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Quora Answer : Did Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee establish a coherent political order in post-war British politics?

Oct 12, 2014

It's hard to say. Politics is always turbulent and positions always change.

You could say that out of the second world war, Churchill's leadership and the Attlee government's development of the welfare state you got a fairly stable kind of political consensus that lasted until the neoliberal Thatcher government of the 80s.

That's a thing you can say. And it has some plausibility. But it ignores all the genuine, quite bitter disagreements and fighting that went on during that time. And here we are in 2014 and the period of neoliberalism that Thatcher kicked off in the UK has actually lasted LONGER than that post-war consensus. Increasingly it may look less like an order (something that has an internal dynamic sustaining it by a kind of autopoeietic process) and more like a particular standoff that just took a couple of decades to collapse.

It also ignores that fact that the UK politics was very much part of (derived from) more global trends. How much Churchill and Attlee made this order, rather than occupied roles in the local production of a drama which was worldwide, is a moot question.