In 1945, Manny Shinwell, was made Minister of Fuel and Power. Shinwell had become MP for Seaham, defeating the incumbent Ramsay Mac in 1935. He was therefore in charge of the coal industry.
As a minister, he would prove less successful than some. 1946 was taken up with, above all else, the progress of the nationalisation of the coal industry. It’s probably fair to say that Shinwell’s eye was not on the ball in the winter of 1946/47.
Shinwell had put his faith in coal stocks, but thirty years of neglect of our coal industry and railways had left it unable to cope once the big freeze set in. For the Conservatives, who had had little to cheer about since the 1945 elections, the big freeze gave them a target: ‘Shiver with Shinwell’, ‘Not an Act of God, but the inactivity of Shinwell’. And, let’s face it, we love a…
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