Just call me Vera: Spirit of 45

Well, that’s what the Spirit of ’45 quiz ended up calling me.

It’s on the Spirit of ’45 multimedia website that accompanies the documentary Spirit of ’45 (watch the trailer).

This is a “collection of people’s memories, what they wanted to achieve. …what their spirit was at the time”, says Ken Loach about his new documentary.

The film combines archive footage and interviews to explore the creation and development of social welfare institutions by the Labour Government after the Second World War. The story is told in a style similar to radio programmes Loach heard as a child where “one memory followed another”, mixed with songs and archive footage to create an audio collage.

So, what did I find out from the quiz? After answering 5 questions I was provided with an infographic that I could share on social media (to create a nice social buzz). Some of those stats presented include:

  • One in five of my children would have been stillborn and
  • just one visit to the midwife would have cost 30% of my average weekly earnings (more likely my husband’s as I would have been home with the kids), or £200 today.

We all know things were bad before the NHS was born in 1948. But the statistics serve as potent reminders of just how bad things were.

The copy was a little clunky in places on the quiz (one box said: Your choice of going to university is less than 5% of what it was when you actually went. Huh?), but it’s well worth a go.

The whole project reminds us of the seismic changes in attitude to welfare and social care that the UK went through in 1945. It’s timely. There is increasing concern over privatising the NHS, with more than 1,000 doctors writing to the Daily Telegraph a few weeks ago, claiming the legislation makes “virtually every part” of the NHS open to private firms.

The film is out on Friday.

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