Sunday, 31 January 2010

Resign Now, Mr. Eden

UK Labour Party Political Broadcast - Nov 1956

The leader of the opposition, and known as one the greatest politicians to never become British Prime Minister, Hugh Gaitskell, speaks in 1956, arguing against the British intervention in Egypt, as a result of "The Suez Crisis". He demands that Conservative PM Anthony Eden, steps down from his role. He also mentions the Hungarian Uprising against Soviet Communist rule. Eden now, is one of our least celebrated Prime Ministers. He wanted to be a "Man of Peace" however the Suez Crisis almost contradicted his values. Eden never heeded Gaitskell's calls, but his term in office ran for only 2 years, retiring due to ill health and old age, replaced by fellow Conservative Harold MacMillan.

"The Suez Crisis" was a disaster for Britain, and was a symbolic gesture of the diminishing powers of the Great British Empire, especially in the Middle East. Britain, Israel and France invaded Egypt due to the actions of the country nationalising the Suez Canal, a very important region of trade and commerce which transferred Saudi Arabian oil to the Western World. After Egypt started to become more independent, taking itself out of the "Warsaw Pact", and the ability to arm themselves with the fear of an alliance with China, and trying to turn other Arabian countries like Jordan, Syria and Iraq against the western nations involved, and the tension between the Jews of Israel and the Arabs. This all came to a head. Egypt's leader Nasser was regarded as dictator by the British press.

Gaitskell was leader of the Labour party from 1955-1963. He unfortunately died in the latter year, which ended his leadership of the party instantly, dying of an condition known as Lupus erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory disease. One of the main reason he didn't become PM sooner, was because of the rise in prosperity in UK living standards after the dire state of the UK economy in the early 1950's, under a Conservative Government.

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