In 1918 nationalisation was seen by many voters as akin to modernisation – the nationalisation of the railways was a widely supported policy, for instance, in that it would have ended the plethora of uncoordinated and competing companies.
This text is usually assumed to mean nationalisation of the whole economy, but close reading of the text shows that there are many other possible interpretations. Common ownership, though later given a technical meaning by the 1976 Industrial Common Ownership Act, could mean municipal ownership, worker cooperatives or consumer cooperatives. Many would also include the John Lewis Partnership as a company in common ownership.
In December 1944 the Labour party adopted a policy of "public ownership and won a clear endorsement for their policies – the destruction of the 'evil giants of want, squalor, disease, ignorance and unemployment (idleness)' – in the post-war election victory of 1945 which brought Clement Attlee to power. However the party had no clear plan as to how public ownership would shape their reforms, and much debate ensued.
The nationalisation was led by Herbert Morrison who had experience of uniting London's buses and underground train system into a centralised system in the 1930s. He started with the Bank of England in April 1946, whereupon stockholders received compensation and the governor and deputy governor were both re-appointed. Further industries swiftly followed, civil aviation in 1946, telecommunications in 1947 along with the creation of the National Coal Board which was responsible for supplying 90% of UK's energy needs, while 1948 saw the establishment of the National Health Service and the nationalisation of railways, canals, road haulage and electricity. By 1951 the iron, steel and gas industries had also been brought into public ownership.
The present version reads:
The change sent an immediate signal to the electorate that Blair was serious about changing the factors about the Labour Party which he perceived were holding it back in gaining popular trust. Since Labour came to power in 1997, the government has introduced a number of mild income redistribution measures such as the working tax credit. However redistribution of wealth has not been a major cause for the government and Ministers rarely mention the subject in public. Although absolute poverty has decreased, especially for children, inequality of wealth has not diminished, it has in fact increased significantly.
Presentationally, the abandonment of the nationalising principles of the original Clause IV represented a break with Labour's past – and, specifically, a break with its 1983 Manifesto in which greater state ownership was proposed.
This had given rise in some quarters to a degree of cynicism among those who see the "clause four moment" as nothing more than a stage managed row where the leader takes on and humiliates the membership of their own party
Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock named his cat 'Claws 4'.
Why Tony Blair Fears His Grass Roots ; Patricia Wynn Davies Analyses the Clause IV Debate, in the Second in Ou R Series on the Battle for the Labour Party
Jan 17, 1995; "Simply the Best Clothing" it says above a shopfront on one of the tattiest council estates in Lambeth, south London. Behind the...