From the December 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard
In our October issue we left Mr. Baker gravely pointing out to a sullen House of Commons that there were many right honourable gentlemen, whose conceptions of what was right and honourable were inadequate. Doubtless the right hon. gentlemen will endeavour to put other conceptions of those qualities before Mr. Baker, before the Wireless and Cable Merger question goes off the stage. He went on to speak of some of the big people, as he called them, in the business. There was Sir Robert Kindersley, mentioned before, who was managing director of Lazard Bros., and also one of the directors of the Bank of England. His firm, Lazard Bros., were represented on the board of the Newcastle-on-Tyne Electric Supply Co. Lazard Bros, and S. Pearson & Sons, Ltd., were associated with the Whitehall Securities Corporation, Ltd., which holds half the share capital of Messrs. Pearson & Dorman & Long, Ltd., whose electric power interests in the Kent coalfield interlock with the County of London Electric Supply Co. S. Pearson & Sons completely controlled Whitehall Electric Investment, Ltd., along with the Power and Traction Finance Co. Ltd., in the Hungarian Trans-Danubian' Electrical Co., Ltd. Messrs. S. Pearson & Sons are associated with Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Co., the G.E.P. of Berlin and Callenders Cable and Construction Co. Mr. Baker expressed himself as puzzled at the attitude of The Times newspaper, in view of his previous feeling that The Times at least is a national newspaper. And then he made the discovery that the Hon. R. H. Brand, one of the directors of The Times, was also a director of Lazard Bros. Another director is Sir Campbell Stuart, who is a member of the Imperial Wireless Conference, which is settling the whole thing. After briefly referring to the ramifications of Hambro’s Bank, he next referred to Mr. Szarvasy. So far as is known, he was a mere shareholder in this country in 1910, but from 1912, became substitute director for Baron Springer, of Vienna. To-day he is managing director and chairman of the British, Foreign and Colonial Corporation, and a director of the Dunlop Rubber Co. When Lord Rothermere formed the Daily Mail Trust, it was through Mr. Szarvasy that the British Foreign and Colonial Corporation issued a mortgage debenture for £9,000,000. Mr. Szarvasy is also a director of the Danube Navigation Co., the Guardian Assurance Co., and Martins Bank. With the late Alfred Lowenstein, and Albert Pam, of J. H. Schroeder & Co., he is on the directors’ committee of the Hydro-Electric Securities Corporation of Quebec. This last belongs to the group of interests which control the power used by the Canadian Marconi Co., Ltd. Mr. Szarvasy is also chairman (and Lord Derby, president) of the Anglo-French Banking Corporation.
Proceeding with the big people, as Mr. Baker put it, there is Sir Charles Coupar Barrie, who is linked with Mr. Szarvasy on the directorate of the Danube Navigation Co. Sir Coupar Barrie is a member of the Post Office Advisory Council. There is Mr. F. R. S. Balfour, associated with Mr. Szarvasy on the Guardian Assurance Co., is also a member of the Bank of Montreal. Both these gentlemen have recently been added to the board of the Marconi Company. A third addition is Sir Frederick Sykes, who has been appointed Governor of Bombay. He was a director of the Daily Mail Trust, the Marconi Telegraph Co., the Underground Railways of London, the London Express Newspaper, Ltd., the Sunday Sketch and the Sunday Herald. And to-day he is Governor of Bombay. Of course as a Governor, he should give up his other jobs as director. But still, it is interesting, isn’t it: yesterday a Daily Mail governor, to-day a Bombay Governor!
There are a few more columns of similar engaging facts, and it will be well worth the while of anyone interested to obtain a copy of Hansard, for Thursday, August 2nd. It should be carefully read over two or three times between now and the next General Election. Then, when you are passively listening to the fervid oratory of the sleek, oily, persuasive gentlemen who are anxious to serve their country once more, permit yourself to reflect on the vast and intricate network of interlocked capitalist interests, and to wonder just where the orator before you, fits in. At the moment, it may be useful to remember that the catchword for the next Election has not yet made its appearance. Doubtless behind closed doors, what they will call the plan of campaign is now being carefully sketched out, including possibly Another “Red Letter,” or some similar fooltrap. But this can safely be prophesied. Each of the capitalist parties will assure you by all they hold sacred, that never in the whole history of the planet was there such a set of moral, virtuous, upright, self-sacrificing patriots as those now seeking your suffrages as so-and-so candidates. Likewise, never hitherto, has this burdened earth been required to support on its suffering breast such a vile, scurrilous, inept rabble as is comprised in the other party. You will be emphatically assured that between the one party and the other, there is fixed a great gulf, a yawning abyss.
But then, if you have read your Hansard, and your Socialist Standard aright, you will perceive that interlocking directorates and international capital make light work of any gulf. You will see your Melchetts and your Derbys, your Szarvasvs and Lowensteins, your French Bankers and German Barons, your Hungarian financiers and Canadian company promoters, all without distinction of race, religion, sex or creed, joined in one happy family whose name is PROFIT. It is for you to see behind the trickery of Elections, the pomp of ceremonial, the intoxication of oratory, to the reality beyond, capital exploiting labour. You will notice, if you listen to one of our speakers, that we do not divide our political opponents into good men and bad men, clever men and numbskulls, upright men and tricky men, rich men and poor men. No! We go deeper than that. We see society divided into two distinct classes, those on the one side who own our means of existence, and on the other, those who have to work for them and who are in consequence the slaves of the first. This system is an excellent one—for the Melchetts, the Derbys and the rest of them. One does not expect them to favour an alteration of it. Therefore, when they, or their friends, appear before you at Election time, a vote for them however obtained and however given, is a vote that society shall remain divided as at present, with a few very rich and a vast number poor. But the system is not an excellent one for you, and for me. It is necessary, therefore, that we band our greatly superior number together, and appoint our own representatives to Parliament who will not spend their time in delivering marvellous, flowery speeches, to sullen, bitterly hostile opponents, but who, when in a majority shall use the whole powers of Parliament to take our means of life from the hands of private profit-makers and convert them into socially owned tools of production. As Mr. Baker’s speech has revealed and as we have tried to make clear frequently in our columns, day after day, at amazing speed, capital is actively engaged in linking up the civilised world’s life-units into closely knit monopolistic trusts. There is only one alternative, Socialism, and there is only one party fighting for it, the Socialist Party. Capital is moving, rapidly, ceaselessly, remorselessly. What are you doing?
W. T. Hopley