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Radio Address by Neil Beaton

President of the SCWS in America in 1943

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A radio address by Neil Beaton, President of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society (SCWS) and past chairman of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC). He discusses the future and past of the co-operative movement and its international role. Neil Beaton is introduced by a radio announcer in the studio at WCCO/CBS in Minneapolis in America, where he is attending the Co-operative Congress. Neil Beaton is the Chairman of the British Co-operative Congress, President of the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society and past Chairman of the Scottish Trades Union Congress. Beaton begins his address with some statistics on the CWS and then goes on to talk about the international co-operative movement and the effects of the war on same, the plans afoot to resume growth as soon as peace is declared, the necessity of not returning to national and international economic slumps of 1919 - 1939, and finally looks forward to a time when "Poverty and misery will be unknown, and love and duty will be the real laws of life".

Questions & Activities


  • In what ways has the co-operative movement been destroyed by dictatorships?
  • Why is it necessary to plan and organise for peace?
  • According to Neil Beaton, why is this war being fought?
  • How does he believe that co-operation can help to bring peace back to the world?
  • How important is the Co-operative to the British economy?


Media Studies / Social History: Compare this film to Out of the Box (1942). Which film do you think is most successful in selling the message of 'co-operation'?

History / World War II: Find out what the historical context is for this speech. (ie Find out what was happening in 1943).

International Studies / Geography / Fair Trade: Find out how globally far reaching the work of the Co-operative was then and is now. Look at Fairtrade products. Find out about the international role of the Co-op today.

Expressive Arts / Language: Neil Beaton hopes that post war planning will provide the 'maximum amount of health and happiness' to all people. Reflect on this phrase, record your ideas as a mindmap (think of food, sports, holidays, friendships, toys etc) and use it as inspiration for a piece of artwork, drama or music.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-105-C
Resource Rights Holder By kind permission of the Co-operative Group Limited
Project Ref 0698
Date 1943
Genre Documentary
School Subject International Studies, Geography, Media Studies, History, Expressive Arts, Social History
Subject Matter World War 2, Language
Who International Co-operation (sponsor), Tomlins (production company)
Where Minneapolis, USA
Event Radio broadcast
Attributes Black and White, Sound
Clip Length 6:36
Film Length 06:36