50 Years Ago: Liberals and Socialism

Dr. Macnamara, in a strong speech, declared that Radicalism was irrevocably opposed to the principles on which Socialism was based.  — Daily Chronicle (21.10.1909)

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“The people are beginning to discover that Socialism and social reform are two entirely different things. In this respect I adopt entirely the definition of the two things given by Mr. Balfour in Birmingham in 1907: –

  Socialism has one meaning and one meaning only. Socialism means, and can mean, nothing less, that the community is to take all the means of production into its own hands, and that private enterprise and private property is to come to an end. That is Socialism and nothing else is Socialism.
Social Reform is when the State, based on private enterprise and based on private property—recognises that the result can only be obtained by respecting private property and encouraging private enterprise, asks men to contribute towards great national, social and public objects. That is social reform.

I contend that our proposals [the Liberal Government’s Budget, 1909] fall under the latter description and not under the former.”—Mr. Alexander Ure, the Lord Advocate, quoted in Daily Chronicle (1.10.1909).

(From the December 1909 issue of the Socialist Standard.)