The Vermin Club, 1948-51

A recent Conservative Party poster campaign featured Tony Blair with the eyes of the devil and the caption 'New Labour – New Danger'. Both pro- and anti-Labour elements were critical of the tone of the poster. It is interesting then, to remember an earlier occasion of similar circumstance. This time it was the Conservatives who were seeking to re-invent themselves in the aftermath of the shock defeat in the 1945 General Election when a similar mud- slinging campaign was initiated.

On the evening of July 4th, 1948. Aneurin Bevan, the Labour Government's Minister of Health, addressed the annual Labour rally for the North of England at Belle Vue, Manchester. During the course of his speech he recounted the hardships of his youth and of those in his South Wales community in relation to sickness and disease:

That is why no amount of cajolery can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party that inflicted those experiences on me. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin. They condemned millions of first-class people to semi-starvation.

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