Thursday, August 17, 2023

Greasy Pole: Politicians on probation (2001)

The Greasy Pole column from the August 2001 issue of the Socialist Standard

Tony Blair and his government are on probation. They spent the years between 1997 and 2001 in hardened delinquency – telling us that things were changing, getting better, when all the evidence said that they were as bad as ever. It was not surprising that so many Labour voters stayed away from the polling booths in June – not because of what Blair denounced as apathy but to assert their disappointment in Britain under New Labour. So it came about that after the election the government could spend little time congratulating themselves on their historic win but had to consider the fact that they had not delivered what they had promised.

Thousands of sick people still have to wait for admission to hospitals for treatement by under-resourced, overworked staff in conditions which can often be described as appalling. Poverty is as deep and as damaging as ever. Many children go each day to schools in crumbling, overcrowded buildings. University graduates are qualifying with huge debts through having to pay tuition fees.The “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” policy has not proved to be the magic formula for reducing it ; in fact violent crime continues to rise. For these reasons – and for many others – the voters’ assessment of the government was – “Could do better. Must do better. After all, you’ve got to come back asking us to vote for you again in another few years". And like any subdued delinquent on probation, the government has had to promise to do better.

But of course the Tories – for different reasons – also made a dismal showing at the election. For them, it is even more urgent to do better in their appeal to the voters. First of all there was the matter of their leader but they were spared the embarrassment of pushing William Hague over the cliff by his obligingly jumping before a hand could be laid on him. At this time of his humiliation there were few people cruel enough to recall all the glorious promises that were made about him when he became leader – promises about how this young, vigorous judo hobbyist was destined to lead his party out of the gloom and divisions of the Major years. After Hague’s resignation there was some doubt about whether anyone would be mad enough to want to lead a party which is unlikely to get a sniff of power for the next ten years. But in the end there were five MPs so devoted to their duty to their party and country that they were prepared to make the necessary sacrifice to serve the rest of us – or, to be more accurate, in order to fulfill an ambition which has dominated their political lives.

All these candidates agreed that the Tories were also on probation. In 1997 they had failed to convince enough voters that the previous 18 years had been notable for their achievement in building a prosperous, secure, healthy, crime-free country. Now, they had to do better. Portillo thought they had been too hard line in their policies; Davis thought they had not been hard enough. Ancram thought they had been too divided. Duncan-Smith said the leadership election was about “. . . how we renew, how we change, about how we stay Conservative” – which was muddled enough to appeal to just about every Tory in the country. They got plenty of advice from psephologists and media hacks about the need to occupy what they called the Middle Ground – a kind of unstable political swampland – except that Blair and his New Labour people are there before them. Covered in that kind of mud, the two parties look exactly alike.

The most gruesome personification of this approach was Michael Portillo, who has spent the four years since he was rejected by the electors of Enfield Southgate trying to expunge the memory of a number of unwisely hysterical speeches – like the one when he had a Tory conference swooning with his reference to the SAS and their “Who Dares Wins” motto (Ted Heath snarled that the reaction to this speech “hit new heights of offensiveness”). Portillo came into Parliament with the reputation of a fast rising star and as soon as he had changed his hair style from the gawky schoolby fringe to a proudly sweeping quiff he began to make his mark as an unrepentant, straight-down-the-line Thatcherite. The Iron Lady herself knew him as “beyond any questioning a passionate supporter of everything we (stand) for” – which should have been enough to finish him off. In another provocative speech he informed an audience of students that had they been studying in some other countries they would have been able to buy their degrees. He took on the job of pushing through the hated Poll Tax, on the grounds that it was one of the most beneficial pieces of legislation dreamed up by any government. The embodiment of Tory arrogance, he seemed to glory in being one of the most hated politicians in the country.

Portillo’s apparent personality change, his efforts to get people to love – and to vote for – him has only made him look more ridiculous and gruesome than ever. He is no longer the arch-privatiser; now he promises that a Tory government would match any money Blair’s government spends on the NHS. He has accepted the minimum wage, although he once said this would lead to mass unemployment (perhaps even more people out of work than there were under the Tories?). In fact he has committed a future Tory government to “full employment” – as if that can be brought about through government policies. He no longer regards the Labour Party as a mortal enemy; now he praises Blair’s lot for how they are running the economy (as if governments have anything to do with how the economy runs). And, most crucially, he revealed that all those rumours over all those years about him being homosexual were true. He could hardly have bared his soul more dramatically – which is a measure of the effect on him of that defeat in 1997.

Portillo’s best-known opponent for the leadership, Kenneth Clarke, is very different. He has been called “blokey”, which means he has no time for soul-searching, he wears rumpled clothes and suede shoes, carries a large beer gut, smokes cigars. “Sod my image” he once said to a journalist who was worried about what he looked like as he sat munching a mammoth sandwich at a boxing match. The late Alan Clark, a rather different Tory MP because he was wealthy and disdainful, sneered at him as a “pudgy puff ball . . . lazy, flawed . . . wanker . . . not worth 25 votes”. Thatcher, Clark wrote, “cannot stand him” “which may have had something to do with the fact that Clarke was not afraid to stand up to her (in fact she thought him a “persuasive bruiser, very useful in a brawl or an election”). Kenneth Clarke showed what he thought of his rich antagonist by suing the manufacturers of Trivial Pursuit when one of their questions got the two men muddled up.

But being the sort of guy who would stand his mates a drink at the club bar does not mean that Clarke is at all relaxed in his attitude towards the working class and the priorities of British capitalism. As Education Secretary he had a running battle with the teachers in his drive to impose teaching standards on them while he squeezed more and more work out of them. When he was Health Secretary he was more concerned to scorn striking ambulance crews as “taxi drivers” than to settle a dispute which put many lives at risk- which made not a few people hope that one day he would himself need the kind of emergency attention which ambulance crews provide every working day. His imposition of budgets on GPs met with opposition from the doctors, who Clarke dismissed as motivated by their wallets before the needs of their patients. These budgets are now suspected of discouraging some GPs from spending money on treating their more elderly patients – perhaps because worn out workers are not economically fruitful to keep alive.

It says a lot about the politics of capitalism that one of these men could be the next leader of the Conservative Party. The other candidates have no more to recommend them. Scary Iain Duncan-Smith is an unrepentant Thatcherite who was once described by Norman Tebbit as “normal”, which should have been enough to finish him off politically but as he sits for Tebbit’s old seat at Chingford may have done him some good. David Davis is a hard man, admired by Alan Clark because he is a very good skier – which may have a limited appeal to anyone who is not to be seen on the ski slopes. He is another who thinks the Tories lost the election because they were ideologically too soft. Davis was in the SAS although whether this has impresed Portillo is not known. And trying to unite them all and the rest of the Tory rag-bag, and to show that the ghost of Macmillan still walks,was the amiable toff Michael Ancram.

No one should be impressed by the attention we are getting from apparently remorseful politicians. We should treat them as delinquents on probation; if they don’t improve they will have to answer for it. There is no need to punish them, as delinquents are punished by the courts. It will be enough, to trust ourselves to run human society without them.

The little vanguard’s tail (2001)

A Short Story from the August 2001 issue of the Socialist 
[Please see the blogger's note at the end of this short story.]
Once upon a time there lived a little vanguard. It was only very small, but very hard. It was so tightly packed with cadres that there was not room at all for revision or deviation. No sinister ideas from outside ever penetrated the vanguard. All the cadres were carefully streamed and graded, taught not to step out of line. Consequently, the little vanguard was always extremely pure and correct. Sometimes bits broke away; but they always ended up by deviating or revising something-or-other, and the vanguard used to shake its point over them. “No-one is as correct as the vanguard,” it would say to itself.

Nevertheless, sometimes the vanguard felt lonely: it would long to put its bottom up, have a rest, and not bother to inject its correct ideas anywhere. It got so puffed by its efforts to raise the level of consciousness and, in such moments, it thought how nice it would be to go all soft and floppy and not poke or pull any more. But where would a soft floppy vanguard get you? It might even find itself mistaken for a tail and begin to wag or straggle. Everyone knows that any self-respecting vanguard has to be hard. A floppy vanguard is a contradiction in terms.

The vanguard’s task was to poke about until it found some unorganised lumps and clusters; then it had to inject them with the right ideas and turn the people in the lumps and clusters into cadres. Sadly, however, the people were often unresponsive; they didn’t want to become cadres or receive correct ideas. The vanguard became quite blunt with all its poking and injecting. It grew lethargic and suffered from lassitude: it was obviously suffering from routinisation.

One day there was a terrible mumbling among the cadres. Splits appeared and the cadres were no longer so tightly packed. One lot were fed up with the disorderly lumps and clusters. They complained, “Where do we get with all our poking and prodding? We get puffed and blunt, but these lumps and clusters never move – they just sit around watching TV. It was okay for the vanguards of the past, the masses weren’t so dozy in those days.” These cadres became nostalgic and went off to join the ruling class.

Another lot began to send each other lengthy essays on organisation; they began to question the structure of the vanguard. But the top cadres warned them, “You’d better watch out with that kind of talk – if you’re not careful you’ll find the vanguard will disappear and where would we be then? The same as any old lump!” However, the bottom cadres were determined and began to say they didn’t see what was wrong with people in lumps and clusters: they had been there themselves, after all, and if the vanguard only stopped being so snooty and stuck-up, maybe the lumps and clusters would be more helpful.

After a top cadre meeting at the highest level, the following statement was issued:
“A threat to top cadres is a threat to the whole vanguard. The whole existence of the vanguard is challenged by adventurist, centrist agents of the swamp. Now, at a time of crisis for the entire movement, certain cynical elements are playing on the political immaturity of the bottom cadres to get them to say that they should not be bossed around by us. Comrades, the struggle intensifies, the swamp gets wetter. We have a long haul ahead; but you are fortunate, cadres, in having our leadership. The lumps and clusters are useless without us – we are going to drag them on to the right path.”
This shut up the bottom cadres for a while. Though it sounded like hard work, it was something new. And how could they argue with the so-correct leadership? They had nobody who knew what to do at the highest level of the vanguard. And they also felt quite important, having to drag the unorganised lumps and clusters out of the swamp. Also, if they stopped asking awkward questions and kept quiet, they might become correct enough to be promoted to higher rank.

And so the vanguard turned to the lumps and clusters and started to tug and pull. “Ouch!” cried the lumps; “Let go!” cried the clusters; “Bugger off!” they shouted together. “It’s for your own good,” argued the cadres, “you’re an ignorant lot, too brain-washed to know your own interests. We are raising you to a higher level.”

“Now look here,” protested a group from the lumps, “we don’t want to make trouble – we let you poke us about – but we’re not going to be dragged off without knowing why or where we’re going, and without having any control over what is happening. Keep an eye on a vanguard, we say: vanguards can get out of hand . . .”

 “Economism!” barked the top cadres. “Lumpism!”

“They’re right,” chirped a commune of clusters. “We groove with the lumps. We’ve had our disagreements in the past, and we don’t dig their lifestyle, but we don’t want any vanguard either.”

“Petty-bourgeois anarchism!” hissed the top cadres, quivering with rage at the highest point of the vanguard, top-heavy with stern correction.

More communes of clusters spoke up. “We aren’t as solid as the lumps, but we’re more mobile. We can get out of the swamp with a little help from the lumps. We are willing to accept that even the most hardened cadres can become people again; we are willing to work together, but not with top cadres bossing us around.”

So the lumps and clusters forged an alliance. “Opportunism!” bellowed the top cadres. “Lumps and clusters are useless without a vanguard! The way through the swamp is dangerous: in order to get anywhere, you must be hard like us. Without us to lead you, you’re bound to come to a sticky end.”

“What,” said the lumps, “if you get cut off from us? If you’re our leaders and we don’t know what to do, we’ll be in a worse mess than ever, stuck in the middle of the swamp – very exposed.” “Quite so,” agreed the clusters.

Some bottom cadres started muttering again: “They have a point there, you know. If we all got together, we won’t need to be so hard and poky all the time. We could be a bit squelchy and squashy sometimes – more human. After all, when there’s a movement of lumps and clusters, the vanguard can become people and join in like anyone else.”

Will the top cadres inject the correct ideas into the bottom cadres? Will the latter be absorbed by the lumps and clusters? Will the latter maintain their unprincipled alliance? Will the top cadres dive into the swamp? Will the lumps and clusters gain the right to make their own mistakes and learn from history? Will they get out of the swamp?

There is no quick answer to these questions: the tail of the little vanguard is very long indeed.
David Finlay*

Blogger's Note:
There's an asterisk against David Finlay's name 'cos there was a bit of a mishap surrounding this short story. 'Mishap' is a polite way of saying 'a fuck up'.

David Finlay isn't the author of this short story; Sheila Rowbotham, the socialist feminist writer and academic, is. I discovered this 'error' when I picked up a copy of her 1983 book, Dreams and dilemmas: collected writings, a few years back where I stumbled across a short story entitled 'The little vanguard’s tail'. Ouch. According to Rowbotham's notes in the book, it was an unpublished piece dating from 1968/69.

So what happened? No fault on the part of the Socialist Standard editors. How were they to know? Maybe David Finlay originally submitted the piece in good faith, and just happened to forget to mention its true authorship. We'll never know.

I can't help but notice the irony in that it was a case of a man taking the credit for a woman's work. Maybe the Socialist Feminists are onto something? Sadly, it also confirmed that Sheila Rowbotham wasn't a regular reader of the Socialist Standard back in the early 2000s. That's a shame. Our loss.

Obituary: Albert Elliott (2001)

Obituary from the August 2001 issue of the Socialist Standard

We regret to have to report the death in May of Albert Elliott at the age of 91.

The son of an early Party member, Albert joined the old South-West London branch in 1936 and it was in that area that he was active as a socialist. For reasons related to his work he left the party in 1960, rejoining in 1985, attending the party’s public meetings till very recently. Before he retired he worked as a technical photographer in an engineering factory. When the war came he refused to go out and kill his fellow workers and went before the conscientious objectors board and was ordered to continue to work at his trade. This enabled him to use his house to help comrades on the run from the authorities. Outside the party his interests were in fishing and operatic music. A party member delivered an address at his non-religious funeral on 30 May.

Leadership (2001)

Book Review from the August 2001 issue of the Socialist Standard

Leadership and Social Movements. Edited by Colin Barker, Alan Johnson and Michael Lavalette. (Manchester University Press, 2001.)

Socialists are interested in leadership from a number of different perspectives. Capitalism as a class society engenders owners of the means of wealth production, the privileged, the leaders; and non-owners, the unprivileged, the followers. Most of the followers don’t oppose the system, which is why it persists. They elect leaders to get the best deal they can from the system. Socialism as a classless society based on social and political equality (though not on the absence of difference) is inconsistent with leadership. However, socialism is not inconsistent with some functions associated with leadership such as organisation, co-ordination – and even inspiration.

Then there is the perceived necessity and inevitability of leadership as an objection to socialism – “There will always be leaders and followers and you can’t change human nature.” This objection needs to be met.

Leadership and Social Movements touches on some of these issues but doesn’t really deal with them. As an edited book with 14 authors (mostly sociologists, social psychologists and related academics) it lacks the coherence of a single-authored work. The editors are frank about this: they invite readers to find “that it is worth poking about further in the black box of leadership”.

After an introduction, there are chapters on Robert Michels and the “cruel game” (of the alleged inevitability of leadership), Leninism, the French anti-racist movement, the women’s liberation movement, Martin Luther King, the Sefton Two, Brazilian youth leaders, a radical environment group, crowd leadership, suffragette movements, and the Soviet Revolution of 1905. The chapter on Michels has most of the book’s few references to the word socialism – “socialism from above” (the Labour Party’s Clause 4) and socialism as “the enhancement of state power via the nationalisation of property and state planning”. Not socialism at all, in other words, but state capitalism.

Readers interested in how leadership relates to the socialist movement would do better to read the three relevant pages (195-7) in David Perrin’s book The Socialist Party of Great Britain than the 215 pages of this rambling collection.
Stan Parker

50 Years Ago Irish Politics and the Church (2001)

The 50 Years Ago column from the August 2001 issue of the Socialist Standard

Mr. Ritchie Calder, writing in the “New Statesman” (28/4/51) gives an account of the dismissal from the Eire government of their Minister of Health, Dr. Noel Browne. Appalled by the high infantile death rate he proposed to give free medical services, “without any means test, to all mothers and children, to provide mothers with specialist gynaecological care, and to give health education.”

The Cabinet had not objected until the Catholic Bishops intervened, one of their objections being that “the right to provide for the health of children belongs to parents and not to the State.” They objected to the possibility of information on birth control being supplied though Dr. Browne had given safeguards on this matter.

Although Dr. Browne was able to show that Vatican spokesmen did not object, the more reactionary views of the local Catholic Bishops prevailed and Dr. Browne was dismissed.

Mr. Calder quotes some statements made by Ministers:
“As a Catholic, I obey my church authorities and will continue to do so” (Prime Minister, Mr. Costello). “There is going to be no flouting of the Bishops on Catholic morals and social teaching (Minister of Labour).
And finally Dr. Browne, describing the Health Service before his resignation, said:
“As a Catholic, I accept the ruling of their Lordship, the Hierarchy, without question.”
Mr. Calder points out that one result of these disclosures is that the Northern Ireland parties opposed to Union with Eire are using the incident effectively as propaganda among Northern Ireland Protestants, as proof of “the political duress exercised by the Catholic Church.”

(From Socialist Standard, August 1951)

Invasion or Starvation? (1905)

From the July 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

The man in the street is comforted. If ever he had any doubts concerning “his” country’s preparedness for and protection against any possible invasion of this tight little isle, these have been entirely dispelled by Mr. Balfour’s recent speech in the House of Commons. Not only have “we” sufficient battleships, not only are they up-to-date, but in the moment of danger they could be so quickly mobilized at any given spot that there exists no necessity for uneasiness. And so our friend of the short sight, who discerns nothing beyond the tip of his nose, is reassured, and proceeds to his daily avocation briskly, humming—
“We don’t want to fight,
But by Jingo if we do !
We’ve got the ships,
We’ve got the men,
We’ve got the money, too !”
It is true that some of our largest battleships have a nasty habit of ramming each other now and again, that our torpedo boat destroyers sometimes buckle, that in about twelve months three of our expensive submarines have come to grief with much loss of life to our own men, and that our guns sometimes burst, hurling our handy-men into the great unknown. These are mere incidents, or such accidents as will happen in the best regulated navies. Balfour says “all’s well.” Campbell Bannerman congratulates him upon his statement, and the pleased patriot perigrinates, at peace with all the world.

Someone has remarked that the Britisher cannot concentrate upon more than one thing at a time, a failing of which the “statesman,” of both the capitalist and “labour” order, has not been slow to take advantage. Hence it happens that the great “B.P.” rarely concerns itself with the substance, so intent is it in grasping the shadow. In the present connection, John Bull, entirely failing to note the economic development of recent years, still imagines that the enemy against whom it is necessary to guard is a foreign navy or a combination of foreign navies, ever on the watch to swoop down upon these shores. This may have been the position many years ago, when we produced our own foodstuffs, and “every rood maintained its man.” But with the development of manufactures, to the detriment of agriculture, a new foe has arisen. It is not the foreigner with his ships of war that we have to fear and to fight, but that product of capitalism, the financier, of no nation and of every nation, whose operations could at any time not only inflict severe hardships upon the people of this and every other country, but could bring Britain to its knees by withholding its food supplies.

Fifty years ago, during the financial year 1854-5, 20,546,000 quarters (of 480 lbs.) of wheat and wheat flour were consumed here, of which 17,563,000 quarters were home grown and only 2,983,000 were imported. At the time of writing, I am unable to obtain the exact year when we ceased to be self-supporting as far as foodstuffs are concerned, but it certainly must have been long after the commencement of the 19th century. An article which appeared in Blackwood’a Magazine for February, 1903, contained a Declaration signed by 26 of the leading corn merchants of the United Kingdom, in which it was stated that “as late as the Crimean War we were almost self-supporting but we now import four-fifths of our wheat.”

As this article showed, there are some among the capitalist-class who view with alarm our present dependent position, but the proposals they put forward are, as might be expected, totally inadequate. They do not desire the emancipation of the wage-earning class and therefore advocate nothing that would tend in that direction.

In 1898 a Committee was appointed “to inquire and report how far, and in what way, the proposed establishment of national stores of wheat would affect the interests of British Fanners.” It consisted of M.P’s and others, all supposed to possess a practical knowledge of agricultural matters, and the most important of their conclusions was, “It may be concluded, therefore, that for six months after the end of March in any year, the quantity of wheat and flour in the country seldom exceeds six weeks’ supply.” To-day we are more dependent than ever upon other countries, because our population has increased, whilst the home area under cultivation has considerably decreased.

With the recollection of the recent Leiter-Armour manipulation of the world’s wheat supply let us look the facts squarely in the face. Is it possible invasion or probable starvation that we free-born Britishers have to prepare for?

Some of those who gave evidence before the Agricultural Committee seemed to get very near to the truth, but just failed to grip, or to admit, the exact situation. Mr. James Birch thought that “in the event of war we should be practically in the hands of the plunging speculator,” but is war a necessary condition ? Mr. T. B. Home spoke of “the perilous position this country would be placed in for its food supply, should a combination of nations against Great Britain arise,” but substitute determined financiers or plunging speculators for “nations” and the peril is as great and probably the action would be more rapid, the effects more immediate and disastrous. Some of the witnesses admitted that “apart from a forcible interruption of supplies by enemies’ cruisers, there is a possibility that a nation—or a coalition of nations— intending to make war on this country might forestall the supply of wheat by the purchase of futures.” Mr. Proctor could quite imagine that “if Russia to-day were to be at war with us, our own supplies (from Russia) would be stopped, and, through German and other sources, she might buy, in America, practically all the American wheat.” And Mr. Seth Taylor, in reply to a question respecting the engine of offence which be used by those countries unable to compete with us on the seas, answered “they have nothing to do but sit on their stocks.”

Let us put it in another way. Apart from a forcible interruption of supplies by enemies’ cruisers, there is a possibility that a millionaire—or a coalition of millionaires—intending to bring this country to submission, might forestall the supply of wheat by the purchase of “futures.” Not in any way a remote or improbable contingency. According to the article in Blackwood’s, “the chief source of our supply is the United States, but the price of wheat on the American corn market can be raised artificially, and in the event of a European war, in which Great Britain was involved, it is quite possible, indeed probable, that it would be so raised.” And it could also be so raised, as has already been done, without a European war, as the working-class have good cause to remember.

When Mr. Joe Leiter, Lord Curzon’s brother-in-law, attempted the cornering of the world’s wheat supply, the capitalist Press said that he failed, but viewed as a failure, the effect upon the working-class was so disastrous that one can imagine what would have been the result had he succeeded. Not only did the price of wheat, flour and bread rise all over the world, but the inability of the workers in some parts of Southern Europe to obtain bread led to riots, and in Hungary the people, demanding bread, were given the usual capitalist answer—bullets. If, then, the operations of one man in Chicago, or, counting Armour, two men, could produce such world-wide results when those operations were supposed to have failed, it is easy to see that a combination of financiers could dictate their own terms, particularly to a country so dependent upon outside sources for its food supply as is Great Britain.

The proposals usually put forward are useless, because they all depend upon the continuance of the competitive system.

There is the tariff reformer, who, by a readjustment of fiscal conditions, would induce the growing of the Empire’s food supply within the Empire, but who can never show (I myself have challenged several) how that will prevent the financiers operating. Love laughs at locksmiths and Leiter, Armour, Rockefeller & Co. would laugh at tariff walls if they determined to get control of the food supply of this Empire or of any other part of the world.

The establishment of national granaries would not only not affect them but by creating an extra demand for the twelve month’s supply of wheat which it is proposed to store, would give the “plunging speculator” his opportunity.

Then there is the reformer, sometimes claiming to be a ”Socialist" who advocates small holdings or peasant proprietorship, either because he thinks, with the late Lord Salisbury, that “to increase the number of small holders of the soil is to secure the strongest bulwark against revolutionary change,” or because he honestly believes that to be the best proposal, But apart from the fact that the day of small things is past, that production on a small scale is wasteful, it is well known that the transformation from a tenant to a small proprietor, whilst freeing the cultivator from the domination of the farmer or landlord, drives him into the clutches of the ursurer. What has the tenant farmer of Ireland gained ? Is it better to be the victim of the gombeen man than of the landlord ? And none of the other proposals would be effective. What is wanted and what alone will suffice is a complete revolution. The class-proprietorship of the means of life must be abolished : they must be taken over and controlled by the people, all of whom shall be workers. With the substitution of common for private ownership of land, factories, railways, etc., the power of the capitalist, great and small, of gambling with the people’s food, of appropriating the product of the labourer, whether of the field, the mine or the workshop, will be destroyed and the people freed from their subjection to a class. The matter affects both town and country worker, of every land, of every creed. The men of capital are stronger than the men-of-war and their strength can only be taken from them by the organisation of the working-class into a separate and distinct revolutionary Socialist party, such as The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
Jack Kent

". . . far too respectable." (1905)

From the July 1905 issue of the Socialist Standard

We commend to the chastened reflection of Mr. Gribble and the members of the S.D.F. in Northampton the fact that the gentleman who was largely responsible for preventing the case of the Raunds strikers coming before the House of Commons was precisely that gentleman whose democratic sympathies they expressed their appreciation of by assisting into Parliament. It was Mr. Labouchere’s inordinate and intentionally prolonged remarks on the Women’s Suffrage Bill, which he was frankly concerned to talk out, that robbed those who professed to be anxious to bring the matter forward of the opportunity to do so. Of course it might have been done in a disorderly way by breaking down a few of the forms of the House, but the “Labour” members are far too respectable to do that. Besides, it might jeopardize the esteem in which they are so proud to be held by their fellow members of the capitalist-class !