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Power, Competition and the State: Volume 1: Britain in by Keith Middlemas

By Keith Middlemas

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Additional resources for Power, Competition and the State: Volume 1: Britain in Search of Balance, 1940–61

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Harold Laski and Mr. Kingsley Martin'. 40 Keynes fitted happily at last into the Treasury framework; it was Beveridge, pushed out by Bevin who resented his claims to omniscience, who had to search out a novel The Wartime State 37 competence. In a departmental sense, and in spite of the enormous changes wrought by the need to run a war economy, the men of the thirties did succeed in guarding certain tablets in the recesses of the temple. Later they saw in the reconstruction process a way to incorporate new methods, like tripartite consultation or demand management, as techniques to ensure stability without altering a more fundamental and ancient disposition of power.

Naturally they quarelled, sometimes seriously enough for AttIee to have to intervene. Though Citrine's authority was rarely questioned on the General Council, and though the headquarters staff benefited (like those of the FBI) from unions' demands for information and assistance, their power was strictly limited by individual unions' - or general secretaries' - willingness to fulfil the TUC's requests. Citrine set himself to establish parity with the employers in all relations with government while the emergency still gave unions a measure of equivalence.

FBI and BEC may have failed to resolve their anomalous relationship, but both grew substantially in membership and funds. 16 Industry as a whole learned to live with government, and vice versa, each wrestling without final advantage, like Jacob and the angel. Memories of mistakes made in World War One rankled in the financial sector, not least because British bankers had watched closely the Treasury's protracted struggle to stabilise the massive wartime debt, the debt to the United States, and the ultimate process of debt conversion in 1931-32.

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