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1964. Challenging the Attlee legacy? Towards a New Industrial State and a New Welfare State

Bush House, Strand Campus, London

In this lecture David Edgerton will argue that although Harold Wilson is seen as devious and clever not enough credit has been given to him for the consistency to which he held to a particular set of critiques of post-war Britain, and the extent to which he sought to change policies radically in both areas. He will show that in the case of industrial policy the Wilson government became more, not less, radical establishing a highly interventionist and discriminatory policy which is supposed not to have existed. In the case of welfare, Wilson’s government rejected the austerity Beveridgean welfare state and moved to establish in on a new earnings-related basis, something achieved fully only in the 1970s. These two critical elements of Labour’s achievements are neglected in the historiography, not least because both were reversed under Margaret Thatcher.

This event series is hosted by the History Department in collaboration with  King’s Contemporary British History and the journal Renewal.

At this event

David Edgerton

Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and Professor of Modern British History

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