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The meaning and origin of the expression: You've never had it so good

You've never had it so good

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What's the meaning of the phrase 'You've never had it so good'?

The 1950s political slogan 'You've never had it so good' was used to attempt to persuade the electorate that their fortunes were best served by the party in power.

What's the origin of the phrase 'You've never had it so good'?

The expression 'You've never had it so good' was made popular by Harold Macmillan, who was British Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963, who obtained it from a US political slogan.

In 1957, Macmillan made a speech in Bedford, UK to his fellow Conservatives, in which he offered the opinion that:

"Let us be frank about it: most of our people have never had it so good".

You've never had it so goodIn the speech he celebrated the success of Britain's post-war economy while at the same time urging wage restraint and warning against inflation. He was mimicking the line of the US Democratic Party which used 'You never had it so good' as a slogan in the 1952 US election campaign. That slogan may have been picked up from popular idiomatic usage in the US, as this piece from the US newspaper The Sunday Morning Star, September 1945 indicates:

We used to have a little joke in the Army, when GIs were griping, "What are you complaining about? You never had it so good in your life."

The line remains one of the few things that many British people now remember of Macmillan.

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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