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Writing of the Labour governments 1945-1951 a senior civil servant said It put me in mind of Columbus voyage when Columbus set out he didnt know where he was going when he arrived he didnt know where he was and when he returned he didnt know where hed been Assess the achievements and failures of the Labour governments of 1945-1951 Shortly after the Second World War Winston Churchill decided to dissolve the wartime coalition and was confident that he would be able to form a government of his own The subsequent general election led to a surprising and overwhelming victory for his Labour opponents and no one was more shocked by this landslide than the new Prime Minister Clement Attlee Atlees governments have since received heavy criticism from both the left and right wings of the political scale The major complaint of the right winged commentators was that Labour introduced too much socialism and that perhaps they ignored desperately needed industrial regeneration in this post war period in favour of welfare reforms Their counterparts on the left have argued that although they may have introduced long overdue reforms they failed to break down the long standing class barriers or redistribute wealth and thus accusing the Attlee governments of wasting an opportunity to create a true socialist state Most of these critiques however have been formed with the benefit of hindsight Inevitably no government is able to please the whole nation and it is only when elected into office that the ideology that a Party commits to in opposition is put to the test In order to assess the achievements and failures of Attlees governments we must first consider the state of Britain when the Labour Party assumed power and consequently observe the degree to which their policies and reforms benefited the country The election victory in July 1945 was a surprise as Winston Churchills popularity was never below eighty percent
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