Leicester—and after

Last month we dealt briefly with the position occasioned by the bye-election at Leicester, and pointed out to the workers generally, and to the workers of Leicester in particular, the necessity for understanding their class position in society. How necessary this is has been demonstrated by the fact that a very large number of workers voted for the Liberal candidate, believing that their interests would be best looked after by the Liberal Party, and that if they abstained from voting it might be taken as “a graceless disre­gard of Mr. Ramsay Macdonald’s position.”

The refusal of the National Executive of the Labour Party to endorse the candidature of the Leicester Labour Party’s candidate can only be taken as evidence of their adoption of the “one-and-one principle.”

The truth of our contention that the Labour Party is not independent and is mainly concerned in keeping the Liberal Party in office is amply confirmed in three recent issues of the “Labour Leader.” (It is worth while to remember in this connection that it was the Liberal Government who passed the Payment of Members Bill, and, of course, £400 a year is worthy of serious consideration.)

Since the declaration of the poll we have been treated in the capitalist daily Press, and especi­ally in the “Weekly Journal of Socialism, Trade Unionism, and Politics,” to yards of explanation from the official Labour Party.

The “Labour Leader” (July 13) says: “We all want a clearer manifestation of our indepen­dence. We all want a more vigorous denunci­ation of the Government’s tyranny at home and abroad.” A letter from the secretary of the Bermondsey branch of the I.L.P. appears in the same issue, in which he states, among other things, that “the Leicester business has given us a staggering blow in Bermondsey. Our members are broken and crushed. They feel they can no longer face the enemy, as they know that the criticisms levied against the ‘indepen­dence’ of the Labour Party are justified after all, and that they can no longer honestly con­tinue to repudiate the allegations. They are sick and tired of ‘explaining’ and ‘apologising’ for the Party, and the culminating business of Leicester can neither be explained nor apologised for. It can only be condemned.”

In another issue of the “Labour Leader” we find a special article by Mr. J. Ramsay Macdonald, in which he tells us : “Our Parliamentary policy is exactly that which the most revolution­ary Socialist Party would adopt if it had 40 members in the House of Commons in the year of grace 1913.”

This is, indeed, nonsense. When the workers become class-conscious they will reject the Labour Party for the spurious body of rogues and fools that it is. Understanding what they want, and having sent 40 members of “the most revolutionary Socialist Party” to the House of Com­mons, it is certain these representatives would have to carry out the instructions of the workers who had sent them there. Knowing that they were sent with specific instructions they could not play a two-handed game, and we should not witness that, sorry spectacle which the Labour Party has treated us to—a “revolutionary” party voting against their own amendments in order to save the Government.

Last year there were several bye elections, and as a result of three cornered contests the Conservative candidates in some instances managed to secure the seats. This caused much discomfiture amongst the Liberal and Labour Parties.

Why the workers should be perturbed at the loss of Liberal seats the present writer cannot understand. Are not the Liberal Party ever ready to bring out the armed forces to maim and murder the workers with as little compunc­tion as the Tory Party ? Belfast, Llanelly, Tonypandy prove that they are. Yet this is the brutal party that Mr. Ramsay Macdonald is prepared to “bargain” with. The following from “Reynolds’s Newspaper” (6.10.12) is pretty signifi­cant :—

“Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, in a speech on Wednesday last, stated that there would be no more three-cornered contests if the Liberal Party would recognise the right of the Labour Party to 80 members.”

“This would seem to indicate the readiness for a ‘deal’ on the part of the latter in view of the next election” is an editorial comment.

Independence, forsooth !

In the “Labour Leader” of July 17 appears an article by Mr. Ramsay Macdonald under the heading : “What is Independence ?” He says that his critics are “nothing more than anti-Liberal,” and asks : “If Lord Selborne had been in South Africa instead of Lord Gladstone what would have been the difference ?”

What this has to do with the “independence” of the Labour Party it is difficult to understand. The reference to Gladstone and Selborne is, of course, an admission of the truth of our contention that the Liberal and Tory parties are really one party, who are only concerned with the robbery of the working class. But if the work­ing class are to derive any comfort from the fact that things would have been no different on the Rand had Lord Selborne been there instead of the Liberal butcher, they should find balm in the reflection that the miners would have been just as ruthlessly murdered had Mr. Macdonald been there instead of either.

A recently joined member of the I.L.P. said publicly : “After what you have done about Leicester, it seems to me that I might just as well have stayed in the Liberal Party for all the good we are doing” (“Labour Leader,” July 17.) Quite so.

Fellow workers, the only organisation worthy of your serious consideration is the Socialist Party of Great Britain, because it is the only party standing for Socialism.

S. W. T.

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