chapter  13
22 Pages

Losing (Domestic) Bearings? 1945–

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War there was much con­ cern about the future of ‘the British people,. It led to the establishment of a Royal Commission on Population since it was believed, by analysis of demo­ graphic patterns, that there was a real threat of the efading-out of the British people5. Eva Hubback, author of a respected Pelican book The Population of Britain (1947), speculated on trends which she believed would lead to a Brit­ ish nation which had shrunk to a third of its existing size. It was conceivable that ‘an emptying Britain would be largely occupied by people from nations with very different traditions and ideas from our own,. She took the view that it would be a ‘world calamity,if the British people in the home islands and in the white Dominions were to become very much reduced or to die out completely. It seemed quite likely that Britain in the future would consist of £a mixture of our present British stock with that of peoples mostly from Eastern Europe or Asia’. Such peoples had many virtues and qualities but their ‘outlook and ideas are likely to be very different from ours today,and whom we should find it extremely difficult to assimilate1 In short, it would be a future which might have only a tenuous connection with what had been believed to be the basic ingredients of Britishness over many centuries.