Lotus and Seed Corn

Austin Mitchell

  • Downing Street Diary: The Macmillan Years 1957-1963 by Harold Evans
    Hodder, 318 pp, £9.95, February 1981, ISBN 0 340 25897 7

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.

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