Labour’s industrial policy and the idea of a National Investment Bank during the long 1980s
This chapter considers two overlapping issues: Labour's conception of the economy, and its overall electability. It attempts to marry both economic and intra-party analysis through the prism of the pledge to introduce a National Investment Bank (NIB), in the general election manifestoes of 1983, 1987 and 1992. The chapter considers the intellectual history of this idea and the various machinations regarding the similarly corporatist National Enterprise Board of the 1970s. It also considers how the NIB policy survived the fiasco of 1983 and remained a key part of Labour's agenda until 1992. The NIB became less about facilitating productive capitalism and more about the state encroaching into the private sphere. The NIB is instructive regarding the birth of New Labour. Through its intellectual roots in 1970s Tony Benn and the Michael Foot leadership, backing the NIB after 1983 helped Neil Kinnock to move Labour towards the centre.
Carr’s chapter builds on his recent biography of the filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, who rose to become the most famous man in cinema, and one of the famous in the world, all told. British born Chaplin would view the war from the comfortable surroundings of Los Angeles, California, but he would be profoundly shaped by its developments. This essay teases out his reaction to the conflict, and the controversy his reluctance to serve at the front generated. It then moves on to discuss how the conflict affected his own left wing politics, which were always of a radical nature but did not universally subscribe to the increasing consensus that the big state was a force for good.
This volume offers a series of new essays on the British left – broadly interpreted – during the First World War. Dealing with grassroots case studies of unionism from Bristol to the North East of England, and of high politics in Westminster, these essays probe what changed, and what remained more or less static, in terms of labour relations. For those interested in class, gender, and parliamentary politics or the interplay of ideas between Britain and places such as America, Ireland and Russia, this work has much to offer. From Charlie Chaplin to Ellen Wilkinson, this work paints a broad canvass of British radicalism during the Great War.