What we can learn from British history about unemployment


Scarring left by the job losses of the early 1980s is still the reference point for today’s politicians

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Tucked away in the National Archives is the Treasury’s copy of the Liberal party’s manifesto for the 1929 election. Ostensibly written by David Lloyd George but influenced by John Maynard Keynes, the pamphlet – “We can conquer unemployment” – urges higher government borrowing to shorten Britain’s dole queues. Underneath an image of the former prime minister, an official has scrawled a three-word response: extravagance; inflation; bankruptcy.

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