Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The MacDonald-Brunner combination. (1906)

Editorial from the July 1906 issue of the Socialist Standard

The position of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald as backer of Sir John Brunner's bill, designed to reduce the age limit at which children may be withdrawn from school, seems to have created quite a mild sensation among those who, for some reason we do not pretend to understand, regard Mr. MacDonald as a leader of the working class and one whose departure from what they regard as the straight path, is a notable and highly deplorable event. Thus Mr. Rose, one of the regular contributors to the Clarion, writing in that paper, asks for explanations of “a callous and capitalistic attempt to lower” the age limit. He thinks that as chairman of the I.L.P., Secretary of the L.R.C.. and whip of the Parliamentary “Labour” group, Mr. MacDonald’s association with a whiggish millionaire in the production of a bill which would ‘‘accentuate the worst evils of child labour,” a bill particularly "Anti-Socialistic and retrograde" is exceedingly lamentable. “MacDonald's splendid work for the movement has entitled him to such a measure of gratitude and admiration that it pains one to say a single word of disparagement, but his best friends can hardly defend an attitude of approval toward an attempt to sentence children of twelve to the drudgery of farm labour," etc.

Well, we do not wish to speak disparagingly of Mr. MacDonald either, but really we are at some loss to know why his present action of support of a capitalist measure should give rise to any agitation. We thought it was fairly well understood by every student of current politics that Mr. MacDonald's splendid work for “the movement " was always subservient to his splendid work for Mr. MacDonald. That was the reason why we were quite astounded when reading of him in a contemporary as the “dark-eyed inscrutable Secretary of the L.R.C." Not because he hasn’t dark eyes, but because he was always to us so far removed from the inscrutable. We saw in him a gentleman whose action was most consistently pro-MacDonald. If “the movement’s" interests conflicted with the interests of MacDonald, so far as we have been able to observe, it has always been so much the worse for "the movement."

Blogger's Note:
See also the article entitled 'MacDonald's hypocrisy' in the October 1923 issue of the Socialist Standard.

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