PM Clement Attlee and Secrets

I have just been listening to Nick Robinson’s The Prime Ministers on Radio 4.  Attlee was probably the last Bristish Prime Minister to actually change the world as opposed to announcing it.
But what caught my attention was the fact that he was involved in two decisions, to continue with the atomic bomb and to devalue the pound, neither of which were leaked to the press.  On the contrary they were kept secret for some months according to the programme. It was then implied that this was not possible today because of the intrusive media and 24/7 news.  That is nonsense. It was only possible in Attlee’s time because his political colleagues and the Civil Service were loyal and honourable and knew how to keep a secret.  It is the politicians themselves who are to blame for today’s culture of leaking to the press.  By Attlee’s cabinet standards they are corrupt and self-seeking minnows of men.  Contrast the relationship between Ernie Bevin and Attlee and that between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.  When it was suggested to Bevin that he should replace Attlee the programme quoted him as saying “I am sticking to little Clem”.  To my mind that says it all.



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About robthill

I am semi-retired ICT Staff Tutor in Dundee, Scotland and an online facilitator. The views here expressed are my own somewhat quirky feelings about the world as I see it, no doubt just as prejudiced as most other bloggers.

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