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An Inflation Cat Out of the Bag

Richard Crossman, Minister of Health in the last Labour Government, for years a member of the National Executive, has been elected as Labour MP at every General Election since 1945. At each of these elections he was committed by the party's Election programme to fight inflation. At the last General Election, 1970, a section of the Labour programme was headed "Fighting Inflation", and his leader, Harold Wilson, puts at the forefront of his attacks on the Heath Government that it has failed to keep prices from rising and that only a Labour government will do this. In short, that inflation is a deadly sin and they are against it.

But Crossman writes a regular column in The Times, and his article on 12th September had this:

“If we are going to avoid devaluation and heavy unemployment we must be prepared to accept a rate of inflation which would have been considered intolerable a few years ago.”

Strange to relate, before this declaration that the next Labour government must have inflation, Crossman had quoted Wilson's charge that the Tory Government

“is borrowing or printing money this year on a scale greater than at any time in our history whether in war or peace”

and had expressed his approval of Wilson's plan for "halting inflation".

In a House of Commons debate some years ago an MP referred to inflation as one of the things they all favoured but preferred not to tell the electors.

It seems that Crossman is living up to his reputation in his party as an incorrigible dropper of bricks.

H.