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1958 Cartoon on expectations of the Welfare State

'It says here that there are no more causes for youth to fight for in the Welfare State, Mother ....'
"It says here that there are no more causes for youth to fight for in the Welfare State, Mother ...."
© Associated newspapers Ltd/Solo Sydication, Vicky (Victor Weisz), Evening Standard 14/11/1958, British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent, www.cartoons.ac.uk

This cartoon was published in the Evening Standard, a moderate pro-Conservative newspaper. This shows us that newspapers were prepared to criticise the government on issues that were thought to transcend party politics. The plight of old people is a good example and illustrates the difficulties the Conservatives faced in managing the Welfare State. At this time there were moves by the Conservatives to cut welfare spending. One possible cost cutting measure was to reduce benefits for pensioners. Such measures were always politically risky. This is commented upon with irony in the caption of the cartoon.

Questions to consider

  1. How would you describe the living conditions of the pensioners shown in the cartoon?
  2. How is the caption implicitly criticising the government?
  3. In what ways does this cartoon illustrate the problems the Conservatives faced when trying to manage the Welfare State in the 1950s?

Transcript

"IT SAYS HERE THAT THERE ARE NO MORE CAUSES FOR YOUTH TO FIGHT FOR IN THE WELFARE STATE, MOTHER..."