What About Will Thorne, M.P.?

In his “Essays in Socialism” (Grant Richards, sixpence) E. Belfort Bax, of the Social Democratic Federation, says, under the heading “Factitious Unity” :

It is alleged by practical politicians, so called, as a reason for toleration or compromise that a party cannot afford to lose an able man or men merely because they happen to be shaky on some vital point of principal. To this it may be replied that the ability of doubtful members cuts both ways. It may be of more danger to party principles when inside the party organisation than it is of advantage to the enemy when working against it outside. A party having any regard for its principles should surely look to it that its able men—those, therefore, most powerful for leading—should be straight, even more than the ordinary rank and file—and, hence, if they go wrong, should be the more inexorably expelled. A party that is worth its salt can always afford to lose a man or two without collapsing, but it cannot always afford to have a powerful leader inside incessantly pulling the wrong way. Here, again, we ask, is the object of the party to hold together solely for the sake of office, emoluments, or party tranquility, or for the sake of its avowed aims?

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