Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On putting houses in order

I noticed the trailer for Ken Loach's new film The Spirit of '45 the other day, which I'm looking forward to seeing.

I had to think of it just now when, while doing some research for my new project, I ran across an editorial from The Times titled 'The New Europe' that seems to fit well with it and that has not, I think, lost any of its power.

Agreeing with Churchill's comment that Britain's only war aim was 'victory', The Times argued that it was necessary that 'victory for our arms will point the way to a new social and international order in Europe'.

It was important that the values defining that order not be defined 'in purely nineteenth-century terms':

If we speak of democracy, we do not mean a democracy which maintains the right to vote but forgets the right to work and the right to live. If we speak of freedom, we do not mean a rugged individualism which excludes social organisation and economic planning. If we speak of equality, we do not mean a political equality nullified by social and economic privilege. If we speak of economic reconstruction, we think less of maximum production (though this too will be required) than of equitable distribution. … The European house cannot be put in order unless we put our own house in order first. The new order cannot be based on the preservation of privilege, whether the privilege be that of a country, of a class, or of an individual. (The Times, 1 July 1940, 5)

Well said.

No comments: