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Ernest Bevin

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They say that Gladstone was at the Treasury from 1860 to 1930. I intend to be Minister of Labour from 1940 to 1990!

 
Ernest Bevin

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A Tory minister can sleep in ten different women's beds in a week. A Labour minister gets it in the neck if he looks at his neighbour's wife over the garden fence.

 
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...it is a revolution without any mandate from the people. (Cheers.) Now, gentlemen, it is in the first place a revolution in fiscal methods...this Budget is introduced as a Liberal measure. If so, all I can say is that it is a new Liberalism and not the one that I have known and practised under more illustrious auspices than these. (Cheers.) Who was the greatest, not merely the greatest Liberal, but the greatest financier that this country has ever known? (A voice, "Gladstone.") I mean Mr. Gladstone. (Cheers.) With Sir Robert Peel—he, I think, occupied a position even higher than Sir Robert Peel—for boldness of imagination and scope of financing Mr. Gladstone ranks as the great financial authority of our time. (Cheers.) Now, we have in the Cabinet at this moment several colleagues, several ex-colleagues of mine, who served in the Cabinet with Mr. Gladstone...and I ask them, without a moment's fear or hesitation as to the answer that would follow if they gave it from their conscience, with what feelings would they approach Mr. Gladstone, were he Prime Minister and still living, with such a Budget as this? Mr. Gladstone would be 100 in December if he were alive; but, centenarian as he would be, I venture to say that he would make short work of the deputation of the Cabinet that waited on him with the measure, and they would soon find themselves on the stairs and not in the room. (Laughter and cheers.) In his eyes, and in my eyes, too, as a humble disciple, Liberalism and Liberty were cognate terms. They were twin-sisters. How does the Budget stand the test of Liberalism so understood and of Liberty as we have always comprehended it? This Budget seems to establish an inquisition, unknown previously in Great Britain, and a tyranny, I venture to say, unknown to mankind...I think my friends are moving on the path that leads to Socialism. How far they are advanced on that path I will not say, but on that path I, at any rate, cannot follow them an inch. (Loud cheers.) Any form of protection is an evil, but Socialism is the end of all, the negation of faith, of family, of prosperity, of the monarchy, of Empire. (Loud cheers.)

 
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We are taunted—by the French, by the Italians, by the Spaniards—for refusing to worship at the shrine of a common government superimposed upon them all... where were the European unity merchants in 1940? I will tell you. They were either writhing under a hideous oppression or they were aiding and abetting that oppression. Lucky for Europe that Britain was alone in 1940.

 
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