Mr. James Parker, M.P. and the “Socialist Standard”

In our November issue we printed two articles, headed respectively, “A Travesty of Socialism” and “Labour Members and Child Slavery,” in which the utterances of the Labour Member for Halifax were criticised. In the first he was accused of talking twaddle and calling it Socialism, thus proving that he was either ignorant or fraudulent. To that accusation he makes no reply. The second article dealt with a speech he had delivered at Burton-on-Trent on October 7th, and concluded as follows: “Thus Mr. Parker, having thrown over ‘political independence’ and made a compact with the Liberal Party to secure election, now shows himself prepared to throw over anything else that may endanger his seat. We wish the I.L.P. joy of these ‘political job hunters.’ ”

Mr. Parker has sent us a letter which is printed below:—

Dear Sir,—I have just seen a copy of SOCIALIST STANDARD for November. The words I used at Burton-on-Trent were the very opposite of those you quote. If you get the other paper (I forget the name) published in Burton-on-Trent, you will find that the words I used in reference to child labour were these : “Speaking for myself, I would never seek to hold any seat in Parliament if it were necessary for me to support half-time labour to hold it,” If you care to look up my record in this matter you will find no man in the Socialist movement has spoken out more strongly against half-time employment of children. Not only is this true, but I think you will find if you get the paper who were represented at the meeting you refer to by a reporter and I think the paper you quote from had no reporter present, you will find that my speech went the “whole hog” for the proper feeding, training and education by the State.
Yours truly,

A copy of Mr. Parker’s letter was submitted to the Editor of the Burton Daily Mail, and he has sent us the following communication :—

Horninglow Street, Burton-on-Trent. Dec. 12, 1907.
R. H. Kent, Esq., London.
Dear Sir,—I find on enquiry that Mr. Parker, was not properly reported in our issue of Oct. 8th. Our reporter was present, but he did not get Mr. Parker’s reply to the question accurately. What I understand the hon. member did say was that “members of the I.L.P., as a Party, would take up the attitude of getting the age limit raised if they had the opportunity.” I am sorry that our Reporter’s carelessness has caused so much controversy.—
Yours faithfully,ARTHUR E. BROWN, Editor & Manager.

We apologise to Mr. Parker and of course withdraw our criticism in so far as it was based upon the incorrect report sent to us. We have obtained the “other paper” but do not find the words Mr. Parker claims to have used. It reports that he said Socialists would like to get the State to look after their human needs. They wanted a doctor in the schools to deal with the ailments affecting the children, such as bad eyesight, defective hearing, and to see that all were properly nourished. He also advocated one good meal in school each day. To-day they spent a few millions on education and about ten times as much on armaments, but when they became a wise nation and a Socialist nation the figures would be reversed.

We have taken these words from the Burton Evening Gazette and must express our inability to understand Mr. Parker’s conception of a Socialism which would require a “few millions spent on armaments.” The coming of Socialism will mean the triumph of the wealth-producers over their exploiters. As the Manifesto of the S.P.G.B. fully explains, “in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to be emancipated,” and the emancipation of this class “will involve the abolition of all class distinctions and class privileges and free humanity from oppression of every kind.” Whence, then, will arise the necessity to spend a few millions on armaments ?

It will be noticed that Mr. Parker does not deny that he won his seat by making a compact with the Liberals. Of course he is not the only I.L.P. leader who has done so, particulars of several of these compacts being given in the S.P.G.B. Manifesto. With regard to his claim that he “went the ‘whole hog’ for the proper feeding, training and education by the State,” if one who believes that children should be fed, and trained, and educated by the “State” is a “whole hogger” we are glad we are not “whole hoggers.” The mother, for whom a State institution, however beneficent and well-equipped, can never be a substitute, is the proper person to feed and care for her children, and it is because we know that Socialism alone will make it possible for mothers to properly feed, and train, and educate their offspring that we are Revolutionists.


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