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50 Years Ago: Insult to Injury

Make no mistake about it. The Labour government is out to cut our standard of living. To be sure, they claim this is necessary so that standards can rise in the future. But we need take no notice of this. After all we've heard it so many times before from Labour and Tory alike. First it was Cripps, then Gaitskell, then Butler, then Thorneycroft, then Selwyn Lloyd and now Wilson. But the promised prosperous futures with steadily rising living standards have never appeared and, of course, they never will. You don't have to be a Socialist to be sceptical on this point.

What the government is trying to do is to freeze wages and salaries at July 20 levels and allow prices to rise to offset "tax increases and import price rises". If this works, our standard of living will have been cut and more of the wealth we produce will be available for profitable investment.

It's bad enough to have this attack on our living standards and to be intimidated by the "reserve powers" of the Prices and Incomes Act. But we have also to take Minister of Labour Gunter telling us that this is what we deserve as we have been "dishonest and thriftless" and clever Dick Crossman and the New Statesman telling us that this is a step towards Socialism.

It is surprising that there are still people who think that trade unionists and workers generally have something to gain from backing Labour.

(Editorial, Socialist Standard, November 1966)