear war-can even in principle solve our own problems, far less those of America and Europe. The fact that we have so far failed to achieve this is no criticism of those who have tried, and attempts to create out of the situation a series of purely imaginary and oversimplified options between which we are supposed to have to choose, and consisting of nothing better than component elements of an existing policy which has so far not succeeded, only demonstrates the intellectual barrenness underlying any possible alternative.

The Times letter was, however, interesting in that it contained no reference to the Commonwealth. This, in that it implied that the Commonwealth is not a viable alternative to either the American or the European relationship, is clearly a valid position. But in that it ignores one of the most important variables in the equation it is clearly an absurdity. For the future relations of the Commonwealth members to Britain and to one another continue to be among the most important factors in the British calculation. That the Commonwealth-old and new-has a present reality of great importance, whether or not it has a future, is shown by the closeness of economic ties, the reality of some cultural bonds, by the scale of British investment in India, and aid to former African territories, and to name only one example, by our military and diplomatic support of Malaysia. But all attempts to formalize Commonwealth organization, to make its economic policy cohere, to turn its sentimental ties into a political reality, have gone the way of the federal dreams of an earlier imperial thinking. Whatever the value of the Commonwealth, it is not now and it surely never will be any of these things. That it adds a certain importance to British diplomacy is clear. That its varied membership finds in it, each for themselves, something sufficiently valuable to continue the association can also be assumed. It is equally certain that it can never provide, now or at any time in the future, a substitute for the realities of a balanced economic, military, social or diplomatic policy based solidly on the position of Britain in the world independent of her role as center of the Commonwealth. That role is dependent upon Britain's eminence and prestige in her own right, and would not, I think, long survive their loss.

I have often wondered at the failure of our defense policy to base itself adequately on our maritime tradition. It is fashionable to say that our military plans are based on a peace-keeping role in various parts of the world, and to argue how these commitments can be balanced. To my mind it has always been the commitment of 55,000 men to a land-based task in Germany which is most open to question. If France, Germany, Italy, Benelux, Norway and Denmark cannot provide a credible resistance to Communism when supported by the United States and Britain, without calling on a British component to be actually stationed on the Continent (as distinct from being kept available in a strategic reserve in the United Kingdom), it is a pretty poor lookout.

I consider that we have consistently undervalued the role of the Navy since 1945. It is, of course, argued with a good deal of truth that apart from the nuclear submarine the Navy would not be much good to us in a nuclear war-or any war between great powers. But it took the failure of Skybolt, after the inglorious end of Blue Streak as a military project, even to commit us to a nuclear submarine armed with a second-strike missile. In the conventional field, despite the examples of the Sixth and Seventh Fleets, we have also consistently undervalued the advantages of a sea-based conventional force with carriers and strike aircraft for our peace-keeping operations, and we have never really summoned the courage to attempt to base this on a supply train of fleet auxiliaries constantly at sea, as distinct from the traditional naval bases in imperial harbors. Yet we have had warnings enough and to spare as we have been pried by the anti- colonialists out of first one expensive land and air base after another- Palestine, Egypt, Kenya, Trincomalee, Malta, Cyrenaica and possibly others. If we had invested all the money we have virtually thrown away on bases, airfields and overflying rights which we have been unable to keep-or when the time came, to use-and invested it all in a combined force of ships, naval aircraft and marines, with a train of fleet auxiliaries, and if, for good measure, we had kept, and trained, our Army and Air Force in Scotland instead of in Germany, we might be a more formidable conventional power whatever we had done with our nuclear forces.

The question of our nuclear deterrent is, of course, a matter of major dispute between the political parties. I was never able to understand why we did not go in for a Polaris-type missile earlier-either by developing one of our own or buying or manufacturing under license the American version. When I first agreed, in 1956, to become First Lord of the Admiralty, I went to see the most famous Former Naval Person of all time, in the hope, perhaps, that some part of the mantle of Elijah might descend upon me.

That Former Naval Person eyed me benignly over a whisky and soda. After congratulating me warmly, and advising me to "get yourself a sloop" (which I was never able to do during my four and a half months of office), he proceeded to discuss nuclear strategy. "Indestructible retaliation," he thundered, "that is what you want. Indestructible retaliation. Never forget that." He meant, I am sure, a second-strike weapon fired from under the sea. I was always sorry that the shortness of my stay at the Admiralty prevented me from pressing these ideas in opposition to the Blue Streak and Skybolt, and the chain of useless bases subsequently abandoned under pressure of the local inhabitants. But, even now, I do not believe it is too late. A Britain armed with combined forces, based on a navy capable of being permanently seaborne, and defended by a small number of missile- carrying nuclear submarines capable of operating in any potential theater, would indeed be a friend to court and an enemy to fear. Incidentally, to save the cost of the troops in Germany would practically wipe out our balance-of-payments deficit.


It is impossible, I believe, to discuss the role of a nation simply in diplomatic and military terms. Economic and social policy, like cheerfulness, constantly insists on breaking in. I have already mentioned the balance of payments and the insufficiency of our national base as a unit of planning. These two considerations must clearly influence our international and political outlook, our relations with the United States and the Iron Curtain countries, our European policy and our military commitments.

The short point is that our trading position cannot be met in simple terms by a concentration on any one of our markets. Whilst they were in Opposition, the Labor Party appeared, at least to Conservative critics, to be insufficiently aware of this. It is too early as yet to say how far this will remedy itself by contact with the realities of power.

The insufficiency of the national base is not simply a question of the economic growth rate. It is seen in the whole range of science and technology, from the most recondite research into elementary particles to the most practical commercial applications. As our traditional industries are overtaken more and more by new centers of industrial production elsewhere, our science-based industries-aircraft, chemicals, electronics and the like-represent an ever-growing share of our production and trade. Hence all our talk about modernization and automation. But whether in traditional industries like iron and steel, or the newer industries, or in the great nationalized corporations dominating power and communications, investment in innovation, to be commercially justifiable, demands a potential market on at least a continental and occasionally a global rather than a national scale. This is true, no less, in pure science, and in military and political planning.

This is the true explanation of the successive initiatives of recent Conservative Governments in the formation of EFTA and the application to join the Common Market. This, too, is the explanation of the Concorde project with the French, and, in its very different way, the Channel Tunnel negotiations. In the scientific field, this is the explanation of the formation of CERN (Centre Européen de recherches nucleaires) for nuclear physics, and ELDO (European Launcher Development Organization) and ESRO (European Space Research Organization). Hence, too, British interest in the Kennedy Round, and in American proposals for a world (or at least a free world) organization for communication satellites. More and more of us are beginning to feel that, whatever the merits or demerits of planning on a national scale, the realization of a common market of some sort for the products of the free world, and an industrial organization to match, is really a prerequisite of modernization, and any scheme based simply on national needs and national means of production is likely to prove a failure for purely technical reasons.

Ever since 1961, the expression "modernization" has been with us in the governing circles of both political parties. As I think I may have been the first Minister to use it, it might not be out of place if I pointed out the real sense in which it ought to be used.

The need for modernization is essentially the industrial challenge presented to us by the change in our relative position. This is not primarily a question of growth rate, or even of the balance of payments, to both of which it is closely allied. Again, to Conservative critics, Labor spokesmen in Opposition failed adequately to take into account the realities of this problem and to take refuge from them in the mystique of "planning" (on Labor lips a somewhat esoteric conception) or the sheer gimmickry of the popular conception of automation.

But, in its true bearing, the need for modernization extends well beyond the industrial field narrowly defined. It is the product of competitive pressures by trade rivals on the one hand, and the sheer weight of demand for higher productivity and capital investment in an over-employed labor market on the other. In part, of course, modernization results in the creation of new, science-based industries and the adoption of modern, automated, techniques of production. But at no ascertainable date in the future can Britain afford to base its industrial policy on these alone or to be without its traditional industries. In truth, the need for modernization is greater and more urgent in these than in the newer fields, and extends to management and trade-union attitudes as well as to the technical means of production and the precise nature of the product. The modernization of our whole system of internal transport, of our construction industries and even of much of our traditional engineering is far greater, and more urgently necessary than, for example, electronics, computers or chemicals, which by their nature must in any case be scientifically based. It is precisely in the more traditional fields that conservative habits of workers and management are most widespread, and most difficult to combat. Modernization is required as much in the design of traditional products as in the creation of new industries, in the higher education and training of executives as in the direct application of science, as much in plant layout and industrial psychology as in the industrial process, in sales and purchasing technology as much as metal forming or control mechanisms.

But this is precisely what brings us back to economics and social policy. Except perhaps in the transport and construction industries, all this clearly requires political and economic attitudes which affect our relations with other countries, particularly, if I may say so, the United States. On the part of the United States, it will imply, almost certainly, a far greater willingness to permit and encourage European nations to participate in the really advanced industries-let us say in the production of communication satellites, or modern navigational aids-than so far either the Government of the United States or American industry has been prepared to envisage. From this side of the Atlantic, it has seemed that Americans have only too often failed to realize how firmly Europeans from General de Gaulle to Mr. Macmillan are simply not prepared to be confined to traditional industries, processes, methods or products. Too often, for instance, when the technical arguments have seemed to favor the adoption of a British navigational aid, or a British-designed weapon, American business, often with government assistance, has appeared to move heaven and earth to oust the British product from the market. Americans must realize that whether they are dealing with British, French, German, Benelux or Italian industries, these are simply not prepared to accept American technological hegemony as part of the unassailable order of the universe, whatever, and however convincing, the arguments used to show the length of the American lead or the convenience or scale of an American source of supply.

A third fashionable phrase in Britain, accepted currently by both political parties, is the rate of economic growth, which, it is now generally agreed, should be placed nearer 4 percent than the 2½ percent we have achieved in the postwar period. I am not sure here that both parties are not to a great extent guilty of a degree of self-deception. It seems to me that both parties are strangely unwilling to examine the price that would have to be paid for such a rate or even to accept that a price would be payable at all, and that both are equally slow to understand the extent to which the option for a lower rate has been, though unspoken, deliberate, and, though economically expensive, beneficial in terms of social harmony and human values.

We tend to overlook the difference in the relative unemployment figures since the war in Britain and the United States. Whenever unemployment here has risen much above 2.5 percent of the insured population, there has been something like a rush towards reflationary measures by both sides of the House of Commons-even though a little greater mobility of labor would have been manifestly in the interests of efficiency. Both parties, and the electorate, have favored, or at least acquiesced in, a high rate of personal consumption and of social investment, a more rapid increase in wages than productivity, a budget designed to ensure a high proportion of transfer payments in the shape of social benefits, and have ignored the loss in terms of industrial efficiency, capital investment in production plant and the redeployment of labor that such factors have inevitably meant. I am not myself quite so sure as some of my colleagues in Opposition or as Labor Ministers that this choice has been unwise.

To some extent, the advantages of this combination of preferences may have been underestimated. We tend to cast envious eyes at the higher growth rates of France (which has followed a dirigiste policy since the war) and of Germany (which has pursued a laissez-faire policy since the war), without reflecting on the repeated devaluation of the franc (far more catastrophic than that of the pound) or the wide latent misemployment of labor in French and German agriculture where about 25 percent of the population, as against our 4 percent, are employed on the land, or the pressure, before the construction of the Berlin Wall, of the refugees from East Germany, or the immense mobility of Italian and Spanish labor throughout the Continent.

In contrast, we have been fully employed for nearly a quarter of a century. We have never made so many advances in personal or social wealth or economic prosperity. Though the temporary (at least till the last) financial crises have caused widespread grumbling at the measures necessary to contain them, we have never, at least so far, been prepared to pay the price necessary to prevent the crises without the measures. Where any degree of sacrifice has been concerned, it has not been so much a question of "I'm all right, Jack" as of "After you, Claude"-and that not least on the part of hard-core Labor supporters.

At the end of the day, although I for one am deeply conscious of the humiliation involved (whoever was responsible) in the need to go to the Central Banks for a $3 billion dollar credit (and whatever the measures necessary to repay it), I am left immensely impressed by the underlying strength of the British economic and social position, and the vigor, political sense and adaptability of the British people. To quote only a few figures, in the past 13 years the national product has risen by more than a third in real terms (£13 billion to £27 billion in crude figures), the amount of annual savings from about £100,000,000 to £2 billion, the proportion of the G.N.P. spent on education from about 3 percent to 5 percent, the investment in scientific research and development from about 1.9 percent to about 3 percent. The volume of trade in both directions has increased enormously. There has been peace, and full employment. We have enfranchised almost all our overseas dominions with extraordinarily little bloodshed or fuss. In the meantime we have been conducting as complete a redeployment of national outlook and personality as is imaginable in so short a time. Such scandals as we have had have been almost unimaginably trivial compared with the violence, corruption and chaos elsewhere. Indeed, were it not for our extraordinary, and to my mind unnecessarily morbid, orgy of self-criticism, I would have been tempted to say that we had weathered the half century since 1914 as well as any, and better than most, and that the role that we could hope to play in the next half century is at least as useful, if less dominant, and not less exciting, than in the past.


This brings me to the last great element of policy-that of the structure of society itself. Apart from the changes inherent in our military and international position, I am quite sure that this represents the most dramatic development of all. Britain has become a social democracy. In my childhood, the whole structure of society was hierarchical. People "knew their place"-and even in the lower ranks it was not always a bad one. The Britain of today is, in fact, though it has not fully grasped the implications, socially and economically egalitarian, far more so than the United States, and still more so than the Soviet Union.

On balance the change is wholly to the good, for it has been brought about by the immense improvement of the economic strength and position of the wage earner. In my childhood underemployment and poverty were the dominating factors in the position of the working class-even when they were fully employed and prosperous-which was not the case between the wars. But we have had full employment now since 1940, and since 1951 the consequences of this have been more and more apparent in terms of personal satisfactions and social policy.

Here, in my opinion, although it is the point at which party controversy is most strident, there is most similarity between the parties from the viewpoint of the outside observer. Moreover, this is precisely the point at which British politicians are least prepared to take lessons from North America. This is the more paradoxical because in the past American attitudes have seemed, and perhaps have been, in advance of our own. But we are no longer prepared to believe that this is so. Rightly or wrongly, we have come to think that the United States is so wealthy as to be able to afford to tolerate certain types of social inefficiency which would be disastrous if applied to a poorer nation. Many Americans regard this as a dangerous delusion on our part, and ask us to believe that many of our present economic evils stem precisely from our failure adequately to accept the American version of what creates self-reliance and a sense of individual responsibility.

This can be a source of real misunderstanding, because the British simply do not believe this. Rightly or wrongly, we tend to regard our social legislation, whether in the form of pensions, socialized medicine or education (or at least school education) as in advance of anything to be found on the other side of the Atlantic. We are aware, of course, that, for instance, socialized medicine is political dynamite in Canada and the United States. We are also aware that we have failed to solve for ourselves many of the problems inherent with it in our own scheme. But after nearly 20 years of the National Health Service, practically no one can be found in Britain, from the most extreme Socialist to the most diehard Conservative, to advocate a return to the point from which we came in 1948. We may be misguided. But that is the way in which our electorate and our politicians think.

If I were asked the most potent source of disagreement, at present between the Europe of the Market and Britain, or between the United States and Britain, it is to this difference of outlook that I would point first. Although firmly aligned with the West, Britain is not, in the sense in which the word is understood abroad, a conservative country. From the point of view of social policy, our Conservative Party is about two paces to the left of the Democratic Party in the United States and of most of the parties (however designated) outside the Communist Party on the Continent of Europe. Moreover, it is this, more than anything else, which in my judgment has been responsible for the unexampled success of the Conservatives at the polls over three successive general elections, and our near success-for our failure was a very near miss-in the last. Britain is, in fact, wholly committed at one and the same moment to the Welfare State and the Affluent Society, to Consumer Choice and an Educated Democracy. It may seem that she wants her bread buttered on both sides, and, though this is a very dangerous aspiration, she is nearer to getting it that way than most. Upon our success or failure to combine aspects of internal policy hitherto thought incompatible may depend our ability to convert uncommitted nations to the philosophy of the West. We hope Americans will wish us well in our experiment. Whether it succeeds or fails, it can hardly avoid being cited as precedent in American as well as European circles.

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