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In some form or another influences such as these are, of course,
mentioned: the criticism is about balance in a book purporting to provide
general explanations. Similarly it is the general claims that make
questionable the stress given to the otherwise admirable discussions of
individual industries. If the implied pragmatism expresses one important
element, that does not entirely banish political and ideological
commitment. Since wholesale socialization was nowhere being advocated,
choices (priorities) had to be exercised over which industrial sectors to
nationalize (or to nationalize first). Given that, the choices were not
incoherent: energy and transport effectively constituted the early
nationalizations. There was much more confusion over the purposes to be
served. A string of reports, especially McGowan, Reid and Heyworth on
Electricity, Coal and Gas, had pointed to the need for structural re-
organization (not necessarily nationalization) as a prerequisite for greater
efficiency, but also floating around were other objectives such as workers'
control (effectively repudiated in the 1944 TUC Report on post-war
reconstruction); more industrial democracy; and macro-economic
regulation of the economy. In part, these got submerged in the desperate
economic situation faced by the Labour governments of 1945 to 1951, but
they were also neutered (whether consciously or not) by specific political
decisions. In particular the form of organization for the nationalized
industries the Morrisonian public corporation at arm's length from
ministerial control together with the failure to give any content to the
'planning' rhetoric that permeated the 1945 manifesto, ruled out any use of
the nationalized industries as the 'commanding heights' to act as a lever for
macro-economic policy.
All that has been said here is testimony to the stimulation provided by
the book, not least in reflecting on the privatizations of the 1980s and
beyond, where again it could be said that 'efficiency' is used to give
rhetorical support to policies determined more by politics and ideology.
BROADCASTING AND THE BBC IN WALES. By John Davies. University of Wales
Press, Cardiff, 1994. Pp. 445. £ 15.95.
In that remarkable process whereby Wales reinvented itself in the twentieth
century, broadcasting played a significant part. In every decade since the
1920s there were a small number of Welsh-speakers who clearly
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