50 Years Ago: The Liberal Argument

In the event of an early General Election brought about by the Lords rejecting the Finance Bill, this must be the immediate subject of the appeal to the country. To this will be added, according to the apostles of the “Newest Liberalism,” the abolition of the Lord’s veto. The Liberals in such a case are confident of success, apparently sure that the enthusiasm for the Budget exists in sufficient force and depth to carry with it the greater constitutional question. But, without the Lords, what will the Liberal Party do for an excuse for their own procrastination in the matter of reform? Up to now the standing argument has been that the Lords blocked the way . . .

To conduct their present campaign the George-cum-Churchill combination has been arguing against the landed interest that the land, rendered useful and valuable by social occupation, should not be exclusively enjoyed by a class of monopolists, but should contribute to the upkeep of the State. These great parliamentary debaters. . . . must know that they are forging a double-edged weapon which must inevitably be turned against them when the working class, to whom the appeal is particularly directed, recognise that capital likewise owes its quality as a means of production to social activities, and is no less monopolized than the land itself. The income derived from an investment in industrial stock is no more defensible on those lines than is the income from an investment in land.

From the Socialist Standard November 1909