Harold Mcmillan, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom speaking in 1957, famously said the following:
You will see a state of prosperity such as we have never had in my lifetime – nor indeed in the history of this country.
Indeed let us be frank about it – most of our people have never had it so good.
Go around the country, go to the industrial towns, go to the farms and you will see a state of prosperity such as we have never had in my lifetime – nor indeed in the history of this country.
What is wrong with that? What is it that gets people’s backs up when they hear You’ve never had it so good repeated today?
What is it that gets my back up? It is this:
In the early days of the Industrial Revolution in Britain, the conditions of the workers was terrible. Adults and children worked in conditions that literally killed them.
Today, their descendants work in much better conditions. But to say that people have never had it so good is to miss the question that should be asked. The question should be, how good could things be?
If those who profited from those terrible conditions had not done so, then the capitalists of today would not be where they are.
They live off and are the heirs of those terrible conditions. If they wanted to redress the wrong, they should share. They should give back what their predecessors took from the ancestors of those working people who in 1957 ‘never had it so good’.