All that is vile in politics is well represented in the Labour Party. The grasping after fat jobs; the petty bickering over positions of influence; and the changing of ideas and programmes to suit the political weather.
Those who in opposition foam and froth over disarmament, when in office pushed forward a programme of Naval and Air Force development. Those who proclaim the rights of small nationalities, when they had their chance to fulfil their promises met the claims of Indians, Egyptians and others with threats of force and cargoes of bombs.
Based mainly upon the single idea of personal advancement, what else can be expected of these “Leaders of Labour”?
Ramsay MacDonald, J. R. Clynes, J. H. Thomas, vie with one another at pleasant social functions as to which can talk in the most honied tone calculated not to disturb the wealthy host who provide the tempting repasts.
They preach little homilies to the workers on the merit of working hard for the employers and giving them a square deal; they boost Wembley and parade their sound adherence to all the capitalist doctrines of Empire, they ape the manners and conceits of the ruling class, who in private laugh at them for their folly.
Dinners and social functions take up a great part of the time and energy of the more prominent Labour members.
Mouthers of windy and empty phrases; accomplished diners-out; settlers of strikes—with honours to the employers; trimmers of sails to suit political winds—for the securing of pelf and place; such are the crew the votes of the working class and the permission of the employers have placed at the political helm.
And yet, what self-sacrifice on the part of the rank and file has taken place to push these self-seekers into affluence! What a desire for improvement has backed these efforts whose fruition is barrenness!
The workers allow high wages (or salaries!) to be paid to these industrial and political bigwigs and thus make the jobs attractive and an inducement to the unprincipled adventurers. Those who are on the look-out for a career in which they can climb see such a career in these movements; and a career, moreover, that is easier than in ordinary business—brass, wind, and unscrupulousness being the main qualifications required. The “intellectuals” find an easy opening and crawl in and up.
The history of the “labour” movement the world over is to a great extent the history of sacrifice by the workers and betrayal by the “intellectuals.”
Finally, is it necessary to attend gorgeous functions and to be tricked out in knee breeches in order to help on the emancipation of the working class?