My Sketch of Clement Atlee

One of the things I’ve been doing to amuse myself this week is sketching, and one of the people I’ve sketched is Clement Atlee. In my opinion after Churchill – and I choose him solely because he saw us through the War and helped defeat Nazism – Atlee was the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th century. His government created the welfare state and NHS following the recommendations of the Beveridge report, nationalised the utilities and created the mixed economy that gave Britain unparalleled growth and rising standards of living until the crisis of the ’70s and the election of Thatcher in 1979. He also prepared the way for the dismantling of the British empire with the granting of independence to India followed by a succession of other former colonies, and its transformation into the Commonwealth. It says much about his impact on British culture that even though the Tories hate the welfare state – and under Thatcher they were extremely vocal about ending it – they haven’t been able to do it openly. They have just lied about making cuts so that the money will go where it’s needed. Which it never does. Just as they lie about the privatisation of the NHS. Oh no, they’re not selling it off, they’re just opening it up to superior private expertise and investment. Which doesn’t work and is actually worse than state management. Anyway, here is my portrait of the great man. I hope you like it.

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7 Responses to “My Sketch of Clement Atlee”

  1. trev Says:

    Not bad, better than my drawing of Enoch Powell when I was about 9yrs old whom I miss-identified as the singer Vince Hill for some bizarre unknown reason!

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks, Trev. I have to wonder how anyone could mistake Scowly Powelly for any kind of popstar. I know Elvis had that characteristic sneer, but even so.

  2. Jeffrey Davies Says:

    Great man but after him it started to go down hill we have me mes left now has you now Branson has a good bit other companies have a good bit unum just waiting in the wings for that dayl

  3. beastrabban Says:


  4. Brian Burden Says:

    Attlee was unquestionably our greatest postwar PM, though he had his reactionary blind spots. Wasn’t he in favour of diverting the Empire Windrush to India – or is that just a canard? He also mismanaged the independance of India by putting the incompetent Mountbatten in charge, leading to a sectarian bloodbath. And did he have no say in the composition of the Boundaries Commission which shamelessly gerrymandered the constituency boundaries so that a pro-Labour vote even larger than that of the 1945 landslide was translated into such a piddlingly small parliamentary majority that he had to go to the country again in two years, resulting in “thirteen years of Tory misrule” – as Harold Wilson put it? The Boundaries Commission recommendations were not binding on the government, and they could have been drastically modified in Committee, or Attlee could have declared them unfit for purpose and sent the Commission back to the drawing board or postponed further action until after the next election. You can’t be gentlemanly in politics; your opponents only take advantage.

    Jeff, I need a translation of your comment!

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for the comment, Brian. The remark about Atlee wishing to divert the Empire Windrush to India sound familiar – I think Yasmin Alibhai-Brown may have mentioned it in one of her pieces. And you’re right about Mountbatten and the partition of India, which resulted in 4 million massacred in a sectarian bloodbath. I didn’t know about the boundary commission, though I’ve no doubt you’re right and the moral you draw about it.

  5. Jeffrey Davies Says:

    If that’s me forgotten whpt was posted sadly IV a very Dicky brain is the d word sadly b

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