Mr. Walton Newbold Makes a Confession
Writing in the One Big Union Bulletin (Winnipeg, November 26th, 1931), Mr. J. T. Walton Newbold makes a confession of political faith, or rather lack of faith, which is intended to be startling and is certainly interesting. It will not be understood unless it is remembered how much and often Mr. Newbold’s political views have changed. He has found a home for himself at different periods in the Fabian Society, the I.L.P. and the Labour Party, the Communist Party, the I.L.P. again, the Social-Democratic Federation, and then at the last General Election in MacDonald’s National Labour group. It now appears from Mr. Newbold’s article in the O.B.U. Bulletin that he never had faith in any of his parties. He says that although he has four times stood for Parliament, he never—
” .. regarded the capture of a majority of seats in the House of Commons as in any sense a step to power. All that it could be was a step to enlightenment in the hollowness of the whole system of “democracy.”
He never expected “the Labour Government to do anything but to prove the bankruptcy of reformism.”
He once ran as a Communist and claimed at the time that his constituency was converted to Communism (actually he got in on a reformist programme and with the backing of the Labour Party).
Now he declares that it was “enough to make a cat laugh,” that anyone should have supposed that either he or Saklatvala was a Communist. Incidentally, it would interesting to hear Saklatvala’s views on this.
Newbold opposed Churchill at Epping in 1929. At the time Newbold was trying to raise funds through the O.B.U. Bulletin and stated that he ran as a Socialist. We were able at the time to point out that Newbold had one story for Winnipeg and a very different story for his constituents at Epping. Now he declares that he only opposed Churchill in order to prevent the Tories from putting up another Tory, his object being to secure the election of Churchill.
All of this is interesting, but, like many confessions, it hides more than it discloses. We flatly do not believe it. When Mr. Newbold pretends that his woolly-headed support for all kinds of anti-working-class policies was part of an astute and longsighted manoeuvre, he is deceiving himself. It was Newbold himself who was taken in by these series of fraudulent policies, and his super-cleverness is just a face-saving afterthought.
If Newbold was so clever, he might explain how he came to land himself in his present position of being thoroughly mistrusted by every organisation of which he has been a member, as well as by the small number of organisations to which he has not yet turned his attention.
To Mr. Newbold the workers have been a crowd of boobs to be led and inoculated with knowledge by the Machiavellian schemer, Newbold. He should ponder over the saying of Voltaire, that he who believes he can lead a great crowd of fools without a great store of knavery is a fool himself.