Notebook

In the early 1970s Alan became very pessimistic about his financial future. A seemingly endless succession of strikes threatened to paralyse the economy, presenting a challenge to the Government. At first Alan was wholeheartedly on the side of the workers. “I rejoice in the miners’ victory,” he wrote to The Times early in 1972… He was convinced that socialism was the answer. But many of the strikes — in the mining, electricity and transport industries — affected Alan directly. He suffered power cuts, petrol shortages, delays. “I am all for the working-classes asserting themselves but it it s a great nuisance as well.” The oil crisis, the miners’ strike and the “Three Day Week” at the end of 1973 made matters still worse. Alan was “terrified” by the economic situation; “I feel the approaching hurricane.” His shares plunged. He foresaw total economic collapse – no oil, no heat, no light, millions of unemployed. “I have been expecting the collapse of capitalism all my life,” he told Eva late in 1973. “Now that it comes I am rather annoyed.”

Adam Sisman, “A.J.P. Taylor: A Biography”.

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