The Odd Men!

Mr Loyd George, the “statesman of the day,” the man of “dogged determination,” “marvellous tact,” etc., etc., as all the Tory and Liberal papers and politicians have hailed him since he induced Mr. R. Bell and his friends to sign that historical document which is dealt with elsewhere in this issue, has been making remarks about the Labour members. Speaking at Madeley, Salop, on November 1st, he said : —

“There were only five or six Socialists in the House of Commons. Five out of 600 ! Well, what were five among so many ? The Labour people were not Socialists. In the House of Commons they assisted the Liberal Party to carry practical measures, and even the Socialists, though some of them might make very wild speeches outside, in the House of Commons were thoroughly tame. (Laughter). He had never heard them propose a resolution in favour of upsetting Society ; he had never heard a revolutionary statement emerging from them. There they were, amending the Trade Disputes Bill, or tinkering up some other Bills, and doing some odd jobs of that kind in the Liberal workshop —(laughter and cheers)—in fact earning their living in an honest way in the great party factory.”

Similar statements have been made from time to time in the columns of this paper, but Mr. Lloyd George has an advantage over the members of the working class who, during the brief respite from toil permitted to them by capitalism, write, without fee or hope of reward, the articles for THE SOCIALIST STANDARD. He can speak from an inside knowledge of the sayings and doings of the Labour members, whilst the writers in this paper must mainly rely upon what is reported concerning them. The similarity of views is interesting. Can it be that Mr. Lloyd George, like other prominent members of the Government, is a regular reader of our journal ?

Undoubtedly, some folks expected great things when twenty-nine Labour candidates were returned to the House of Commons, especially as that number included several who, being members of the S.D.F. and the I.L.P., were supposed to be Socialists. But we of The Socialist Party of Great Britain had no false ideas on the matter. Long before the election, in our Manifesto, we had dealt with that fraud, the L.R.C. When the election was over we showed conclusively that the result was neither a victory for Socialism nor for Labour but for Confusion. We explained why we expected nothing from the victors and we have not been disappointed but justified. They could only do odd jobs in the Liberal workshop because they were only elected to do them. Had they been elected as Socialists by Socialists, Mr. Lloyd George would be telling a different tale to-day, but knowing all the circumstances he can no longer restrict himself to laughing up his sleeve, but must laugh aloud at the suggestion that these “respectable, adaptable, and sensible” Labour members are dangerous to the exploiting class.

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