Monday, 11 November 2013

What would the Conservatives of yesteryear think?

The ODNB entry for Sir (Benn) Jack Brunel Cohen, Conservative MP for Liverpool Fairfield from 1918 to 1931, notes that not only did he help to shape the British Legion, becoming its first honorary treasurer, he later chaired the national advisory council (Ministry of Labour) on employment for the disabled, which gave rise to the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act of 1944. He "thus achieved his longstanding aim of requiring employers to have a quota of disabled people among their workforces. He became the chairman of the Ministry of Labour's national advisory council to oversee the working of the legislation. Cohen stood down as the British Legion's treasurer in 1946, but in that year became vice-chairman of Remploy Ltd, which grew out of the Disabled Persons Employment Corporation, founded in 1945, and was its chairman in 1955."

I believe he was not alone in that generation of Conservatives who, having seen action in one or both world wars, regarded it as a public duty to assist the disabled in employment. One wonders what they would make of the current crop of Tories who, following Labour's lead, have virtually eliminated Remploy.

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