Editorial: The Ungrateful workers

Hannen Swaffer writing in the People (8/12/56) tells us that, following the Suez action, we are all in “for long years of hardship.” This isn’t quite true as Mr. Swaffer should know. The rich will still do well as always, and the poor will go on enduring the hardship they have always had. But the interesting point about Swaffer’s article is his attack on the ungrateful workers who don’t properly appreciate what the Labour Party has done for them.

“Gaitskell, Bevan, Wilson, and the rest know that our standard of life must get infinitely worse, and that, by a stupid paradox, the masses of the workers always tolerate more hardship imposed by the Tories than they will from their own side—from whom they always expect too much. In opposition, Labour can soften the economic blows upon the poor. In power, it is expected not only to avert hardship, but should almost usher in a new millenium. Democracy, ungrateful and dissatisfied, is a hard taskmaster.”

Really Mr. Swaffer! Who is responsible for the workers believing that Labour governments meant “anew millenium?” Nobody but Gaitskell, Bevan, Wilson and Co. If, as is the literal truth, these gentlemen never intended to do anything more than keep the poor poor but “soften” their hardships, why did they not disclose this in their vote-catching electioneering?

Apparently the idea is that the workers are right to be dissatisfied up to the point of electing a Labour Government but should then stop being dissatisfied and should accept such Labour Government policies as “wage restraint ” with a rising cost of living, without complaint.

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