The Passing Show column from the August 1959 issue of the Socialist Standard
GALLANT CHRISTIAN GENTLEMAN
Mr. James Callaghan, the Labour Party’s “Shadow Colonial Secretary,” had this to say in the debate about the killing of eleven detainees at the Hola camp in Kenya (Daily Herald, 17-6-59):
The Tories believed that for reasons of State the truth should not be told. By silently conniving they had shown themselves no better than any totalitarians. No better than any Communist, or, if Mr. Lennox-Boyd preferred it, than any Fascist.
“This,” the account continues, “brought a storm of Tory protests and shouts of ‘Smear!’”
It is curious that the Conservatives should protest so much at this reference to Mr. Lennox-Boyd, who, as Colonial Secretary, must bear a large proportion of the responsibility for what happens in the camps where Britain imprisons, often without trial, the opponents of her colonial rule. To show open support for Franco went out of fashion during the war. But before it Mr. Lennox-Boyd made no secret of his support for Franco in Spain. He was a member of the Committee of the “Friends of National Spain”—i.e., the friends of the Rebel side in the Civil War; he was closely associated with such people as the then Sir Henry Page Croft, who made the famous declaration “I recognize General Franco to be a gallant Christian gentleman.” (Details can be found in Simon Haxey’s book “TORY M.P.,” published by Gollancz)
Mr. Lennox-Boyd also claimed in the House of Commons that he was not a democrat or Parliamentarian in regard to India at that time (The Times, 9-2-35). Why, one wonders, are the Tories now so sensitive at these references to their Colonial Secretary’s opinions?
The Labour Party, when it is in power, is of course as zealous for the defence of British capitalism’s colonial interests as the Conservatives themselves. Sir Roy Welensky, fresh from the jailing of the leaders of the Africans, who are the great majority in his Rhodesian Federation. came to Britain recently and said on arrival that he did not fear a Labour Government (The Observer, 5-7-59). “I have found in the past,” he said, “that I can expect as much realism from the Labour Party as from the Conservatives when they are in office.”
This is a splendid tribute to the Labour Party’s past services to those who think like Welensky. No doubt it will have a prominent place in their propaganda at the next General Election.
HOW TO WIN ELECTIONS
AND on the subject of the coming election, the headlines of the Daily Herald on June 17th were not without interest. “Bevan slams H-rebels,’ they ran. “You’d lose us the election.” Apparently Mr. Bevan had told a private meeting of Labour M.P.s the night before that “if the Labour Party fought a General Election on a policy of go-it-alone disarmament the result would be ‘like it was in 1931,’ ” when Labour was heavily defeated.
Which provides strong support for those who say that the leaders of the great political parties shape their policies mainly in order to secure the greatest possible number of votes.
THE cinema trade chiefs complain of competition from TV. Filming projects are abandoned. Cinemas close. The industry appears to be having a bad time.
But cinema magnate Lord Rank is weathering the storm. He is lavishing great care on the grouse on his 30,000 acre leased Scottish estate. Apparently the birds have to have grit in their gullets to digest their food properly. So the solicitous peer is transporting various kinds of grit from far corners of the islands, to see which his birds like best. Thirty thousand tons have so far been carried to his estate, ten thousand of them from Cornwall, and other samples from Aberdeen and Ireland (Daily Express, 27-6-59).
Lord Rank’s shooting, at least, seems to have survived the cinema depression.