Biography of the Leading Personalities of the British Imperial Political Elite Establishment, Presiding Over the Decolonisation Policy of the British Empire, and its Wider Implications

Biography of the Leading Personalities of the British Imperial Political Elite Establishment, Presiding Over the Decolonisation Policy of the British Empire, and its Wider Implications

One should say of Selwyn Lloyd that he had, to a marked degree, the quality of dogged persistence, of keeping on in the face of arduous and discouraging experiences which would have deterred most others. It was a quality which sometimes enabled him to salvage something from an apparently hopeless situation. This is always an admirable quality, and one the British people generally admire, partly indeed, though one hopes not mainly, because it is thought to be particularly British. Future historians will probably consider that he was a dedicated, capable and efficient Foreign Secretary, if not a great one, and may well conclude that he was underestimated and undervalued by his contemporaries.

Macleod, Iain N. Secretary of State for Colonies 1959-61.

Iain Macleod was by far the most radical of all pre-war Conservatives. He believed that the State should be responsible for protecting the whole nation which included the poor. He believed that this should be, if necessary, at the expense of the rich. Therefore, after World War Two he was determined to change the pre-war Conservative Party’s image which to him was an ally of business and the upper classes, without and apart from the working man. Such an attitude was also reflected in his subsequent careers, notably the foundation of the “one nation” group in 1950 with Angus Maude being the first one; also in a more positive and analytic approach than Labour had shown to social problems when they were in power between 1945-51; and finally when he became the Colonial Secretary during the “wind of change” period, when he considered himself the protector of the Africans, who he saw as oppressed, mainly in Central Africa. His preoccupation with the poor and oppressed, which began in 1946 when he joined Lord Butler’s team at the Conservative Research Department until his death in 1970 when he was the Chancellor, concentrated mainly on trying to produce a “property owning democracy” through tax reform. He wished to see problems such as unemployment and child poverty tackled. Macleod believed in an aristocracy of merit with its privileges, responsibilities and duties, but not an aristocracy of blood. This was because he was not born into it, and because there was something old-fashioned, hierarchical, and paternalist about it. However, he was educated at Cambridge University and was also attracted by Whites Club and the horse racing and country houses of the “ruling class” world. Macleod’s concern for ordinary people, his genuine feeling for people suffering hardship and exploitation and generally his liberal views made him a suitable person for the type of Colonial Secretary that Macmillan’s decolonisation policy needed, and he was appointed in 1959 to pursue that policy at the Colonial Office. Later on Macleod himself did point out that the decolonisation process was the only way for British to proceed and indeed his appointment ensured a determined policy of decolonisation would take place.

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