1920s >> 1928 >> no-284-april-1928

Dishonest I.L.P. Journalism.

Elsewhere in this issue appears a review of “A History of English Socialism,” written by G. Benson, and published by the New Leader, Ltd. The book in question contains the untrue statement that our organisation assisted in the formation of the Communist Party of Great Britain.

The book was reviewed in the New Leader on December 9th, 1927, and the reviewer laid special stress on the “direct honesty of statement” and the “proof of wide reading and hard-earned knowledge” possessed by the author, Mr. G. Benson. When we called attention to the incorrect and damaging statement about ourselves we were definitely promised by the Acting Editor of the New Leader that a correction would be published in the New Leader.

This promise was made in writing in a letter dated 18th January, 1928, but the following week the General Manager of the New Leader wrote refusing to insert the correction on the flimsy pretence that the matter “has nothing to do with the New Leader as an organ, but concerns the New Leader, Ltd., its controlling company.”

Then on February 2nd, two months after the publication of the book and the review in the New Leader, the General Manager, a Mr. L. A. Plummer, informed us that a correction slip containing the bare statement that “The words and ‘and the Socialist Party of Great Britain’ are here inserted in error,” would be sent out with copies sold in the future.

We naturally protested that large numbers of copies were already in circulation and it was not unreasonable to ask that the New Leader, which had strongly urged the value of the book to its readers, should take the step it had promised and publish a correction. The attempted distinction between the New Leader and the New Leader, Ltd., is in keeping with the I.L.P.’s past record of subtle propaganda methods ; are we to understand from this that the I.L.P. has in fact no control over the proprietors of what purports to be its own officiai organ?

Members of the I.L.P. will, we trust, notice the fact that whereas our columns, like our platform and our meetings, are open to all our opponents, it is not possible for us to obtain the retraction of a grossly untrue and damaging statement in the New Leader.


(Socialist Standard, April 1928)

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