Truth will out!

It must be well over twenty years since the Conservative press took to talking about the “Socialist party’’ and “Socialist members” instead of using the more accurate name Labour. The term “Socialist” was no doubt fostered to give me impression of a party of doctrinaire fanatics. The rose by some other name might smell less sweet. The oddity is that it should have persisted for so long, for it seems rarely to have upset Labour supporters any more than the term “Tory” upsets the Conservatives.

Now the first crack in the armour has appeared. Close readers of the Daily Telegraph will have noticed that in the last few days the term “Labour” has been substituted for “Socialist,” and that is how the party is to be named in future reports. Perhaps the Daily Telegraph feels that on our sunlit Conservative upland the term “Labour” brings to mind cloth caps and smoky chimneys and will repel voters (and readers) even more than “Socialist.” Or maybe it is yet another sign that the Labour Party has become respectable. It will be interesting to see whether other “Tory” newspapers follow, the lead.

Manchester Guardian, 6th July. 1959.

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