1960s >> 1960 >> no-668-april-1960

Lib-Labs or Lab-Libs

On the “left” of the Labour Party are a bunch of wordy, windy warriors who claim to be “convinced and dedicated Socialists.” They are the “Tribune tribe.”


You would, of course, be justified if you thought that “convinced and dedicated Socialists” meant men and women concerned with explaining to their fellow workers their class position in society. That this system with its class robbery, exploitation of wage-labour, and all that goes with them, gives rise to the predominant problems of today; and that the only solution is a society based on the holding in common, of all the world’s wealth, by all the people of the earth— that is social equality. In one word, Socialism.


But how wrong you would be. For nothing is further from the truth. These windy wights are concerned with everything, but Socialism. Although they claim to be Socialists, their very words and actions give the lie to their claim. Any issue of Tribune will bear this out, but the issue of February 26th is a case in point.


Apart from the current squabble on clause 4 of the Labour Party’s constitution—as if public ownership ever had anything to do with Socialism—one article in particular bears out the statements made above.


This article, by Mr. David Boulton, “who came into politics through the Liberal Party, but has since joined the Labour Party. . .” is in essence a plea for the two parties—Liberal and Labour —to get together. However, in the course of his article he makes some revealing statements which show how non-Socialist he and his party are. The following are two examples:


  The Liberal Party, like Labour, is less a compact body of like-minded political activists than a coalition of a number of different bodies of opinion with a startling deficiency of common denominators. Within its framework are the single-taxers, the extreme laissez-faire school, the unilateral free-traders, the incurable “lost causers” and “I’m-for-the-under- dog”-ers, “conservatism-without-tears,” preachers and the genuine radicals.
The Labour and Liberal Parties each pay lip-service to the idea of redressing, in some way, the absurd ill-balance of national wealth in which the vast bulk of industrial property is held by a tiny proportion of the population.


There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth. Having delivered himself of these home truths, our ex-Liberal cum-Labourite then considers that “Liberal Socialism and social Liberalism”—read Labour and Liberal Parties —have much to learn from each other.


One would have doubted this as they have both been at the game for a long time, but Mr. Boulton is nothing if not naive. He goes on to make the most astonishing statement about the aforesaid parties. He says: “Both work toward a society in which wage slavery will be abolished. . . .”


Where and when Mr. Boulton? We have been in existence for 56 years just for this very purpose, and it is the first time that we have heard that this is what the Labour and Liberal parties stand for.


Jon Keys