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50 Years Ago : Cat out of the bag

Upton Sinclair once wrote than “even Von Papen had to tell the truth sometimes, if only to rest his mind.” The saying applies to all politicians. The time comes when even the most diplomatic will blurt out the real motives of the British ruling class.

For example, Sir Anthony Eden. At Norwich recently he said:

“The United Kingdom’s vital interest in Cyprus is not confined to its N.A.T.O. aspect. Our country’s industrial life and that of Western Europe depends to-day, and must depend for many years to come, on oil supplies from the Middle East. If ever our oil resources were in peril, we would be compelled to defend them. The facilities we need in Cyprus are part of that defence. We cannot, therefore, accept any doubt about their availability.” -(The Times, 2.6.56).

The Prime Minister here admits that British capitalism’s need to protect its profits-which it could not do without oil supplies-comes before the promise which Britain has made, as a member of the United Nations, to uphold the principle of self-government. Socialists have been saying for a long time that capitalism always puts profits before principle, but it is not often that a politician as eminent as Sir Anthony Eden confirms it so explicitly.

(From an article by Alwyn Edgar, Socialist Standard, July 1956)