Friday, February 26, 2021

By The Way: Socialists—and Jokes ! (1946)

The By The Way Column from the February 1946 issue of the Socialist Standard

Socialists—and Jokes !

Mr. Ernest Thurtle, M.P., embellishes the pages of the Sunday Express with a column of Parliamentary chatter each week.

Writing of possible “revolts” in the Parliamentary Labour Party he says, in passing, “as a Socialist," Mr. R. Stokes (Labour M.P.) “is a joke.” (16.12.45.) “Technically in view of his party membership, he might be described as a ‘ collectivest-anarchist.' ”

What “collectivest-anarchism” is Mr. Thurtle does not explain! Only a party like the Labour Party can have Parliamentary representatives who are “technically” one thing, and actually something different.

In any case, why sort Mr. Stokes out? As Socialists the whole Labour Party are “a joke”—jokes are usually somebody else’s tragedy. The Labour Party are—for the workers.
“All animals are equal—but some animals are more equal than others.”
—Mr. Geo. Orwell, “Animal Farm" p. 87.

* * *

Another Great "Socialist" Victory

“Shares up on Coal Bill Hopes.”

“Formal first reading of the Coal Mines Nationalisation Bill resulted in rises in colliery shares on hopes of favourable terms. Bolsover were better at 96s. 9d."
Daily Herald, 21.12.13.

* * *

"Socialism" for Bankers

Lord Catto, Governor of the Bank of England, has informed the Select Committee on the Nationalisation of the Bank of England Bill, that he has only received ten letters from stockholders (17,000)) opposing the Bill.

The Third Reading of the Bill went through the House on the 19th of December in a Christmas spirit of light-hearted good humour.

“Several members spoke of the occasion as historic, but the Christmas spirit was so strong and the speeches from all parts of the House so light-hearted that a casual visitor would have had great difficulty in realising that he was in the presence of art epoch-making development in our political history.”
News Chronicle, 20.12.15.

By the terms of the Bill the stockholders get £58,000,000 in 3% Bonds which Sir Cyril Radcliffe declared for the Government was “most benevolent.”
News Chronicle, 21.12.15.

Best of all was the Herald's report of the speech of Lieut.-Col. Hamilton of Sudbury (Labour) who taunted the Tories with the fact that “after all, Mr. Churchill himself had agreed that nationalising the Bank was a reasonable step.”

* * *

Coal Mines Nationalisation Bill

“The Board will, out of its working, have to pay interest and sinking fund on the money provided by the Treasury.” 
Daily Herald, 21.12.15.

One small correction, the interests (profits) will be, as usual, paid out of the coal miners' working.

Nationalisation will change the name on the shop-front.

* * *

National Gas Plan

The Gas Industry Commission set up by the Coalition Government has now reported. Its report is almost identical with the plan of the Labour Party. The Conservative Times and the Labour Daily Herald commented in similar terms : — 
  “It is a pertinent comment on current political controversy that an expert committee appointed by a Coalition in which Conservatives predominated should recommend complete public ownership of a major industry, and should combine this proposal with a decisive preference for a form of management—the public-corporation—invented by a past Conservative Government and exemplified by the B.B.C., the Central Electricity Board, the London Passenger Transport Board, and the British Overseas Airways Corporation—all public concerns that have been wholly or mainly Conservative creations. The present Government . . .will naturally welcome the Heyworth report.”
Times, 6 Dec., 1945.
   "On the eve of the Tory censure motion on the Government for its policy of nationalisation a report last night by a committee of independent experts appointed by the Coalition Government recommended complete nationalisation of the gas industry. The Government . . . has . . . broadly accepted the scheme put forward. . . . The five members, headed by Mr. Geoffrey Heyworth, chairman of Lever Brothers and Unilever, Ltd., decided that nationalisation is the only way out of the present confusion and to provide cheaper gas for all.”
Daily Herald, 5 Dec., 1945.

* * *

"United Nations”

“The foreign policy of a Government is the reflection of its internal policy. Imperialism is the form which Capitalism takes in relation to other nations. A Capitalist Government in Britain thinks of the League of Nations as a means of preserving peace, because peace is a British interest, but still more it thinks of it as a means of preserving the British Empire and British Imperialist interests/'
—C. R. Attlee (“Labour Party in Perspective," 1935. p. 226.)

* * *


  “A Labour Government would plan this country in such a way as to ensure that, every man, woman and child was adequately fed as a prime duty of the State.”
Ibid, p. 236.

* * *

Workers Worse Housed than Animals

Mr. Yates (Lab., Ladywood) told of how in Birmingham 80,000 people, most of them ex-.Service, are now in rooms waiting for houses.

“I represent,” said Mr. Yates, “ the ordinary people of one of the wealthiest cities in the world, a city whose proud boast it is that it has a thousand trades. Yet in that city thousands of people are stabled worse than animals.”
Daily Herald, 27 Nov., 1945.

Capt. G. R. Chetwynd (Lab., Stockton-on-Tees) believed there was no problem at all for the well-to-do.
 “I have tried to find a house for myself in London, and in the space of 20 minutes could have bought 30 houses at £2,000 upwards.
  “I would say that not one brick and not one workman shall be diverted from the provision of houses to let until such advertisements as we see of houses at £2,000 and £3,000 have completely disappeared." (Cheers.)—News Chronicle, 27 Nov., 1945.


1 comment:

Imposs1904 said...

I wonder if that's the first mention of Orwell in the Standard?