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Philip Snowden: The First Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer

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The abrupt and unexpected nature of Gaitskell's death led to some speculation that foul play might have been involved. It was difficult for the Treasury to take tough measures given the government's small majority and the likelihood of another election soon. This had a strong emphasis on planning, although not as much as his mentor Dalton would have liked, with no plans for the nationalisation of banks or the steel industry.

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. The Gaitskells had a long family connection with the Indian Army, and he spent his childhood in Burma.Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE (9 April 1906 – 18 January 1963) was a British politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955 until his death in 1963. He accepted the need for spending cuts to help make devaluation work and keep to keep the Americans happy, and thought former chancellor Dalton "rather dishonest" for arguing at the Economic Policy Committee that cuts were not necessary. By the time he was elected Labour MP for Blackburn in 1906, he had become a well-known socialist figure, standing at the national level alongside both Keir Hardie, Professor Arnold Lupton and Ramsay MacDonald.

This event made a lasting impression, making him profoundly hostile to conservatism but also making him reject as futile the Marxian outlook of many European social democrats. Despite this setback, Gaitskell reversed an attempt to adopt unilateral nuclear disarmament as Labour Party policy, and opposed Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's attempt to lead the UK into the European Common Market. Campbell argues that "history overwhelmingly supports" Gaitskell's argument that elections are won by appealing to the centre ground rather than to a party's core base, tempting as the latter strategy often is to parties in opposition. Many other countries followed suit, so it was mainly UK trade with dollar-using countries which was affected.The outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 at first threatened US loss of South Korea (which was seen as vital for the defence of Japan), and by the autumn threatened to escalate into a general war between the US and Communist China.

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