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Stafford Cripps

Labour's Bad Memory

But this is terrible. They have elected a Labour government and the country will never stand for that. (Woman dining at Claridge's, 26 July 1945.)

Thirty years ago—on October 5 1951 to be exact—the British people voted to set themselves free, to expunge austerity from their lives, to replace snoek and dried eggs with good red meat. At least that was what Tory politicians (like Churchill, Eden, Butler, Woolton—how evocative the very names are now) had told them would happen if they got rid of the Labour government.

The government—Labour's first ever with its own majority—was elected, in the final stages of the 1939/45 war, on the promise to build a fair, abundant, secure Britain. What happened, between 1945 and 1951. to swing the voters the other way?

What a Conservative M.P. Thought of the Labour Party and Sir Stafford Cripps

In the light of subsequent developments, it is interesting to recall what Captain Harold Macmillan, M.P., had to say about the Labour Party and Sir Stafford Cripps seven years ago. At that time they were political opponents. Now, Sir Stafford Cripps represents the British Government in Russia and Captain Harold Macmillan is a member of the Government, along with leaders of the Labour Party. In June, just before the German attack on Russia, The Times was urging that Cripps should be included in the Cabinet (News Chronicle, June 17th, 1941).

Here are Captain Harold Macmillan’s views seven years ago : —

      Captain Harold Macmillan, Conservative M.P. for Stockton, speaking at a meeting of the English Review Luncheon Club, in London, yesterday, gave two views of the Labour Party as seen through the eyes of the Right-wing in politics.

Inquest on the I.L.P.

Fenner Brockway's 'Inside the Left' (Allen & Unwin, 15/-) contains no original contribution to Socialist thought nor even an adequate restatement of old theories. Brockway says of Sir Stafford Cripps (p. 264) that Cripps "has no experience of the working-class and he has no real knowledge of Socialist theory. . . . I doubt whether he has ever read Marx or any book of fundamental Socialist economics." Brockway has experience of the working-class and has probably read more about Socialist theory than Cripps but it is not unfair to say that he has no real understanding of it. In this he is a representative figure in the I.L.P. The I.L.P. membership, taking each incident of the working-class struggle in isolation, are able to use what they know of Socialist theory and past experience to discuss the pros and cons of short-term courses of action but have no clear idea of Socialism or of how capitalism is to be abolished.

Editorial: Cripps and the Labour Party

Political  groups are nowadays two-a-penny. Facing the Tories, National Liberals and National Labour Party, which make up the Chamberlain Government are the opposition Liberals, the Labour Party and its affiliated parties, the Co-operative Party, the I.L.P. and the Communists. Then there is Lloyd George’s Council of Action, the Labour Co-operative joint campaign, the Churchill-Sandys-Atholl  'Hundred Thousand' movement, and the latest addition, the Cripps' Manifesto for an alliance of all genuine friends of democracy and opponents of the Chamberlain Government. Sir Stafford Cripps argues that if all the genuine friends of democracy got together, they would be numerous enough to defeat Chamberlain at the next election, but lots of genuine friends have lost no time in telling Cripps that he is a disruptionist, and they will have none of him and his movement.

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