Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Passing Show: Aggrieved (1963)

The Passing Show Column from the April 1963 issue of the Socialist Standard


Much controversy followed the BBC’s recent broadcast of a filmed interview with General de Gaulle’s arch-enemy, M. Bidault, who is a former French Premier and Foreign Secretary. Bidault leads the OAS, the organization of the Algerian settlers who were aggrieved by the decision of French capitalism to abandon the French landed interests in Algeria and make terms instead with developing Algerian capitalism. The OAS blames this decision on De Gaulle, although the French capitalist state could hardly in the last resort have decided otherwise. Bidault’s group have already killed many opponents both in Algeria and France, and several attempts have been made on the life of De Gaulle.

Indiscriminate Assassination

The BBC’s Director-General defended the BBC’s action on the grounds that, if the position were reversed, the French TV service might well have done the same. The Conservative MP, Gilbert Longden. retorted that
the BBC themselves describe Bidault as “the man most closely associated with the OAS.” Does their Director-General really believe that “a former British Prime Minister or Foreign Secretary” would be the leader of an organisation which sought to attain its political ends by the indiscriminate assassination and disablement of scores of innocent men, women and children?
The pronouncements of MPs never cease to amaze. Has Mr. Longden really forgotten that every living “former British Prime Minister” and every living “former British Foreign Secretary" supported the British capitalist class to the hilt in the Second World War? Has Mr. Longden really forgotten that in that war the British Government not only "sought to attain its political ends” (the removal of the German threat to British markets and profits) "by the indiscriminate assassination and disablement of scores of innocent men, women and children it went much further: by bombing German. Italian and Japanese cities, the British Government (and its allies) indiscriminately assassinated and disabled not scores but thousands and hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Ghastly though its outrages may be, the OAS is merely an apprentice in assassination and disablement compared with the British Governments of the two world wars. Mr. Longden himself supported the British Government in the last war: why does he now pretend to be shocked by the OAS?

You pays your money

From The Times, Tuesday, February 19th, 1963:
The National Economic Development Council are to press ahead with forceful recommendations for faster growth in the national economy. . . . By last night, after two days' discussion with the Chancellor in the chair, the N.E.D.C. was a more united body than it has ever been. . . . The council's March policy statements are thus likely to be on all those subjects where they can find basic agreement. A cornerstone of a coherent N.E.D.C. policy must be an incomes policy. And the council show some optimism about producing at least a framework which has the seal of the Government, management, and trade union members. This alone would be more than the country has had before.
From the Daily Herald, Tuesday. February 19th, 1963:
The Government’s long-term plans for economic recovery reached crisis point last night. The crisis emerged in Neddy—the National Economic Development Council —made up of Government Ministers, top industrialists and leading members of the Trades Union Congress. They are the experts on whom the Government have been relying to produce a united drive for expansion and a lasting solution to unemployment But after a two-day debate touching every aspect of the nation’s economy—all day Sunday and all day yesterday—the Neddy men have still not produced any signpost for the way ahead. . . . The fact is that it is becoming more and more difficult for the Neddy experts to reach agreement on positive action.
Apparently it is difficult for others besides the Neddy experts to reach agreement.
Alwyn Edgar

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