1910s >> 2018 >> no-107-july-1913

Editorial: Leicester and the Labour Party

During the past week we have heard much talk in our masters’ papers of the bye-election which, at the time of writing, will take place shortly at Leicester. Columns of matter have been specially written and printed in the “Daily Chronicle” and the “Daily News,” pointing out that there is “no official Labour candidate,” and advising the working men in the constituency to vote for the Liberal candidate. As recently as Sunday, June 22, “Reynolds’s” drew their readers’ attention to the fact that Mr. Ramsay MacDonald holds his seat by an arrangement with the Liberal Party : “The second Liberal nominee, Sir Israel Hart, retired, and so gave a clear run to the present leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.” Such is the independence of the Labour Party!
 
The following from the “Daily News and Leader’’ (26.6.13) is exquisitely rich : “The action of the Leicester Labour Party is regarded as such a grave violation of national party discipline, and such a graceless disregard of Mr. Ramsay MacDonald’s position as will inevitably lead to a considerable disruption of the Labour Party forces, and must compel Mr. MacDonald to sever his connection with Leicester . . . Other constituencies are open to him.”
 
Of course, seeing that Mr. MacDonald is a good Liberal, the Liberal Party would undoubtedly be prepared to run him, either as a Lib Lab, or as a Liberal candidate.
 
The discontent at Leicester is a welcome sign. The workers are at last beginning to see the fraud and hypocrisy of the “official” Labour Party. Possibly they desire to know how Mr. MacDonald is voicing the claims of Labour while he is shooting tigers in India. Perhaps they have been reading of the support he gave to the Sir John Brunner Education (amendment) Bill. And further, to come to more recent events, may be they wonder what that other member of the Labour Party. Mr. Parker (who sat on the Marconi Committee and proved by his actions that there is no difference between the so-called Labour Party and the Liberals) is doing in the interest of the workers.
 
Seven years have rolled by since the great “Labour” triumph, and notwithstanding the fact that the labour movement has bad about forty of its members in the House of Commons, what have they done? They have shouted about Insurance and Minimum Wages, but after all, have they done anything to bring greater security to the wage-slave ? No !
 
Fellow workers, the only remedy for your precarious and poverty-stricken condition is to be found in intelligent recognition of your class position. You must recognise that you are mere cogs in the industrial machine, that you are permitted to work only so long as there is profit to be derived from your labour. You must understand what you want and how to get it; then there will be no room for Labour “leaders.” You would not need to be led. and you could not be misled. You must organise then inside the Socialist Party, and work consciously for that revolution which will replace poverty and misery for those who do the world’s work with plenty for all.

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