Austin Mitchell

Austin Mitchell who used to be one of the presenters of the television programme 24 Hours, is now Labour MP for Grimsby.

SIR: No doubt Austin Mitchell’s notice of Harold Evans’s Downing Street Diary (LRB, 5 March) was meant rather lightheartedly, but it does call to a mild comment.The thesis is that the British economy has been going steadily downhill since about 1960 and that this is entirely due to Harold Macmillan. I thought that this was a right-wing Tory view dating back to the ‘little local difficulty’...

Lotus and Seed Corn

Austin Mitchell, 5 March 1981

The Macmillan years were the phoney years. In our pawky way we’d never had it so good – or been reminded so often. Beneath, it was all going wrong. We opted for consumption, not investment. Others moved ahead. We began that stagger from go to stop and back which has now become reverse gear – permanently. Perhaps we were tired after our historic effort to make the world safe for Austin-Morris cars to break down in, but living on our diet of lotus and seed corn we complacently ignored the warning chorus of Schonfields, Shankses and Croslands. BSA profits supported Lady Docker. ‘British Achievements Speak for Britain,’ said the hoardings, with pictures of Shipbuilding, Steel, Nuclear Power, Cars, Aircraft and everything else that was soon to go so wrong, so disastrously. Together we walked backwards into decline.

Labour Pains

Phillip Whitehead, 8 November 1979

Great parties are born and not made, and they endure for a long time. The Labour Party came into existence less than eighty years ago. With the tumult of Brighton scarcely over, it may seem...

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