Friday, September 22, 2023

Death of a politician (1990)

From the September 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard

Have you recovered yet from the death of Ian Gow? How devastated were you by the assassination of that implacable, unquestioning, indiscriminate supporter of capitalism as administered by Thatcherite Tories? In one respect Gow's death was unremarkable: we were told how clever, brave, considerate, reliable he was (readers can add their own laudatory adjectives from the vocabulary they will have amassed from the tributes paid to other dead politicians). Apparently, political life is teaming with such estimable people and we should grieve deeply when they die. The only problem is why, if we are governed by such capable leaders, is the world in such a mess? Are we worse off, when one of them dies, than we were when they were alive?

Ian Gow was the son of an eminent doctor. He went to public school and did his National Service as an officer in one of those regiments which liked to pretend they still rode into battle on horses. He qualified as—and always looked like—a solicitor before turning his attention to politics. After contesting a couple of constituencies where the Labour majority made his a hopeless cause (in one, at Coventry East, the voters were so impressed with Gow’s qualities that they gave his Labour opponent—Richard Crossman—a doubled majority) he was handed the plum seat of Eastbourne. In 1945 the Labour Party, fielding a personable ex-officer against the remote and disdainful Tory incumbent had come within shouting distance of winning there. But the colonels and landladies of that seaside town quickly got their political bearings back and by the last general election they were presenting Gow with a majority of almost 17,000 while the Labour candidate could scrape up less than 5,000 votes.

Selsdon man
In parliament Gow soon put down his markers, joining the Selsdon Group which opposed Ted Heath’s drift away from the policies agreed by the conference of Conservative bigwigs at the Selsdon Park Hotel in the run-up to the 1970 election. Selsdon foresaw a Tory government declining to intervene in disputes between employers and workers, or in the case of an unprofitable company, or to use official influence on wages and prices; state interference in such affairs had led to the dire condition of British capitalism in the 1960s: henceforth they would all be left to be sorted out by the pressures of the market. The Labour Party delightedly likened these ideas to the emergence of a primitive being—Selsdon Man.

Heath put Selsdon Man out of his misery. attempting to resolve the crisis which hit his government by his famous U-turns on Rolls Royce and Upper Clyde Shipbuilders and some other issues. The Selsdon Group—Nicholas Ridley was another member—campaigned against this abandonment of what it saw as the policies essential for the salvation of British capitalism: the free market, privatisation, education vouchers, private health services and big cuts in taxation and public spending. It might have occurred to the Selsdon Group that theories about state intervention had developed because private enterprise left to itself had failed to control capitalism but people like Nicholas Ridley have never been susceptible to arguments based on fact.

Gow's membership of the Group could not have harmed his reputation with Thatcher, who when she came to power in 1979 made him her Parliamentary Private Secretary, which was a polite name for her whipper-in and nark. In that job he was a meticulous note-taker at any meeting of potentially rebellious Tones and infuriated his colleague Jim Prior by openly stimulating opposition to Prior's Bill to set up an Assembly in Northern Ireland to start "rolling devolution" there. Prior called it a “disgraceful episode" but to Gow it was all in the day's unsavoury work; he was. in any case, a hard-line unionist.

He also irritated a lot of Tories by his sickening admiration of Thatcher, at one time saying that she had no great need to admit that she was ever wrong because she was almost always right. At times he was too much for even the Thatcherites to bear; one complained that, while he was preparing himself to contribute to the usual grovelling ovation at the end of one of the prime minister's speeches. Gow was "blubbering" before she had even begun.

Thatcherite Christian
If Gow had any ability beyond this kind of work it was not glowingly evident during his time as Minister of Housing (for which he was qualified by his ownership of a large and lovely 16th century house in the Sussex countryside) and then as Minister of State at the Treasury. When he resigned over the Anglo-Irish Agreement he could spend more time on church affairs, for he was as dogged a Christian as he was a Thatcherite.

It comes as no surprise that Gow should complain about the Church being too political (which meant critical of the Thatcher government and voicing concern about issues like deep poverty and homelessness) and not sufficiently Christian (which meant blindly supportive of Thatcher and careless of any human suffering). Although he was a Christian he clearly had reservations on that stuff about us all being god's children equally loved by our maker, for he opposed sanctions against South Africa and voted against legislation designed to relieve sex discrimination. He demanded an unquestioning acceptance of the killing of the three IRA members by the SAS in Gibraltar—a predictable attitude from a man who operated on the simple principle that "our" side was always right and "their" side always wrong. His physical concept of Jesus is unknown but he did not like men with beards since he suspected them of being what he called socialists.

At all events Gow was doing very well. A partner in a successful firm of solicitors, a member of Lloyds and of several costly and exclusive London clubs, with a liking for mixing and drinking exotic cocktails, he would have had reservations about the meek inheriting the earth. There is indeed little progress towards that illusionary object under the Thatcher government, which is perhaps why Gow supported it so ardently.

This is not the place for any detailed account of what this government has done: it can be summarised by saying that it has taken advantage of the present world economic conditions to inflict such damage on the trade unions as will take them a long time to recover from. It has ferociously attacked working class living standards and in particular those on the lower levels of poverty, who have been treated most savagely. It has seen the dreams of many of its bedrock supporters—small business people and those with a mortgage on their home—turn into nightmares which they can't wake up from. And while it persistently assures us that this suffering is necessary so that things can become better in the long run, and better permanently, the fact is that the problems persist. The rate of bankruptcies and insolvencies is increasing; price rises are accelerating and the CBI has recently stated that British capitalism is on the brink of another recession. This is the chaos which Ian Gow stood for so blindly.

To criticise the victim of an assassination, to take a hard look at how they thought, spoke and acted, is not to condone their murder. Political assassination is a futile business, which removes one twister to make room for another; the only effective way to deal with society’s problems is through democratic political action aimed at getting rid of capitalism and its twisting politicians. This is a social system which brutalises its people, under which life is cheap and millions die every year through wars or unnecessary diseases and “accidents". Being assassinated means that politicians who glorify in this inhumane way of running human affairs can go to their graves on a wave of outrage against their killers instead of against capitalism.

Between the Lines: From the people who brought you John Wayne (1990)

The Between the Lines column from the September 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard

From the people who brought you John Wayne

When all that stands between us and the mass annihilation of a third world war are a few hours on the clock, who will we have to turn to and find out what is going on? Who will be telling us that it is right to fight? Who will say that the enemy is satanic and must be defeated at all costs7 Who will insist that the wasted lives of war are heroic gestures? Who will scream at us from morning to night that war is noble, that 'our side' has god on its side, that 'they' will never win. even if most of us must die to stop them?

It is one of the sickest ironies of capitalism that if there is a third world war, fought over the interests of the competing millionaires and billionaires, it will be the media, which is largely paid for and almost totally ideologically obedient to those billionaires and millionaires, that will have the monopoly on explaining what is going on. The capitalists not only possess the power to blow us up, but they have the power to con us into believing that it is right and necessary that we should be blown up.

The power of the media is never more dangerous than in time of war. It is then that the lies become bigger, the audacious assaults upon our intelligence greater, the resorts to half-truths and historical distortions grosser. If the news broadcasts are always but an echo of the interests of our masters in their world affairs, in war time the news becomes a blasting verbal cannon-fire of propaganda

In this war in the Middle East the TV newsreaders have done everything but put on uniforms. They have been recruited to the task of justifying the military force of 'our side' and attacking without explanation the 'madness' of the newfound enemy, to whom Britain used to be a major arms supplier. It is like Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four: four years ago Saddam was the friendly dictator who could be relied upon to kill the Iranians: now that he is the official enemy people who have never even heard of him before must be taught to hate him with a passion that only the media can whip up.

Who will the next hate figure be? What further methods will the media use to brutalise us into screaming that we want war? It is a dangerous box which workers have invited into the corners of their living rooms: it emits the poison gas of pro-war propaganda. Never mind all the reports of on links between TV violence and real violence — what about the link between news reporters who glorify war and tho widespread support for the indiscriminate slaughter of warfare which that generates? Or is that a legitimate use of TV to corrupt the minds of tho vulnerable7

Turning women into thugs

Speaking of corrupted minds and also of war — the two are closely linked — Channel Four showed a truly frightening documentary called Soldier Girls (16 August, 11pm). It was directed by Nicholas Broomfield and Joan Churchill. (Broomfield must be one of the most powerful and perceptive makers of documentaries depicting the lunacy of nationalism and militarism) The documentary was about the training of women to become soldiers in the US army. There are few things more disgusting to see than rows and rows of women, capable of producing life, lined up with guns and idiot's uniforms, learning how to destroy life. The documentary showed with awesome clarity just how these trainee thugs are brutalised, their sense of dignity and decency is forced out of them as they learn to become nothing but unfeeling cogs in the killing machine. Those who do not conform are punished by crazed officers whom the Iraqi army could only hope to match for madness.

One trainee, Private Johnson, made it clear from the start that the lunacy of army life was not for her. The officers tried everything to push her into line. What angered them most was that she kept on smiling as they shouted at her. Soldiers are not meant to smile. They punished her, they lectured her, they verbally assaulted her, and still she smiled when she should not have done. In one part of the documentary Johnson is taken into a room by two officers for what is laughably called 'counselling'.

A uniformed female officer and a male nutcase scream and shout at her The latter tells her: "Every time I look at you, Johnson, you got that same smart-arse look on your face, that same silly little smile. And then you got the gall to tell the lieutenant that you want to stay in my goddam army — and not do a damn thing for it. That's what irks me, Johnson You don't give a damn. The troops can't stand you. I mean, even our worst troops out there can't stand you. They don't even want to be around you. You are the type that irritates people just by your presence, without oven opening your mouth. Haven't you realised, Johnson, that you have that capacity to piss someone off just by standing there? Just the way you stand radiates total apathy, complete uncaring about god, man, animal, life water . . ." Incidentally. Johnson was black and the two officers were white. At the end of the documentary Johnson is seen leaving the army; if there are medals for smiling in the face of military madness. Johnson should receive one.

The only difference between training US killers and training Iraqi ones is that the latter are more likely to be killed. Perhaps the Middle East lunatics talk more about the god who is not there; the American screwballs talk about red. white and blue rags on poles which they would die for. It is all crazy — and those who deliver its messages are crazier still.
Steve Coleman

SPGB Meetings (1990)

Party News from the September 1990 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Passing Show: Houses (1952)

The Passing Show Column from the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard


We hear a lot about the housing shortage. Officially, housing is considered to be adequate when there is one room per person in a household; though anyone who has to live in a household where six persons are crammed into a six-roomed house may be excused for supposing that the official who arrived at this conclusion has never had a similar experience. But the last census shows that more than a quarter of the total population lives in households where not even this ratio is attained—where there is not even one room per each member of the household.

This is, however, only one side of the picture. There is another, and a happier, side. For like food-rationing, the housing shortage is a problem that affects one class in the country only—the poorer class, the working class. Just as the rich have never needed ration books—the restaurants and hotels have always been able to provide them with all the food they wanted without rationing—so have they never needed to put their names at the bottom of the housing lists. For the question the social system asks of the house-hunter is not "How badly off are you for accommodation? ” but “How much capital have you got?” If, like most people, you have none, you can join the housing queue; but if you have five or six thousand at your command the estate agents will fall over themselves offering you desirable residences with all mod con. Take one issue of The Times—for example, that of August 5th. Here there are a hundred houses and more offered for sale; there are none below £1,000, and only one or two below £3,000, the prices of most being from £5,000 up to £35,000. But supposing there was a worker so frugal that out of his wage of £6 or £7 a week he managed to put away £1 each and every week, even when he was out of work through illness or "redundancy"; how long would it take him to save up £5,000 for one of these desirable properties? If he began saving now, he would have his five thousand in the year 2052. This scheme, though, like all schemes for the amelioration of the working class under Capitalism, has its drawback: the snag in this case is that the worker would almost certainly be dead in 2052. 

Personal Column

While you are looking in The Times for your house, turn to the Personal Column. Here you will find houses for sale at £10,000, houses or flats to rent at £20 a week (e.g., 31.7.52). Here you will come across a number of other items which might lead you to suspect that the Labour Party’s claim to have taxed the rich out of existence is exaggerated. On July 29th there was an advert, inserted by someone who had £100,000 to spare to buy a drapery business; on July 23rd there was offered for sale a book-publishing business for the same sum. Then on July 31st a gentleman going to Scotland for a month wanted a “chauffeur-loader-handyman”; in other words, besides being able to go on holiday for a month himself, he could afford to take a servant along. And students of the rate of interest after six years’ Labour Government will be interested in the following item, which appeared on August 2nd: 
Torquay.—Sound investment offered; 12 new proprietary 4-berth caravans £4,250; net £800 yearly income guaranteed.—Write box . . .
The happy purchaser will be able to rake in £16 a week net, this being a return of nearly 19 per cent., at the expense of the twelve unfortunate families who have to pay what must be high rents for caravans.


As the war continues in Korea, the headlines still say “No progress in truce talks.” What discussions still go on are now largely taken up with arguments about how to translate “United Nations” into Korean. But each side claims that deadlock has been reached because of the intransigeant attitude of the other side in the matter of the return of the Korean and Chinese prisoners held by the so-called “United Nations” forces. It is certainly difficult for the impartial observer to decide whether these prisoners would be worse off in North Korea under the Stalinists or in South Korea under Syngman Rhee. One thing is clear: whichever part of the country finally gets them, their social position as propertyless workers will be exactly the same. North of the firing line or south of it, the social system is capitalist, and will continue to be so for as long as the present sets of rulers hold power.

The Koreans

Each world group maintains that its forces went into Korea to defend the Koreans against aggression and to uphold their liberties. But while each side poured men and arms into the country, both nominally in defence of the inhabitants, what actually happened to the Koreans? At the meeting in Toronto of the International Red Cross, it was stated that ten million people had been driven from their homes, and another million were permanently injured or had disappeared (Times, 4.8.52). And this in a country the total population of which is only nineteen million!

Woe betide any people when the power-blocs of the world decide that its liberties and independence are in danger.


At the end of July the engineering employers turned down the claim of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions for a £2 a week increase in pay. Two of the reasons they gave are worthy of note. The rise in the cost of living, they said, had been partly offset by higher family allowances. This reinforces the Socialist case that family allowances are in effect merely one of the devices of the employers to keep down wages. In fact, a given sum paid as family allowances is worth more to the employers than the same sum paid in the wage-packet. For wages are paid at the same level irrespective of whether the worker is married or has any children to keep. But family allowances go solely to the man who has a sizeable family to support, and thus allay discontent among that very section of the working class who would be the hardest hit and therefore the first to complain when the cost of living rose. In this way family allowances act to keep the general wage level down.

Germany and Japan

And, secondly, the engineering employers pointed out that the industry was faced with a revival of competition from Germany and Japan. This competition, which is no doubt a very real menace to British capitalists, leads the worker only to speculate on the uselessness of war. For as soon as Germany and Japan were defeated, the ruling classes of Britain and the United States decided that the real danger to their overseas markets and sources of raw material now came from Russia and her allies. After the first world war it was fifteen years before Germany rearmed. This time it has taken only seven years, and Germany is rearming at the instance of her late enemies. Rearmament is impossible without flourishing heavy industries. So the last war, while it halted Germany’s aggrandisement for a time, and while it provided British industry with orders for a time, was only a temporary palliative. In order to prepare for a third world war, British Capitalism has now to watch the resuscitation of its German rival.


What of the workers, who were exhorted to fight Germany in the last war under the pretence that the real fight was not so much against the German state as against the Nazis and German militarism? If this tale ever carried credence, it should do so no longer, as more and more reports come in of the Nazis and militarists, once supposed to be defeated, still in the seats of office in Germany. The Krupp family were prominent among the industrialist supporters of Hitler; on August 4th it wasreported that the Villa Hugel, the Krupp family home, was being derequisitioned, and that Herr Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach was building a new house in the grounds—this while many of the British houses destroyed by Krupp armaments are still unreplaced. On August 8th an article in The Times, remarking on the difficulties encountered by the Israeli-German conference on reparations, contained the following comment:
“Some of the Jewish delegates had themselves suffered grievously at the hands of the Nazis and before sitting down to the same table with the Germans had to submit to the difficult process of sinking their own feelings—a process which was not made easier by the fact that some of the German delegates themselves had been members of the Nazi Party or had worked in the German Foreign Office under Ribbentrop.”
In the same paper, on the same day, a letter appeared from Randolph Churchill attacking a suggestion that “no former German officer should be allowed to serve in the German contingent of the European Defence Community,” on the unusual ground that it was un-Christian. Well, perhaps; but if this proposal is un-Christian, it doesn't say much for Christianity. And finally, General Sir John Harding, one of the NATO European commanders, and next year’s Chief of the Imperial General Staff, has said, “I think that German military thinking will contribute immensely to Western defence.” Obviously, if Randolph Churchill and General Harding have anything to do with it, the old gang of German militarists will be fully employed in the expected struggle against the Russians.

So anyone who thought we were fighting against “German militarism” in the last war will have to think again.


From The Times, 31.7.52:
“Russian armed guards are to-day reported to be patrolling the power station at Amstetten, Lower Austria, to prevent its being taken over by the Newag—the Lower Austria Electrical Supply Corporation — in accordance with the federal nationalisation law."
But if nationalisation is supposed to be to the advantage of the workers, why are the Stalinists denying its benefits to the Austrian workers?
Alwyn Edgar

Slings and Arrows: “Qui s’ecuse, s’accuse” (1952)

The Slings and Arrows column from the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

“Qui s’ecuse, s’accuse”

The return of the Dean of Canterbury from his recent visit to Peking has aroused an outburst of fury from the Press. Enormous quantities of newsprint have been devoted to the publication and denial of the germ warfare charges made against the Allied forces in Korea. While we have no doubt that both the Allies and the Chinese or any other warring power in the capitalist world would not hesitate to use germ warfare if it suited their interests, we would say that the Dean has not made out his case on sound evidence. We are not, however, concerned with taking up the cudgels on behalf of the Allied powers. They have quite enough apologists without our joining their ranks. What does interest us is the fact that those who drop atom bombs, and Napalm bombs, and indulge in the most fiendish forms of mass destruction, hold up their hands in such pious horror and appear in the white sheet of innocence. Is burning a Korean peasant by a bomb which is so speedy in its action that he retains in death the last postures of his life any better than dropping bacteria on him? Why does the Chinese Government and their supporters make such vehement protests against the use of infected missiles? Is it because they have been outsmarted in their search for effective weapons? Note that neither side has anything to say, other than the usual pious platitudes, about war itself, and note also that though the Chinese Government are alleged to have established Socialism, or, to use the latest fashionable term, “people’s democracy,” they say nothing about the causes of war. Of course, the allies talk about the “rule of law ” and “freedom and democracy,” in order to justify themselves. In the welter of charges and countercharges we may be sure of one thing. Both sides are concerned with maintaining or improving their position in the world of Capitalism.

No Room at the Inn

When Marx wrote that “the Church of England would sooner give up 38 of its 39 principles than one thirty-ninth of its income,” he was not indulging in mere rhetoric. The Daily Express (15.7.52), reporting a case of eviction relates how the family spent the night in a church, and although they refused to leave when asked to do so, church officials took no action. It appears that the householder had been the church sexton and occupied a house that went with the job. When he was unable through ill health to continue working he was asked to vacate his house. Having nowhere to go he did not comply and the Vicar applied for possession in the Courts. This was granted and with all the ruthlessness of a profit-making capitalist, he called in the bailiffs, evicted the family, and in his desire to show Christian Charity allowed them to sleep unmolested in the church. Non-socialists may be surprised that the Church should behave in such a callous manner. We are not. Acquainted as we are with the Church’s defence of Capitalism and its constant affirmation of the “sacred rights” of private property, this behaviour neither shocks nor amazes us. In spite of the high-sounding platitudes with which Bishops and their ilk sermonise, the Church has ever been in the forefront in defence of the prevailing system. It imitates with faithful accuracy the actions of those in whose interests it functions. And so, when they say to an ex-employee, “You are unable to work for us. so on to the streets with you,” they are being quite consistent, and behaving as all capitalist institutions do.

Who Supports Who?

In a debate in the House of Lords on the Housing Bill, Lord Silkin, former member of the Labour Government, observed that he was alarmed at the growth in the amount of subsidies and then went on to say that the position would arise where “90 per cent. of the people would be housed at other’s expense.” (Manchester Guardian, 15.7.52.) Why should Lord Silkin be disturbed at this prospect? Was it not part of his Party’s policy to “redistribute” income. As it has been established by indisputable figures that a small minority of people own the lion’s share of the national wealth, surely here was Lord Silkin’s opportunity to see in this housing subsidy a means of carrying out Labour’s policy. But he does not see things in this light. He says that it is a “National and not a Party problem.” Thus does he betray the fact that the Labour Party is merely another political organisation pledged to the efficient running of Capitalism. If he knew anything at all about Socialism he would realise that at the moment a small minority of people are being kept and subsidised at “other's expense.” If he knew anything at all about economics he would know that subsidies whether for housing or for food are devices introduced to help Capitalism run more smoothly, for the capitalists. It is not by subsidies, great or small, nor by the substitution of government for private ownership that present-day problems will be solved. And this situation where “90 per cent. of the people would be housed at the expense of others ” is hardly likely to arise since those who produce the wealth from which these subsidies are drawn are the very people who are allegedly subsidised.

It's that man again (1952)

Film Review from the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

As an alternative heading we could have chosen “The Man Who Won the War” or to give the film its real title The Fall Of Berlin." A local paper advertising the film writes, “ he most stupendous and sensation packed film ever screened." “A Russian film with English sub-titles." “Eighty cameramen lost their lives to get these pictures. Come and see what life is like behind the Iron Curtain. Come and see a faithful representation of Mr. Joseph Stalin. Come and see the miserable end of the once great Adolf Hitler and his Bride of a few hours, Eva Braun. Superbly photographed in a new process—Agfa Colour. You've never seen anything so terrific and magnificent before."

If this lot doesn't make you vomit, then you are no socialist. The film is prefaced by a statement pointing out that the freedom of speech which we enjoy enables us to show such a film in England. Evidently the authorities seem to have some doubts that in Russia considerable hesitancy would arise before a similar American or English film could be shown there.

The technique of production is excellent, the colouring and also the filming, which all shows that Russia has been an able pupil of America in this respect, but the general theme is indeed more childish than most American films, and even they can stoop precious low when required.

If you have any doubts who won the war, then see this film, and it will prove beyond dispute that Generalissimo Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin was the man! The story opens with a metal worker who broke the world's record for smelting iron. As a result he was sent for by no less a person than Stalin himself. The great man (Stalin we are now referring to and not the iron worker), was digging his garden when the record breaker was led to him by one of his commissars. When the worker saw the “Fuehrer of all Russia " he was so frightened with embarrassment that he tried to run away; but the masterly way and comradely manner in which Stalin shook hands with the simple iron worker, soon put the latter at ease in a way no other human individual could do it.

Then they adjourned for a meal, and round the table was Molotov, Voroshilov, Kalinin, Beria (although it was not stated that he was chief of the G.P.U., now called the N.K.V.D.). The worker then told these “bosses” how he was determined to work even harder and smash further records—and he showed surprise that this met with their approval.

Things then shifted to personal matters as if to display Stalin's greatness in his supreme simplicity, and our iron puddler told Stalin that he intended to get married. The great Stalin did not hesitate to give him some fatherly and friendly advice, as if to demonstrate his authority in this field.

Then the war clouds broke, and after the usual array of flashes, smoke, bangs and blood intended to portray war in all its savagery, our hero loses his comrades one by one until practically he alone is left to hoist the red flag over the Reichstag. He had fought all the way from Stalingrad to Berlin and was fighting his way through the Reichstag when one of his colleagues fell wounded in the chest. Another comrade picked him up and put his hand into his tunic pulling out a handkerchief soaked in blood. The latter with the handkerchief in his outstretched hand was himself a few moments later shot dead, but in his hand continued to hold the bloodstained handkerchief outstretched like a God-given signal and in such a melodramatic way which could occur nowhere but on the films. Please rise and sing :—
“ We'll raise the scarlet banner high !
Beneath this flag we'll live or die !
Tho' cowards jeer, and traitors sneer 1 
We'll keep the red flag flying here ! ! "
Hitler and his gang, Goering, Goebells, Jodi, Keitel, Rundstedt, etc., are clearly portrayed, although it is a little strange to English ears to hear them all speaking in Russian with occasional “Mein Herr's." These guys produce some laughs from the audience from those who could not have laughed at the Great Stalin nonsense. Churchill and Roosevelt are depicted around the table at Yalta, but are so outshone by Stalin's splendour and greatness, and the depth of his remarks, that one scarcely notices them. England only gets one mention in the film, and America is of course played down, not as an ally, but as a power with which the Germans were trying to co-operate, and who were leaving all the fighting for the Russians to do. Towards the end the orders for the German army are to take no notice of the Americans coming in the back door, but to keep the Russians out at all costs!

Then comes the splendid climax which all “stupendous” films must have. Victory is achieved by Stalin (assisted to a small degree by the Red army). They celebrate in Berlin; releasing the Russian prisoners, dance, sing and shout (although nobody has a drink). One would think with all the excitement and shouting that somebody would get thirsty. But still film producers can miss things, or is it that the Russians don’t drink ?

Then what do you think happens ? Yes, it does, and right in the centre of Berlin on the day of victory. Our hero meets his girl friend who was carried off by the Nazis and had just been released so that they can by accident bump into one another again. And then what do you think happens next, you could never guess. Yes, sure enough the Great Generalissimo Joseph Vissarionovitch Stalin himself swoops down from the sky like an angel, but in an aeroplane, and gets out in the middle of the celebrating crowds. They surround him in a large and orderly circle without having to be kept back by police or soldiers. They carried many large photos of him about 20ft square (Gaud knows how they got them there so quickly)—and boy do they give him a greeting for winning the war for them.

Now comes the final climax which brings tears to your eyes or loosens your bowels according to your diathesis. The hero and his girl friend are seen by the benevolent eyes of Stalin, and Stalin remembers him after all those years. The girl runs forward apparently recognizing the great man, and wants to hug him—yes, a simple school teacher actually embraces a being who has come as near to a God as is possible. It all reminds us of the words of Jesus, “suffer little children to come unto me." Well what else do you expect when a modern capitalist state goes all out for the Great Man idea. Had Hitler won and Moscow fallen, practically everything in the film could have been retained, but of course reversed. Oh pot, why do you keep calling the kettle black ?
Horace Jarvis.

New Elizabethan Age (1952)

From the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

With the accession of the new Queen, it was inevitable that comparisons should be made with the other period when the English sovereign was named Elizabeth. Following the period of mourning for the late King, the Press has played heavily on the theme of the possibility of a second "golden age" under the second Elizabeth. Popular illustrated periodicals have shown, alongside pictures of Shakespeare, Marlowe, Drake, Cecil and Bacon, photographs of the writers, politicians, film actors and racing motorists who are the leading figures at the outset of the new Elizabethan era. Particular emphasis has been laid on literature because, in the last two decades of the sixteenth century, there were more outstanding figures in this field than probably at any other time in its history.

The views of an eminent historian on this matter are obviously of special interest and Mr. A. L Rowse is one of the foremost of present-day historians. In his Presidential address to the English Association, given at the Association's luncheon in May and now published by the Oxford University Press, Mr. Rowse’s topic was: "A Second Elizabethan Age?" The address was widely reported, and the Prime Minister requested a copy of it; Conservatives in particular were pleased by its emphasis on individual enterprise as a feature of the earlier Elizabethan age.

Certainly the picture is an appealing one. A young queen with a long reign before her; hopes, stimulated by the 1951 Festival, for a revival of the arts in Britain; an age in which the development of science offers seemingly unlimited possibilities; all these have given many people reason for hope that the second "age of Elizabeth" will be an age of prosperity and happiness. We should like to examine this possibility, and propose doing so with reference to Mr. Rowse’s arguments on the subject.

Mr. Rowse looks upon the earlier Elizabethan age with unqualified approval. He sees it as an era full of vitality and opportunity. "What it must have been to be alive—and sentient—in those years: of that we can have no conception," he says. Ability was valued and fostered; there was none who did not feel the spur of ambition, and achievement did not go unrewarded: “society was alive and bursting with energy," the age was "the greatest glory of our state and tongue." He points to the opportunities for advancement: "And there was freedom in that society to move up—or down; careers were open to talents and hard work. Look at the starting-point of so many of the figures of that age: Shakespeare, the son of a small townsman, butcher and dealer in wool and skins; Ben Jonson, stepson' of a bricklayer; Marlowe, a cobbler’s son; Spenser, a poor scholar maintained by the Merchant Taylors; Drayton, a page-boy in a country house; Hooker, another poor scholar maintained by a bishop; and look at the fantastic fortune of Drake, a needy vicar’s son who was not even schooled—he carved his way for himself.”

This vigorous and exciting condition of society is compared with that of the present time. The arts to-day are in an unhedthy state—there is much criticism, but little creation; "the standardized products of a mass-civilization, a herd society" cannot be compared with the proud craftsmanship of those Elizabethans; our age "has no standards’’; political criticism —“particularly from the Left intellectuals"—has done almost irreparable damage; in "a more or less one-class society, levelled down to the standards of the trivial insignificant average," it is well-nigh impossible for ability to flower.

These are the premises on which Mr. Rowse builds his conclusions; let us examine them first. Was the age of Elizabeth the First really so golden?

It was an era of social change. The Reformation had broken the power of the Catholic Church. The enclosure of land was driving the workers into the towns. The nation-state was coming into its own as the dominant type of political organisation. Underlying these developments were great economic changes. The rule of the old feudal aristocracy had been successfully challenged by the new merchant class, and the steadily expanding demand for goods could only be satisfied by capitalist methods of manufacture. Great metal works were springing up; the first deep coal mines being sunk; cloth manufacture was becoming highly organized; government shipyards and armament plants were established. The competition between nations for trading routes had led to the world's suddenly becoming larger, and great hordes of precious metals were discovered in the New World. Science, stimulated by the need to solve technical problems, developed and influenced men's minds powerfully. And the Renaissance, the “rebirth” of learning, had opened the storehouse of the knowledge and artistic achievements of the ancient world.

Mr. Rowse is, of course, aware of all this. Indeed, he says: “The situation of the country and the nature of our society predisposed to the flowering of mind and energy that made the age what it was." It is therefore surprising that he should so strongly blame the people and institutions of the present-age for failing to “flower” as did their ancestors. The first Elizabethan age was at the beginning of capitalism, and the rising capitalist class was a young, virile, and, in fact, a revolutionary class whose historic mission was the development of economic, technical and intellectual resources. To-day, when capitalism has outlived its usefulness to society, it is hardly to be expected t\ t it should be “alive and bursting with energy."

That is not the whole story, however. The impression given by Mr. Rowse is that Elizabethan society was a paradise for all, rich and poor alike. The incorrectness of this is amply demonstrated by the famous Act 43 of Elizabeth—the 1601 Poor Law. Thorold Rogers says: “In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the labourer secured increased wages in the midst of decreasing prices. In the sixteenth, the reverse which he suffered was far more considerable than the advantage which his forefathers had gained . . . 1 cannot but think that a growing disaffection, which Elizabeth and her counsellors were not slow to discern, the remedy for which seemed to be the continuance of expedients adopted in the three previous reigns, was the cause which induced them and parliament to acquiesce in the Act of 1601.” In fact, the age of Elizabeth was also the age of vagrancy and pauperism. The disbanding of the little feudal armies, the loss of the monastic charities, and—most of all—the enclosure of land, filled England with vagrants and robbers whose homelessness and desperation made them a danger. The 1601 Poor Law made pauperism a recognised institution; that the Act was the outcome of fear rather than sympathy is shown by its provision that “lusty and valiant beggars" were to be “grievously whipped and burned, through the gristle of the right ear." Holinshed, too, gives a vivid picture of the brutal severity with which this menace to social order was kept in check.

Further light on the real condition of society in Elizabeth's England may be obtained from the literature of the time. There are several writers, eminent in their day, who are not mentioned by Mr. Rowse: Robert Greene, for example, Thomas Harman, John Awdely, and many others: Greene was a dramatist and prose-writer, but he was also the first writer of “spiv” literature. He and the others mentioned thrived from the sale of voluminous pamphlets exposing the tricks and malpractices of London's numerous “coney-catchers,” the members of the vast workless horde who lived by their wits. We find, therefore, that the “spiv,” the figure who perhaps more than any other symptomises the working-class's disillusionment, was proportionately as numerous in Elizabethan London as in the 1940's.

It can be said, therefore, that the goldenness of this “golden age” was felt by only a minority of the people who lived in it. Mr. Rowse claims that there was freedom for talented and hard-working people to rise from the ranks of the poor, and quotes several examples. It could be suggested that not all of these examples are what they seem—that Shakespeare's father, for instance, was quite a well-to-do man. The important point, however, is that throughout the centuries when capitalism was developing, it was always possible for a small number of people to become wealthy in spite of humble beginnings. Further examples can be found in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. That it is not possible to-day is due to the fact that capitalism has exhausted virtually all its potentialities for creative achievement; Mr. E. M. Forster recently, in a radio talk, remarked that it is no longer possible for a man to become very wealthy by honest means.

Mr. Rowse laments that our age has no standards. Had the Elizabethan age better ones? The careers of Drake (for whom Mr. Rowse expresses great admiration) and his fellow “sea-dogs” were ones of robbery with violence, justified and made romantic by the Elizabethan rulers' lust for gold, silver and trade routes. Elizabethan politics was a succession of Machiavellian intrigues and plots. The poor were treated with open cruelty. How much evidence is there in these things of the existence of superior standards? The truth is that moral standards and Christian virtues are not practicable under the system which causes them to be preached. Just as the ideal of brotherhood is meaningless in the present-day slaughter-house world, in Elizabethan England there could be no standards when—to quote Mr. Rowse—“everybody scrambled and jostled and climbed and pushed their way to the front.”

In view of all this, one cannot help but ask: “Who wants another Elizabethan age, anyway?” The answer is nobody except members of the capitalist class, with whose interests Mr. Rowse, we now see, is wholly preoccupied. The period 1558 to 1603 was one of poverty for the many and prosperity for only the few, of ruthless oppression and barbaric practices.

But what of the arts? Is it not true that this was an age in which they flourished as never before or since? Certainly the list of names is imposing: Shakespeare, Lyly, Sidney, Marlowe, Jonson, Spenser, Nash, Greene, Lodge, Webster, and ever so many more. Mr. Rowse's case is that these men were essentially creative, and the Elizabethan age gave them scope for their creativeness. To-day, the emphasis is wrongly on criticism, the antithesis of creation. “ Was there ever,” he asks, “ a more apposite instance than Shakespeare, the “ child of nature,” as against the academics and the intellectuals? "

Certainly, it is true that the Elizabethan age had plenty to stimulate artists in general and dramatists and poets in particular. It was a period full of new, different and exciting things. The language had left behind all its teething troubles. The invention and development of printing had brought a reading public into being. The growth of towns and release from the former ties with Church and craft guilds enabled the theatre to become, for the first time in English history, a settled institution. There were wealthy men ready to become patrons. And there were the histories, the learning and style given by the Renaissance.

Concerning Mr. Rowse’s remarks about creativeness and criticism, however, there are two or three things to be said. The first is that even the most gifted “child of nature” is ineffective unless society has a place for his gifts. One cannot imagine Virgil making his mark as a poet in the age of Beowulf or Ezra Pound receiving acclamation in the days of Dr. Johnson. The creative talents of Shakespeare, Marlowe and the rest were of a nature that was acceptable to their contemporaries. To lament the lack of creativeness in the present age is, therefore, to put the cart before the horse; rather should Mr. Rowse lament that society does not to-day find a very prominent place for the type of ability which he admires. Second, one must call into question the assumption that the works of these poets and dramatists were the product of a concern with creation only. Catherine Ing, in her recent book “Elizabethan Lyrics,” calls this into question and gives good reason for the counter-belief that they were, in fact, very conscious of the same questions of form and style that preoccupy the present-day writer. There is ample evidence in Shakespeare’s own work that he was well aware of the circumstances which favoured his genius; Mr. Edwin Muir, in “The Politics of 'King Lear' "; sees “Lear” as nothing less than a dramatic representation of the struggle between the aged and dying forces of feudalism and the ruthless, inevitably victorious ones of the new order.

Mr. Rowse’s conclusion is that, while there may not be much reason, there is hope for improvement in society in the reign of the second Elizabeth. He sees hope in the fact that “the degeneration attendant upon mass-civilisation has gone less far here than elsewhere ”; in the quality of British scientists; and in the possibility that, as the younger English-speaking nations become of increasing importance in the world, the prestige of England will increase. Finally, he finds hope in the thought that: “. . . human genius is unquenchable—there is no knowing what it will do next; civilization is itself a tough plant—it springs up anywhere, like stinging-nettles among the ruins, or willow-herb flowering inextinguishably on the bomb-sites of London.”

In short, Mr. Rowse considers that society has come to a bad pass. There could be nothing better than a return to the conditions and spirit of the Elizabethan era, and, though the circumstances of the present day do not seem propitious, there is ground for hoping that this may come to pass. The situation at the beginning of the first Elizabeth’s reign appeared black, but with good fortune and good statesmanship Elizabeth and her advisers “nursed the country out of its sickness ”; the same may yet happen again.

Thus the possibility, in Mr. Rowse’s view, is envisaged in terms of hope rather than of any reasonable expectation. We are unable to see any hope at all while the capitalist system remains with us—and Mr. Rowse’s wish, of course, is that it shall do so. The loss of vitality and creative energy in this age is the result, not of the carpings of “Left intellectuals” or the lowering of any hypothetical standards, but of the stage which capitalism has reached; a stage in which it has nothing further to offer to the development of society. The hindrance to man’s free development, in the arts and in every other sphere, is not any trend within capitalism but is capitalism itself. Thus we cannot see the second Elizabethan age offering anything but what was offered under previous sovereignties, except that the same things will probably be somewhat worse.

There is, however, a social era to come that has everything to offer to every man, woman and child: the socialist age, which does not have any parallel in past history. The time of its coming does not depend upon any individuals, politicians or sovereigns, but on the mass of the people; they will bring it into being when they realise that, under capitalism, there is no prospect of a “golden age” or of any age other than a continuous one of war and want. There will be free seats for all to participate in its coming.
Robert Barltrop

SPGB Meetings (1952)

Party News from the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

An Archbishop's Revolution (1952)

Book Review from the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

Russia is usually thought of as a backward nation. How much backward ? Its rulers have shown themselves a match for Western intellectuals on the United Nations Organisation. While the credulity of the Russian worker in industry is little, if any stronger than that of the British worker. The working-class of both countries have accepted nationalisation, either as Socialism, or as an instalment of Socialism.

It is a good many years since the Labour Party in this country were dubbed Socialist. They protested against the title, with truth, but not overmuch. And they quickly dropped the protest when they realised that many workers, far from being repelled by the name, and notwithstanding their hazy conception of its meaning, were really attracted by its promise of some drastic change in the conditions prevailing at the time— and still are.

We now know that the Labour Party’s notion of Socialism was nationalisation. This fraudulent misrepresentation has brought rich rewards to the Labour Party. It has helped them to become the second, if not the largest political party in the country. As an issue it has raised a smoke screen causing confusion and apathy among their followers. However, modern intellectuals are now going one better.

Julian Huxley in a book entitled “On Living in a Revolution,” E. H. Carr in radio talks entitled “The New Society,” popularised the fallacy that a social revolution is actually taking place under our very noses, while the majority are unconscious of its rapid movement. Now, with a still more significant title, “This Age of Revolution,” Dr. Garbett, Archbishop of York, endeavours to show in a book of 312 pages the sort of revolution it is, and the need to limit its advance, to confine it within the present system. He “rejects as impossible and utopian the Marxist conception of Socialism.”

His opening sentence is not intended to frighten the capitalist so much as to assure the worker that activity on his part is unnecessary. The revolution he has in mind is inherent in the conditions and will work itself out. He says “ We are living in an age of revolution. Fifty years ago we should have used the word evolution. By this we should have meant the continuous progress of the human race through struggle and competition in which the weak would be eliminated and the fittest survive.” By this he infers that in the intervening years economic causes or political reforms have operated in favour of the weak, who are still with us. He then follows with some of the items in the revolution : “Technics, machinery, wireless, internal combustion engine, the aeroplane, weapons of destruction, political changes, social and economic upheaval, etc”

It will be seen that none of these things, nor all of them combined, plus the much advertised welfare system—with its boasted care of the individual from the cradle to the grave—constitute a social revolution, or even the promise of one. They are simply bits and pieces in the evolutionary pattern sketched by a rapidly developing system. Their total effect is to emphasise the contradictions and conflicts within the system, and by increasing the worker’s knowledge and power of discrimination, enable him to understand more readily the rational appeal of Socialism.

A Social Revolution means a complete change—involving the basic principles—from one system to its opposite. In the present instance, from a profits basis to one of production for use. Without private or class ownership in the means of life. And without all the complex machinery of capitalist ownership and exchange.

It is plain that Dr. Garbett has never considered that revolution in the social sense has this very definite meaning. In any case he would dismiss the idea as “impossible and utopian.” On his intellectual plane he could not visualise the working-class as being capable of conceiving and organising such a revolution.

His misuse of the word revolution is frequent throughout the book. On Page 190, he says: “The old Bolshevism believed in revolution from below, such as the upheaval of 1917 had been.” The absurdity of this statement is apparent when we remember that both the Menshevik and the Bolshevik seizures of power only became known to the workers after their accomplishment.

On Page 174 he says: “Post revolution Russia claims to a socialist state. It is a socialist state, for the state owns the means of production and distribution.” This is a misleading statement because distribution is effected by means of exchange as in every capitalist country. Possibly the mistake is unintentional on his part. But as the Russian economy is commodity production its production and distribution is saddled with exchanges which includes profits, wages and of course wage-workers.

On Page 177 he says: “Private property on a small scale is allowed in the socialist state, but there is no possibility of investment except in government stock.” In Russian industry the state owns the factories and rolling stock, pays the wages and allocates dividends on privately owned stock. In other words gilt edged securities for the most active supporters of Stalin and Co.

On Page 181 he says: “The fears of the forced labour camp come now to play the role that the fear of unemployment played under capitalism.” And under Western capitalism is called redundancy and used to increase the mobility of labour.

Although Dr. Garbett “rejects as impossible and utopian the Marxist conception of socialism” he nevertheless asserts that “Marxism is an optimistic creed. It can be hastened by human action.” The Socialist has affirmed that it can be either hastened or retarded by human action. But whether achievement is inevitable or only probable rests entirely with the working- class. His admission that “it can be hastened by human action” seems to register a fear in his mind that it is inevitable.

On Page 230 he says: “Christianity rejects entirely the utopianism which believes that a new social order will automatically change man from his selfishness, acquisitiveness and combativeness into a being who will ever afterwards live in peace and happiness with his fellows. And this is where the Archbishop got bogged in and lost his revolution. Socialism was in conflict with church and state, his most cherished institutions. His imagination that builds mansions in the sky cannot soar to such lowly heights as a society without the opium of the church and the armed forces of the state to render the workers amenable to exploitation. So he quotes holy scripture: “ Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s,” and again according to St. Paul: “That they must honour and pray for the Emperor and submit themselves to those in authority.” He then bolsters up the state with the following more up-to-date avowal: “It is usually accepted that the state obtains its authority from God, and exists to preserve peace and to protect its citizens from injury to their persons and property.”

His concern for preservation of state authority is not merely because it “protects its citizens from injury to their persons and property,” but also because the church relies on it for support and protection. For that reason he is opposed to disestablishment. He says: “The establishment is a national recognition of religion that should not be thrown away at a time when aggressive atheism is persecuting Christianity in many parts of Europe.” From this it might be inferred that he had discarded his age of revolution. Not so. He still persists in it, even while retaining the state. He says: “It is no longer a question of making profits for private owners and shareholders; regulations and taxation have cut down severely this form of profit-making, many of the great industries are either nationalised or controlled by the state.”

Now, profits result from exploitation of the workers. The exploitation is just as real whether it takes place under private, company or state ownership. But Dr. Garbett can hardly be expected to see clearly on economic questions when his conception of profit is so hazy and indefinite as the following seems to indicate : “In every generation there can be found men and women who will work without any thought of profit . . . The ordinary man expects some profit from additional skill and harder work . . . The profit motive is so deeply rooted that it is impossible to ignore it.”

The “ordinary worker” is confined to one market —the labour market. His only commodity is labour- power, human energy, the ability to perform some task among the many required in industry. Whether it is pushing a barrow, selling nylons, managing a department in a chain store or handling test tubes at Harwell, all he gets in return is wages or salary, the price of his particular brand of energy on the labour market. Official figures issued from time to time—and published in the press—give approximate amounts taken respectively in profits, salaries and wages, showing that the department concerned is in no doubt as to what constitutes profits. Had Dr. Garbett taken the trouble to examine such a statement he would have discovered that the amount going to profits varies only slightly from year to year. And the Archbishop will be staggered and gratified by the amount, if he is not already aware of it.

Dr. Garbett’s revolution has back-fired. The state is where it was. His church is threatened with an “aggressive atheism” and he has nothing to offer despairing mankind except some Christian advice on the issue of peace and war. On Page 289 he says, quite truly : “It is dangerous folly to imagine that a state bent on war will swerve an inch from its chosen path on account of the pacific utterances and expressions of goodwill of those whom it purposes to destroy.” His answer to that one ? Prayer not to the powers on earth but to power in the sky.

“A fragile barrier the cynics may say.” But the cynics are not alone the aggressive atheists. There must be many, many more cynics than prayer addicts. Page 296 he says: “Prayer for peace is not asking that the peoples may have the wish for peace, for this they already have . . . but it is asking God to move a small group of dictators, generals and statesmen—possibly the actual decision may rest with one man alone—to choose peace instead of war.” Pray Christians, pray like hell.
F. Foan

Cheap at the price (1952)

From the September 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

The shooting season which commences on the “Glorious Twelfth” sees high society wending its way northward to the Yorkshire moors or the Scottish Highlands so that they may enjoy the manly pleasures of shooting birds and then eating them to the skirl of the pipes. Accommodation is somewhat limited and in order to meet the demand and render some service for the cause of sport, a Scottish Laird has placed his 150-roomed castle at the disposal of all able to afford £120 per week inclusive. In an interview with the wife of this public-spirited Laird, Reynolds News (10.8.52) reports that “American millionaires, wealthy Hungarians and Danes, a few English noblemen ... and a Chinese . . . have booked at the . . . castle.”

Before the war a member of the aristocracy once delivered himself of the observation that if Hitler and Goering had learned in their youth how to play cricket there would not have been any international tension. Now, Mrs. Farquharson, wife of the Scottish Laird, suggests another remedy. She tells us: "I only wish 1 could get some of the world's politicians up here for a shooting party. Perhaps we could then get some international problems straightened out.” It is good to know that there are still aristocratic minds pondering on the ills which beset our troubled world. But the solution is not so drastic as one might think on first reading. The lady does not mean to get the politicians up to her castle and then shoot them off—a solution which might have some effect. She is merely suggesting that they get together and under the mellowing influence of shooting grouse, drinking whisky, and lunching off cold salmon, settle all their differences. We hope this explanation will settle the idea that the Scottish aristocracy have become direct-actionists. Not only politicians would benefit but everybody else who visits the castle, for she tells us that going out on the moors shooting birds and fishing for salmon gives “them a broader outlook. They can discuss things affecting their countries with perfect ease.” Here is an idea worth following up. Those of us who are interested in discussing the problems of present-day society should hire a castle and "at perfect ease” discuss our problems; perhaps that is the short cut to Socialism we have all been looking for.

Asked by the reporter why she was doing all this, Mrs. Farquharson replied, “We only want people to get the right idea of Scotland.” We sympathise with the lady’s ambition. Let us assume that this and other similar establishments were not available for the sportsmen of all nations, and that the host of “American millionaires, wealthy Hungarians and Danes, a Chinese, etc.,” all arrived in Scotland without any castle to go to. They might then have to find accommodation in an Edinburgh slum or a crofter’s cottage without any electric light or the latest mod. con. They would then get the wrong idea about Scotland. They would return to their native lands thinking that there are slums in Scotland or that there are homes where they themselves would not keep their pet poodles. The lady is absolutely right The only way to get the “right idea of Scotland” is to visit a castle and pay £120 per week. Nobody can be expected to shoot straight after a night in a cottage lit by oil lamps, with outside sanitation, and no Scotch whisky. But starting out from a castle with the skirl of pipes in their ears a real day’s sport is obtainable. It mellows the outlook and enables one to see the world as it really is instead of the pessimistic, soured and distorted view of those who won’t pay £120 per week. Thus when the sportsmen see beaters and servants they will understand that they are working for the love of sport and not because they have to act as flunkeys in order to live. If the children of the servants run bare footed it is because it is healthier for them to do so. If the sportsmen see people eating baked beans on toast, or adulterated turned fish it is because they prefer it to the Scotch salmon, and the chilled wine of the Castle. You see how living in the proper atmosphere gives you the "right idea ”?

"We don’t want it to be thought that we are going to make huge profits,” said the lady. "That would be cheapening the whole thing.” At one hundred and twenty pounds a week we would have thought it would be difficult to achieve that. It all goes to show that essentials are grasped in the Scotch Highlands.

Are working-class people allowed to stay, if they have suddenly come into money, was the next question asked of Mrs. Farquharson, by the reporter. Quick as a flash came the assurance. "We did this sort of thing on a smaller scale last year and all types of people came.” (Italics ours.) Could such thoughtfulness be improved on. Out of consideration for the smaller bank accounts of the "working-class people,” it was all done on a "smaller” scale. That is the final argument that should serve to give her visitors the "right idea,” for she goes on to say "they were people like big manufacturers doing all kinds of interesting work.” In this way she again shows that her present visitors will get the “right idea,” for they will surely think that all workers are “doing all kinds of interesting work,” instead of soul-destroying monotonous labour at the factory bench.

In a recent debate in the House of Lords, on the economic situation. Lord Balfour stated that he was in favour of removing food subsidies so that the increase in prices would teach the workers the “facts of life.” Perhaps the noble lord will take a trip to the castle (he is a banker and can well afford it) and compare notes with Mrs. Farquharson. The results may well be interesting, if not instructive.

One further point must be mentioned before we leave this lady to her castle and her millionaires. We note that there is a Chinese among the guests. Our hearts rejoice that there is no colour bar. Here is another solution to the much discussed and very vexed question of racial prejudice. The ability to pay £120 per week will throw down all barriers just like the trumpets of Joshua broke the walls of Jericho. Let this be a rallying cry for all the coloured races. Use your initiative and enterprise and make a lot of money and all else shall be given unto you.
A. S.