Debates and the I.L.P.
We have recently been asked why we do not arrange a debate with the I.L.P., as branches of that organisation have both issued challenges and accepted them. As, however, it appeared that the I.L.P. headquarters were unwilling to endorse these challenges we approached them directly. Below is the reply of Mr. Fenner Brockway :—
1st July, 1924.
We have your letter and do not think that any useful purpose can be served by a debate which you suggest, and accordingly regret that we cannot accept your proposal.
A. Fenner Brockway.
He does not explain why no useful purpose would be served, but it is not difficult to suggest an explanation. I.L.P. Head Office is no doubt occupied with other matters. On the one hand the staff have just put in an impudent claim for trade union rates of pay, and on the other Mr. Brockway must be fully engaged defending and explaining away to the rank and file the actions of I.L.P. M.P.’s in the Government and in the House. There are limits to everything, even possibly to the gullibility of the members of the I.L.P. and the adaptability of the non-conformist conscience.
With his subtlety taxed to the utmost trying to reconcile Pacificism with more cruisers, the enlarged Air Force, bombs in Irak, and shooting strikers in India, Mr. Brockway naturally has no time for Socialism ; not even to oppose it in debate.
(Socialist Standard, August 1924)