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Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Gaitskell's socialism was, in Campbell's view, that of a public servant wanting to see the world more rationally governed. Gaitskell (diary 10 August 1951) stated that he and Morrison thought that Attlee had been too weak in dealing with Bevan.

Robert Skidelsky is representative of the Keynesians who have charged that Snowden and MacDonald were blinded by their economic philosophy that required balanced budgets, sound money, the gold standard and free trade, regardless of the damage that Keynesians thought it would do to the economy and the people.In 1947 he once again played an important role steering electricity nationalisation through the House of Commons, winding up the debate on the second reading. In the summer of 1959 Hugh and Dora Gaitskell, accompanied by Bevan, went to the USSR to copy Macmillan's recent successful trip. g. Roy Jenkins and Bill Rodgers but not Anthony Crosland or Douglas Jay – became supporters of British membership of the EEC, an issue on which Labour was split in the 1970s and which helped to precipitate the SDP split of 1981. He was the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position he held in 1924 and again between 1929 and 1931. In 1860, William Ewart Gladstone carried his speech in a red brief case and today the Chancellor still carries one to his annual speech.

Many other countries followed suit, so it was mainly UK trade with dollar-using countries which was affected. An economics lecturer and wartime civil servant, he was elected to Parliament in 1945 and held office in Clement Attlee's governments, notably as Minister of Fuel and Power following the bitter winter of 1946–47, and eventually joining the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Exchequer. There were also very real worries that the Soviets might invade western Europe (which was unarmed, with strong communist influence in many countries) and that the US would not help Britain if she did not help herself. In the 1935 general election, Snowden supported the Keynesian economic programme proposed by Lloyd George ("Lloyd George's New Deal"), despite it being a complete repudiation of Snowden's own classical liberal fiscal policies.A very angry Bevan saw the charges as a blow to the principle of a free health service, telling a heckler whilst he was making a speech in Bermondsey (3 April 1951) that he would resign rather than accept health charges. Future Prime Minister Harold Wilson would also be inspired by Snowden's policies to resist a devaluation of the pound sterling in 1967.

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