From the Library — “It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow”

May 7 and 8 mark the anniver­sary of VE Day — the end of the Sec­ond World War in Europe in 1945 — and on Radio Riel on Thurs­day and Fri­day May 8/9 we will be remem­ber­ing the music of the 1930s and 1940s, with a spe­cial empha­sis on the war years, 1939–45.

We’ll be play­ing the music of the big bands, the singers and the songs that helped peo­ple car­ry on through the dark years. You’ll hear Vera Lynn, Noël Cow­ard, some ear­ly Frank Sina­tra, Glenn Miller and a great many more. In addi­tion we will be play­ing some actu­al­i­ty from the peri­od. And, of course, you’ll hear Irv­ing Berlin’s It’s a Love­ly Day Tomor­row, from his polit­i­cal satire The Louisiana Pur­chase (1941).

The Britain that emerged from the War in 1945 was near­ly bank­rupt, many of its cities strewn with rub­ble and bombed-out build­ings. But its peo­ple shared a great vision of pulling togeth­er in peace­time as they had learned to do in war, and against enor­mous dif­fi­cul­ty (from the tem­po­rary with­draw­al of US fund­ing to the worst win­ter in liv­ing mem­o­ry) the new land­slide-elect­ed Gov­ern­ment sought not only to put the coun­try back on its feet but to elim­i­nate many of the ills from which Britain had suf­fered before the war. It large­ly suc­ceed­ed.

In 1941, the wartime coali­tion gov­ern­ment had estab­lished a com­mit­tee head­ed by Sir William (lat­er Lord) Bev­eridge to deter­mine how Britain should be rebuilt after the war. The Report of his Com­mit­tee the fol­low­ing year was to form the basis of the coun­try’s Wel­fare State, with the avowed inten­tion of defeat­ing the “five giants” on the road to recon­struc­tion: Want, Dis­ease, Igno­rance, Squalor and Idle­ness. This includ­ed set­ting up a world-lead­ing Nation­al Health Ser­vice in 1948 with free med­ical treat­ment for all, and an advanced nation­al ben­e­fits sys­tem pro­vid­ing ‘social secu­ri­ty’ to pro­tect the pop­u­la­tion ‘from the cra­dle to the grave’, based on the nation­al insur­ance scheme estab­lished by Lloyd George in 1911.

The result­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive social con­sen­sus and its enabling insti­tu­tions estab­lished after the war stood vir­tu­al­ly unchanged under suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments, both Con­ser­v­a­tive and Labour, until the advent of Mrs Thatch­er in the late 1970s.

From the Library is pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Cale­don Library in Sec­ond Life, to inform, edu­cate and enter­tain. Today’s pro­gramme is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin.

You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now at http://music.radioriel.org — the ide­al URL to plug into your home par­cel media address in-world — or sim­ply vis­it any Cale­don Library branch in-world and press Play on your embed­ded music play­er. (If you want to lis­ten off-world, eg in Winamp or iTunes, and the above address does­n’t work for you, click here.)

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