From the August 1912 issue of the Socialist Standard
“The greatest democratic Government of our times” were returned to power as a protest against the “wicked extravagance” of the Tory party. They ran on a programme of “Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform,” and claimed their three hundred odd majority as an emphatic mandate for their policy. Six and a half years have passed, and the Ministerial “Daily News and Leader” of July 16 tells us that: “There is the great fact that since the Liberals came into office in 1906 the Naval Estimates have gone up from £33,000,000 to £44,000,000—an increase of £11,000,000 in all. Add to that the £1,000,000 just given from the realised surplus, and you have an increase of £12,000,000.”
In complete answer to would-be apologists the same paper says that: “The Germans spend 22 millions less than Great Britain on her navy —or only half as much—£1 German to every £2 English. Is not that an adequate margin to a great naval nation like ourselves ?”
But the Government does not stop there. Following upon the return of the Featherstone butcher Asquith from the Mediterranean meeting with the Soudan butcher Kitchener, three new Dreadnoughts, we are informed by the Cocoa News, each costing two millions, are to be built. In the words of our informant, “the increasing expenditure following upon these demands will be not less than £4,000,000, and probably £5,000,000, the year after. In other words we are now within easy distance of a £50,000,000 Navy.”
The Cabinet says that the road to Egypt is insufficiently guarded! True once again to Liberal traditions, the policy adopted is in total conflict with every promise Liberals have made regarding Egypt. Gladstone and his successors repeatedly said that England’s stay in Egypt would be very brief and “we” should evacuate directly peace was restored. “Peace” was restored after the most cold-blooded butchery of a people “rightly struggling to be free” (vide Gladstone) that annals can show. Thirty years have passed, but warships and soldiers are still there in great numbers.
While they are prating about peace the Liberals are heaping up armaments all over their empire. Not only in Persia and Egypt are these preparations for slaughter being made, but at home as well, and these forces will be used to crush the toilers by both Liberal and Tory sections of the employing class. And this is the Government which the Labour Party are supporting with their votes.