Here and There
The Royal Mission to Canada
George VI is visiting Canada. It is a political visit, arranged by and in the interests of British capitalism.
Of late years, Canada’s attachment to the great family of British nations has shown signs of waning. Economic ties with the U.S.A., and other factors, have helped to weaken the political and traditional associations with Great Britain. The drift has reflected itself over a number of years in detachment from and even criticism of British foreign policy. The American journal, Nation (March 11th, 1939), points out that, at the time of the Czechoslovakian crisis, whilst the British Government received assurances of military support from other Dominions, Canada never committed itself beyond vaporous expressions of attachment. And so the spell of kingship has been called in to check the drift.
Will it succeed . . . ?
Since Dominion status was conferred upon Canada, a war in which the British Government is involved would not of necessity involve Canada. Consequently, its foreign policy has Desponded the more easily to interests which will out of war. Unlike Australia and New Zealand, whose vulnerable position leads them to seek the protection of the British Navy, Canada’s policy more inclines to march in line with the U.S.A., whose geographical position and enormous resources offset the need for British protection. Hence the flagging enthusiasm for Empire, which George VI’s visit to Canada attempts to revive.
Several factors militate against its success. One, certainly the most important, is the ever-expanding influence of U.S.A. interests in Canada, as the following figures testify.
In December, 1936, the amount of American capital invested in Canada was approximately 4,000 million dollars, as against 2,725 million dollars invested by British capitalists.
The amount of Canadian capital invested in the U.S.A. was approximately 1,000 million dollars, as against 50 million dollars invested in England.
In 1937, exports from Canada to the U.S.A. were 425 million dollars.
In the same year, imports into Canada from the U.S.A. were approximately 400 million dollars, as against approximately 100. million dollars from England.
It is quite clear that the interests of Canadian capitalism are more closely linked with those of the U.S.A. than with those of Great Britain. The recent Anglo-American trade agreement, which was an attempt by the British Government to get U.S.A. sympathy for its difficulties in Europe, gives the U.S.A. still further concessions in the Canadian market. Hard economic realities tend to weaken rather than cement the attachment of Canada to the British Empire.
But what about the traditional ties to the “Mother Country” ? The facts, according to the Nation, are somewhat revealing. Fifty-one per cent. of Canadians only are of British extraction, one-third are French, and the rest are of mixed nationalities from Central Europe. Among those of British extraction the sentiment is fostered that they are Canadian or American rather than British. A sentiment which is hardened by the interchange of ideas, amusements and newspapers with the U.S.A. As for the French-Canadians, they regard the British as their oppressors and tend to sympathise with the enemies of British capitalism. During the last War the Canadian Government had to suspend conscription in Quebec for fear of an outbreak of civil war. During the war in Abyssinia, and in Spain, French-Canadian sympathy was with Italy. Mayor Haude, of Montreal, said recently: “In the event of war between Britain and Italy, the sympathy of the French-Canadians would be with Italy.”
Canada’s attitude to any future conflict in which Great Britain is involved is likely to be governed by her own interests and the policy pursued by the U.S.A. Whilst that policy is likely to be sympathetic to British interests, it is doubtful whether that sympathy will go beyond “moral” support, and of supplying the “democratic” armies with the implements of warfare.
It will take far more than the magic of George VI and his consort to obscure the vision of American and Canadian capitalists from the real explanation of the honour of Royal favour.
Onward, Christian Soldiers!
Bleating Bishops, who are busy persuading their flocks that, in certain circumstances, it is not un-Christian for Christians to kill other Christians with poison-gas and other unpleasant instruments of modern warfare, might consider the following letter, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph (April 29th, 1939): —
“The Lateran Council in 1139 forbade the use of the crossbow ‘as being too murderous a weapon for Christians to employ against one another.’ It would be interesting to know if this is unrepealed !”
A Distinction Without a Difference
A letter to the Daily Express (March 5th, 1939) says: “I should say that about ninety per cent. of the ordinary public are still hazy as to the meanings of the following terms: Conservative, Liberal, Socialist, Labour, Communist, Right, Left, Red.”
To which the Editor replied : “The Conservatives believe in conserving what they consider best in the British Constitution. The Conservatives and the National Liberals support the Government policy of appeasement and Protection. The Opposition Liberals oppose the Government on these points. The Socialists and Communists both believe in national oivnership of the means of production, distribution and exchange; but Communists believe that nationalisation can only be obtained by means of revolution.”
Note that the only difference the Editor of the Express can find in the policies of the Labour Party and the Communist Party is one of method—not of object. They both stand for Nationalisation. If any real difference were implicit or apparent in Communist Party propaganda the Editor of the Daily Express, like others, has been unable to find it.
Another “Democracy” Guaranteed
The Manchester Guardian (May 10th, 1939) publishes the following despatch from its correspondent in Rumania, to which country the British Government recently extended a guarantee:—
“The Premier, M. Calinescu, announced to-day that a national election would be held soon for a new corporative Parliament, modelled on Fascist lines. It will meet on June 7th.”
Comment would be superfluous!
Capitalism is still Thriving
The Daily Telegraph (March 7th, 1939) reproduces figures from the surtax assessments in the reports of the Commissioners of the Inland Revenue, showing the distribution of income in the year ending March, 1938.
The number of millionaires or persons with incomes exceeding £30,000 a year was 917, an increase of 42 over the year before.
Persons with incomes of £2,000 or more numbered 95,750, an increase of 4,358. Their aggregate income totalled £483,739,386, a rise of £27,394,398.
There were 73 persons with incomes between £75,000 and £100,000, compared with 72 the year before; and 80 with incomes exceeding £100,000, as against 83. Incomes of this class amounted to £15,270,207, a decrease of £1,023.
It can be said with some confidence that capitalism will not collapse this year!
“Forward” and the “Daily Express” Advocate “Socialism”!
Forward (March 18th, 1939) protests that the Daily Express has stolen one of the “main items” from the Labour Party’s programme—increased pensions. The Express amplified its arguments in favour of pensions of fifteen shillings a week with a strip picture cartoon, which was reproduced in Forward. The first picture represents a benign Chancellor of the Exchequer handing the Minister of Health a bag of money. The captions over the pictures narrate the following simple story for simple people: —
“If Simon handed 25 millions to Elliott—Elliott could hand an extra five shillings to the old-age pensioner—the old-age pensioner could buy more bread—the baker could buy more flour—the miller could buy more corn—the farmer could buy more machinery—the machine maker could employ more men—the newly hired man could buy a radio set on the H.P. system— radio manufacturers could increase their dividends—shareholders could pay back Simon with their increased dividends.”
Economics for lunatics ! The tax on dividends from the sale of £25,000,000 worth of goods is apparently £25,000,000 according to this argument !
Says Forward: “This is the argument which has been appearing in Forward for a generation and which is the keynote of the Socialist argument for increasing expenditure on old-age pensions, widows’ pensions, increased unemployment allowances and increased wages.”
We will not dispute Forward’s claim that they have used these arguments for a generation, but we categorically deny that they have anything to do with Socialism. They are the arguments of wishy-washy reformers and crassly ignorant economists. Reforms carry minor benefits for the workers, but they cannot affect materially the fundamental character of capitalism—the extremes of wealth and poverty, unemployment and insecurity. If they can, then perhaps Forward will try to explain why, to-day, after generations of reforms, and relatively enormous sums spent on social services, these problems are as intense to-day as ever.
Brailsford and Conscription
In Reynolds (May 21st, 1939), H. N. Brailsford openly advocates conscription. He says, anticipating objection on democratic grounds: —
“The word “compulsion” has in this connection an ugly ring in our ears. Yet we should be indignant if any section of our Movement raised the banner of individualism against compulsory measures for education or health. Is defence less necessary ?
So far from objecting: when the State prescribes an obligation, we ought to welcome this as an arrangement that frees us from torments of conscience over conflicting duties.
This lad may feel that he would serve society better by continuing his studies. Another has a widowed mother.
It is right, it is even merciful, that society, weighing the general need against our personal interests, should prescribe our duties to us.”
That’s where “fighting for democracy” leads “revolutionary left-wingers.” For smugness it takes the cake. In doctrine it is more naked and unashamed than Nazism or the Catholic Church.