1930s >> 1935 >> no-373-september-1935

Straws: Drifting Whither?

Drifting Whither?
Maxton’s deterioration goes on apace. For sheer sloppiness, the following (part of speech at recent I.L.P. Summer School, reported in New Leader, August 9th, 1935) would be hard to beat: “Those who best lead the people are those who most humbly watch the people, try to understand them, get . . .  into the real hearts of the people.”


Vote-Catchers’ Reward
He attributed the “tremendous success” of the I.L.P. to the fact that “it has never tried to set itself above the people.” ‘‘Tremendous success” in angling for votes from a politically inexperienced working class has not prevented the Party which claimed to ‘‘overwhelmingly” dominate the Labour Government of 1924 (see our “Questions of the Day,” page 36) from dwindling to an insignificant reformist rump of three M.P.s.


Socialism and Religion
Middleton Murry, high priest of the I.L.P. breakaway (“Independent Socialist Party”) shows his knowledge of Socialism by endorsing the opinion that ‘‘Long ago Socialists claimed that Socialism was a religion, a spiritual experience ” (Northern Voice, October, 1934). Readers are recommended to study our pamphlet “Socialism and Religion.”


Labour Party and Teachers
The London Teacher reminds its readers (July 12th, 1935) that Mr. Charles Latham, Labour chairman of the L.C.C. Finance Committee, and Mr. (Sir) Arthur Pugh, one time chairman of the Trade Union Congress, jointly signed a minority report “recommending an adjustment of teachers’ salaries in the neighbourhood of 12½ per cent.” This they did as members of the famous “May Committee,” which led to the formation of the “ National Government.”


Codlin and Short
The London Teacher’s moral is: “Join the National Union of Teachers” (and to those in the know, “Let the rival men’s association, the National Association of Teachers, where members are pledged not to work under a woman ‘head,’ alone ”). Codlin’s the friend, not Short.


Pedagogic Ice Cream
The Daily Herald, however (July 4th, 1935), reports: “Teacher turns ice cream vendor,” and quotes the vice-chairman of the “Supply Teachers’ Association” as stating that men, “some possessing honours degrees,” are “almost on the verge of starvation.” . . .  Said teachers urged to “bring pressure on the Board of Education” to introduce their “untrained” colleagues to the amenities of the ice cream barrow by incontinently firing them.


“Captains and Guides of the Democracy” (Rosebery)
Twenty-seven years ago, a young recruit to the S.P.G.B. wrote (Socialist Standard, June, 1906): “ The declared reason for the existence of the N.U.T. is the furtherance of the interests of the child. Is there not a danger that it may become the happy hunting ground of the eloquent Party-man in a hurry to round his own life into a success? ”


“Labour will not sanction war in any circumstances” (George Lansbury at meeting in Wales, June 12th, 1935).


Southport Conference
Now perpend: “There might be circumstances under which the Government of Great Britain might have to use its military and naval forces in support of the League in restraining an aggressor nation . . . etc.” (Southport Labour Conference, Report, page 244).


Head and Tail

“Four legs and two voices.” Take your choice, which is the brute Caliban, and which the foolish Trinculo. Evasiveness produced the “It is necessary to define what is meant by war,” which appears also on page 224.

Soviet Testimonial
Lord Passfield (reported Daily Herald, August 4th, 1932) says: “Russian working class families . . . are better off than the lowest grade of our population.” The erstwhile Mr. Sidney Webb opines that “the country is relatively prosperous.” Now we know something definite about “building Socialism.” One is reminded of the famous testimonial in “Alice in Wonderland“:

“She gave me a good character,
But said I could not swim.”


Augustus Snellgrove