Notes on historical fi gures
Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960): an impressively fi ery tribune of the people,
organised by the particular popular politics of the South Wales industrial
working class and intimately attached to the Labour Party. Represented
Ebbw Vale as MP for over thirty years. Minister of Health from 1945-1951,
overseeing the founding of the National Health Service. Fierce opponent of
Eden’s Suez intervention in 1956. A year later he shocked a good many of his
followers by renouncing unilateral nuclear disarmament.
Rhodes Boyson (1925-2012): brought up in a Labour household, becoming a
Methodist lay-preacher and a school-teacher. A man of uncompromisingly old-
fashioned views – which he proclaimed with brio – persuaded by the moral virtues
of the market, the wisdom of caning in schools, and the evils of homosexuality.
Gravitated from Labour to Conservative, becoming a Tory MP in 1974, and
remaining so until 1997. His Black Papers in Education (1977 and later) repre-
sented a powerful assault on comprehensive schooling and on anything which
went under the banner of ‘progressive’. He was part of the popular undertow of
the politics identifi ed by Hall in ‘Th e great moving right show’.
George Brown (1914-1985): senior Labour politician in the 1960s. Of
working-class origins, trade unionism providing him with a route through
public life. A foot soldier in the making of the postwar settlement, fi rst
mentored by Ernest Bevin. MP from 1945. He represented the right-wing of
the Labour Party, and after his active public career came to a premature end,
he quietly joined the newly formed Social Democratic Party.
Rab Butler (1902-1982): the principal ideological and political architect of
the Conservative commitment to the postwar settlement. Overseer of the
great reforming Education Act of 1944, and thereafter Chancellor of the
Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. Outmanoeuvred for the
job of Prime Minister in 1957 and in 1963.
James Callaghan (1912-2005): Labour Prime Minister from 1976 to 1979,
losing the election of 1979 to Margaret Th atcher, after government policies
on public sector pay had resulted in the Winter of Discontent. Presided over