Naked and unashamed

There is an old adage running somewhat to the effect that when men of doubtful honesty have a difference of opinion, then is the time for honest men to come by their own. The Labour Party, through its prominent members, who appear at the moment to be very much at variance, enables us, by means of its internal squabbles, to give further proof of our contention as to its utterly incompetent and fraudulent methods ; enables us to show, once again, how much—or rather, how little—reliance can be placed in its vaunted independence of the Liberal party and policy.

As is well known, for years past, in and out of Parliament, the members of the Labour Party have vehemently protested their independence, have repudiated with indignation and scorn any suggestion of a coalition between them and the Liberals. Now, however, it would seem that the object for which they have been striving and intriguing is near enough to accomplishment to render any further disguise on their part unnecessary. They stand condemned, not from the words of the S.P.G.B., but out of the mouth of one of their most prominent leaders, who, for reasons of his own, wishes still to pose as an incorruptible.

Mr. Philip Snowden, writing in the “Labour Leader” of June 14, referring to the vote of the Labour Party the previous Thursday on the Financial Resolution of the Insurance Bill, says :

“Six members of the Labour Party voted against that resolution ; the majority supported the Government.
“The Labour Party had amendments down to raise the contribution of the State from 2d. to 3d. They had others which proposed to increase the benefits. The Financial Resolution submitted by the Government was designed, as Mr. Lloyd George frankly said, to rule out every amendment which would increase the State’s contribution.
“In answer to a question the Chairman said that if the Resolution was passed it would not be permissible to move the Labour Party’s amendments. Yet in the face of this the official spokesman of the Labour Party, after joining with the Unionist speaker in condemning the resolution, and after condemning the State’s ‘inadequate contribution,’ announced, not that the Labour Party would vote against it, or abstain, but that they would support the resolution which killed every one of their amendments worth trying to get !
“If the I.L.P. will stand this it will stand anything. If it submits to this it is time to go into voluntary liquidation as a preliminary to affiliating with the National Liberal Federation. The official Labour Party is now indistinguishable from the official Liberals. The Labour Whip was put on to send the Labour Members into the lobby to destroy their own amendment.”

Further, in “The Christian Commonwealth,” July 12, he writes with reference to this same amendments : “There was never a clearer case of men deliberately putting an halter round their necks. … The Labour Party was instructed by the Conference which met three weeks ago to proceed with that amendment.
“But when the test of its independence came, when it was called upon to choose between obeying the instructions of its own conference and supporting the Liberal Government on an occasion when the Tories were not voting, the Labour Members, with about half-a dozen dissentients, showed that they were more anxious to follow the Liberal Whip than to obey the authority from which they profess to derive their mandate. This action on the part of the official Labour Party finally completes their identity with official Liberalism.”

This righteous indignation on the part of Mr. Snowden is rather amusing when one considers that it emanates from the man who, but a short time ago, was eulogising the honesty of Mr. Asquith, defending the action of the Liberals in sending the military to shoot down the workers at Belfast and Featherstone, and who was only returned to Parliament with the aid of Lord Morley and by Liberal votes.

If further evidence is needed of the betrayal of their followers by these leaders of “Labour,” it can be found in a recital of their doings during the recent Coronation festivities. As was pointed out at the recent I.L.P. conference, a Labour Party representative was allowed to serve on the Committee which sat in connection with the Coronation celebration. At the Coronation ceremony itself Messrs. Mullin and Davis attended on behalf of the Parliamentary Committee of the Trades Union Congress ; Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, “in faultless morning dress, disquietingly like a labour leader” (“Christian Commonwealth”), also graced the ceremony with his presence.

The sycophantic attitude of the Labour Party to Royalty is still further illustrated by the appearance of the Chairman of the Labour Party at the luncheon party given by the Secretary of State for War in honour of William II. of Germany. Mr. Macdonald went to the luncheon with the consent of the Labour Party, thus becoming its official representative. It might well be asked what a member of the Independent Labour Party, which a few months previously had been indulging in what was called “a great anti war campaign,” and who himself had taken a prominent part in the campaign, was doing in such a galley. He had as fellow-guests, such lovers and advocates of peace as the war-lord of Germany himself, Count Matternich, Gen. von Plessen, Admiral von Mülller, Lord Kitchener, and numerous others. Did the Kaiser and the Labour leader discuss, during their long conversation, the brutal repressive measures that have been taken in Germany, even in recent years ? Did Mr. Macdonald mention, for example, the ruthless manner in which the police shot down men, women, and children at the end of September last year during the strikes in Berlin ? Possibly, however, these small troubles of the working class slipped his memory—the memories of Labour leaders are conveniently short upon occasions.

Again, at the recent investiture .of the Prince of Wales, it might reasonably have been supposed that the official representatives of Labour would have no part. At the time this investiture was taking place, on the hillsides and in the valleys of South Wales were thousands of locked out and striking miners, fighting what must, unfortunately, be a losing fight with the powers of capitalism. The distress prevalent among these men and those immediately dependent upon them was appalling in its intensity. One would have thought that in common decency the least the Labour representatives could have done would have been to refrain from identifying themselves with the symbols and regalia of the flaunting wealth of capitalism. But no ! In the procession formed to do honour to the boy Edward, among other Welsh M.P.s, walked Mr. Keir Hardie, the Rt. Hon. W. Abraham, Mr. William Brace, Mr. J. Williams, and Mr. T. Richards. So glad were these men to be allowed the opportunity of licking the boots of Royalty, so eager were they to be acclaimed loyal subjects, that less than nothing to them were the starving men and women whom they have the audacity to claim to represent. The insult contained in this wanton callousness could not very well be greater.

The Labour Party appear to have thrown off all disguise. What does this kow-towing to kings and princes, this servile waiting upon the Liberal party, portend ? Perhaps the following paragraph, which appeared in the “Daily Chronicle” of 19 July, may throw some further light on the subject.

“The Ministry of Labour Bill, the text of which was issued yesterday, has for its object ‘to establish a Ministry of Labour for the better organisation of the labour market, for the prevention of unemployment, to regulate and in certain cases prohibit child labour, and to establish a general minimum wage for adult workers.’
“The salary of the Minister is placed at £5,000 a year, ‘and to the secretary, assistant secretary, officials and servants such salaries as the Treasury may from time to time determine.’
“The Bill, which is presented by Mr. Lansbury, is supported by Mr. Keir Hardie, Mr. Barnes, Mr. Jowett and Mr. Snowden.”

The vultures are gathering together about the carcase and have already started fighting among themselves for the choicest tit-bits. They are welcome to the spoil. The present writer, however, for one, finds that even the thought of its putridity is almost too nauseating for his mental digestion. Would that the whole working class could say the same.


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