Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Budget Proposals and Economic Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th April 1957.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North 12:00 am, 11th April 1957

I am not blaming them. I am an Englishman and they are my fellow countrymen. If they suffer, I suffer. If my attempts to help them are unsuccessful or are scorned, I take the blame for it but I feel no bitterness about it.

Today, what is interesting is that just that kind of utterly irrational, poisonous bitterness is now beginning to show its head among the kind of people who, in the thirties, were the good boys, the lucky boys, the snug boys and the retired people. They are not very rich people. They are comfortable, decent middle-class people with no malice in their hearts, who just happened not to be the victims of the circumstances of which the other chaps were victims. Now they are the victims. Now, year after year, they are finding that they cannot quite get by any more, and so they are having to sell things. They are no longer able to maintain their standard of living. It may not be the stark tragedy which stalks into the homes of those on the bread line but in this imperfect world it does not make people less bitter. One finds in the type of person who is now suffering that same kind of passionate, irrational bitterness, which shows that something is wrong and that they are really suffering.

Therefore, I say to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor as I conclude that the battle is not only the battle for the£and for national survival, but it is the battle for the balance, the well-being, the mental harmony of an important section of our people. If there is poisonous bitterness in the souls of any one important section of our people, it embitters and poisons the soul of the nation as a whole, and that is as important a consideration as the value of the£Ultimately it is more important even in practical terms than the actual physical and tangible results of the economy which it is the duty of the Chancellor to protect.