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50 Years Ago: They all go the same way home

After 14 years of Labour government in New Zealand and eight years in Australia, the general elections in November and December saw those Labour governments rejected by the voters who had earlier put them into power. Some of the political commentators in this country have been speculating about the effect those results may have on the forthcoming General Election.

They suggest that the British workers may be influenced to vote against the Labour Party because of what has happened in New Zealand and Australia. It is a fallacious view. If the Labour Government here had been able to make a success of its efforts to run capitalism in a manner pleasing to the workers they would not be influenced at all by what has happened on the other side of the globe. It may be that the British Labour Government will next year be returned to power for another five years, though the Labour Ministers are clearly resigned to suffering some loss of votes and seats. What we can say with complete confidence is that sometime or other, either at the 1950 elections or later on, the workers in Britain will turn out the Labour Government. The now lengthening history of Labour governments in many parts of the world shows that they are merely the alternative that the electors choose when they have become tired, sick or resentful of Liberal or Tory government. Just as 19th century Britain witnessed the game of political ins and outs, with never any fundamental change in the position of the working-class, so the 20th century gives us the same game but with the Labour Party in place of one of the older Parties.

(From front page article by 'H', Socialist Standard, January 1950)