Interesting progression

Posted by Tory Historian Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tory Historian was idly looking at the BBC On This Day site and found a couple of interesting anniversaries that might indicate some development in this country's economic thinking.

Sixty years ago (and five years after the war had ended) petrol rationing ended.

Long queues have appeared at garages this evening and motorists have torn their ration books into confetti after the government announced an end to petrol rationing.

The Minister of Fuel and Power, Philip Noel-Baker, told the House of Commons rationing would be abolished because two American companies had agreed a deal to supply oil in return for buying British goods.

As it is explained beside the article, petrol rationing, which, inevitably, produced a flourishing black market despite that red dye, was a contentious issue with the Labour government realizing, after its majority had been slashed in the 1950 election, that the public was getting a little tired of war-time conditions years after the war had ended.

It is, of course, worth remembering that some rationing went on well into the succeeding Conservative government's time. The end of all food rationing came on July 4, 1954 when meat was no longer rationed.

We move on 22 years and Thomas Cook, the travel agency that had been nationalized in 1948 was sold to a consortium of private businesses, led by Midland Bank. No doubt there were people who muttered about "selling off the family silver" and the need for a popular travel agent to be "owned by the people".

In fact, Thomas Cook did not go into the black until it moved away from those charter tours and into some more modern travel business operations. The company's full history is of great interest.


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