Below we list six ways in which the author could go on to develop this essay in order to build on the claims of the introduction. Which of these is essential and which would risk undermining the claims set out in the introduction (and thus risk introducing indecisiveness or incoherence into the essay)?
- The essay needs to flesh out its claims about the politics of security
- It needs to bring in the Cold War context of the 1950s and hence the wider meaning of security to contemporaries.
- It needs to explore the relationship between the politics of ‘security’, ‘freedom’ and ‘affluence’ in greater detail. Did the Conservatives do well because they appeared to guarantee both security and affluence, and was their conception of ‘affluence’ and their championing of ‘freedom’ premised upon ideas about minimum social rights guaranteeing security to all?
- It needs to do more to give substance to its anti-reductionist arguments – why should we accept the implied claim that a different Labour politics might have prospered in the 1950s; or that a different Conservatism might have failed?
- It needs to recognise that Conservative propaganda did sell ‘affluence’ hard in 1959 – making much of the party’s responsibility for rising mass consumption levels, and the threat posed to this new consumerism by Labour.
- It needs to explain why on two occasions Conservatives came close to breaking with full employment in their search for greater monetary discipline to control inflation (1952 with the ROBOT plan, and 1958 with the retrenchment programme that ultimately led to the Treasury Resignations).
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