PURPOSE IN POWER by Harold Wilson


Email this review


The present British Prime Minister's speeches are as sturdy--if also as drab--as the tweeds and briars with which his image is usually associated. Stylistically, all that distinguishes them is a predilection for initial p's; in Purpose in Politics, his last collection, he told us that Socialism is ""people...purpose, planning and priorities."" Now, after a year in Power, he has added yet another quality to the list: ""partnership."" Fifteen speeches, public statements, or extracts are included here, and together they do indeed comprise a progress report, at least on domestic issues. Interested Americans may feel that the Labour Government's attitudes towards and roles in current world crises ought to have been given more space, and it is questionable whether both tributes to Churchill, or (except for the record) the two quite outdated pronouncements on the Rhodesian question, were worth including. However, taking the book as a portrait of a country's, or at least its government's, idea of itself at a particular moment in history, what is missing is as significant as what is there: this is post-empire, post-world-power Britain, turned in upon herself, busy with her private affairs. Thus, for the most part, despite the publishers' advertisement, this is not ""Harold Wilson the world statesman"" talking here; it is Harold Wilson the national economist.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1966
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin