Government Policy

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th October 1947.

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Photo of Mr Clement Attlee Mr Clement Attlee , Stepney Limehouse 12:00 am, 29th October 1947

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Member for Bromley tried to maintain that the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Economic Affairs was an indictment of the Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It was nothing of the sort. It set out the facts of the situation; it showed how the general policy of the Government for the reconstruction of our industries, and the building up of our export trade, under the breathing space afforded to us by the American loan, had been affected bzy adverse factors. I do not think even the right hon. Member would deny that there are adverse factors.

Let me say here that I am not pleading an alibi, for I understand an alibi to involve saying, "I was somewhere else." I am not putting forward excuses, but I am entitled to say that we must look at all the facts of the situation. When the right hon. Member for Woodford and I, and others, were in the Coalition Government we tried to make a forecast of how events would move in the world after the war. We tried the best we could," we made the best forecasts and the best plans; but he knows as well as I do that if we went back now and looked at those forecasts we would find that many of them had been falsified by events. In all operations, whether of peace or of war, one cannot make definite plans; they are bound to be affected by matters entirely outside one's power. In the speeches from the Opposition Front Bench to which we have listened there has been an attempt to suggest that this Government is responsible for all the ill things that have happened in the world.