Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer
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The Conservatives increased their majority, a fact partly attributable to the post-war prosperity that Britain was now experiencing. It is unclear whether Gaitskell was ever sympathetic to Oswald Mosley, then seen as a future leader of the Labour Party. In mid-December 1962, Gaitskell fell ill with flu, but he was declared well enough by his doctor to travel to the Soviet Union, where he met the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev for talks. Chuter Ede described the leadership election as "the political funeral of two of the greatest publicity mongers I've ever known," adding that Gaitskell had never actively sought publicity. He recommended devaluation by 4 September, but rejected the idea that currencies become fully convertible – in the way that John Maynard Keynes had advocated at the Bretton Woods Conference – as this might prevent governments protecting full employment.
Snowden claimed that because of the lowering of duties on foodstuffs consumed by the working class, the budget went "far to realize the cherished radical idea of a free breakfast table". However, he ignored the concerns of the trade unions, which he judged to be conservative and fixated on wages. Neil Kinnock (Labour Leader 1983–92) grew up in South Wales and was brought up as an admirer of Bevan, but although he disliked the comparison his battle with the hard-left Militant tendency in the mid-1980s had echoes of Gaitskellism; John Smith (Labour Leader 1992–4) had been a Gaitskellite as a young man in the early 1960s; Tony Blair's first act as leader in 1994 was finally to abolish Clause IV – for this and other acts he was supported by the elderly Roy Jenkins, who had become a Liberal Democrat by then.Philip Snowden, First Viscount Snowden, the British politician, was a forthright and convincing speaker. Moreover, by the end of 1959 Bevan was seriously unwell; he withdrew from the public eye and died in July 1960. Unilateral nuclear disarmament was increasingly popular amongst union activists and was also debated in several union conferences in the spring and summer of 1960.
After the budget Tony Benn, who was on the right of the Labour Party at that time, recorded the atmosphere at the party meeting (i. Bevan, who had just challenged Morrison unsuccessfully for the Deputy Leadership, scraped on in twelfth and last place with 108 votes. By 1951 inflation was beginning to increase, the government budget surplus had disappeared, and in another sign of an overheating economy unemployment was down to 1945 levels.Against a backdrop of a booming economy he led Labour to its third successive defeat at the 1959 general election. Gaitskell's socialism was, in Campbell's view, that of a public servant wanting to see the world more rationally governed. The son of a weaver, Snowden worked for the government as a clerk until he became crippled by a spinal disease. Gaitskell told George Brown in 1960: "It was a battle between us for power – he knew it and so did I". The Shadow Cabinet elections (elected by Labour MPs when the party was in opposition) were topped by Jim Griffiths and Chuter Ede.
He eventually joined the executive committee of the Keighley ILP in 1899, and went on to chair the ILP from 1903 to 1906. In 1898, he launched the Keighley Labour Journal, using it to denounce waste, pettiness, and corruption. In the 1931 Dissolution Honours he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Snowden of Ickornshaw, in the West Riding of the County of York,  and served as Lord Privy Seal in the National government from 1931  to 1932, when he resigned in protest at the enactment of a full scheme of Imperial Preference and protectionist tariffs. This claim was given new life by Peter Wright's controversial 1987 book Spycatcher, but the only evidence that ever came to light was the testimony of a Soviet defector, Anatoliy Golitsyn.Gaitskell eventually came to oppose both Cole's Guild socialism and Syndicalism and to feel that the General Strike had been the last failed spasm of a strategy – attempting to seize power through direct trade union action – which had already been tried in the abortive Triple Alliance Strike of 1921. The defence budget was to increase from 8% to 14% of GNP, a proportion exceeded only by the US amongst NATO members. Gaitskell soon emerged as the leader of the group, the others being Harold Wilson, President of the Board of Trade, and Douglas Jay, Economic Secretary to the Treasury. Labour had proved it could be a party of government, competent in office and achieving results for working people.