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1965 Cartoon on government spending choices

Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and the welfare state.
Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and the welfare state.
© Associated newspapers Ltd/Solo Sydication, Vicky (Victor Weisz), Evening Standard 05/08/1965, British Cartoon Archive, University of Kent,

This cartoon was produced soon after the Chancellor's report on government spending (see 1956 Cabinet memorandum on benefit costs). The central figure is the Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. The flags in the globe represent British commitments of troops abroad: 'East of Suez' refers to various commitments in Asia; BAOR stands for British Army of the Rhine. Britain had substantial armed forces in Germany to counter possible threat of invasion from the Communist countries of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

Questions to consider

  1. What is the overall message of the source?
  2. Do you get the impression that the source is critical or supportive of Wilson?
  3. In what ways does this source tie in with the information in the 1965 Cabinet memorandum on benefit costs?