The ‘will of the people’ can change. Ask Clement Attlee

A lesson for Brexit: the postwar Labour government was elected, re-elected and humiliated in the space of six years. Each time, the people ‘spoke’

On 5 July 1945, the British people “spoke”. Churchill had been a great war leader, but memories of the unemployment and penury of the interwar years were strong. Labour was elected by a resounding majority. On 23 February 1950, the Attlee government went to the country, and, again, the people “spoke”. The government was re-elected.

Although that immediate postwar Attlee government has been almost sanctified by modern historians, things were rough for it most of the time. The largely Conservative press attacked many of the social reforms that were subsequently accepted by the Tory party.

How long will it be before the government – and the Labour party – realise that our EU partners mean what they say?

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