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50 Years Ago: Mr Hutchinson investigates

Is Britain great? And why are so many workers considering emigration as something of a solution to their problems?

Firstly, British capitalism, although still a world power, is second rate in comparison with the giants of the United States and the Soviet Union, which is nothing, as far as workers are concerned, to get hot under the collar about. The once mighty British Empire bestowed no benefit on British workers; likewise American and Russian “greatness” on their workers.

As for the increasing flow of emigrants to the New World and Australasia, again the reasons are hardly secret—the chance of higher wages, a supposed solution to housing difficulties, etc.—all very much facets of working-class life.

However, Mr. Harold Hutchinson of the Daily Herald (4/5/6 March), in a series of three articles, goes in for some soul searching on these very questions. Not surprisingly, being a reformist, Socialism is not mentioned, let alone defined; Mr. Hutchinson’s horizon does not go beyond capitalism—although he no doubt prefers a “modified” capitalism—with all of its inseparable paraphernalia, i.e., buying and selling, rent, interest and profit, export drives, together with the necessary trade routes, spheres of influence and strategic points. Presumably, this is considered perfectly natural, his task being the futile attempt to knock off some of the rough edges.

(From article by F. Simkins, Socialist Standard, August 1957)