1960s >> 1968 >> no-766-june-1968

Party News: Better late than never

In the 1966 General Election one of the Socialist Party of Great Britain candidates stood at Hampstead. The sitting Tory, former Home Secretary Henry Brooke, was also opposed by Ben Whitaker for Labour and a Liberal. We organised for the evening of Sunday 27 March a meeting to which we invited the other candidates to take up the Socialist challenge. None did, explaining either that they had a prior engagement or that they never campaigned on Sunday. Whitaker, however, (who presumably felt he had most to lose by the opposition of a Socialist candidate — he was mistaken, mind you, because Socialists do not vole Labour when there is no Socialist candidate) did send a representative. She was Constance Lever, a regular contributor to the journals International Socialism and Labour Worker. She said that she agreed with our banners around the platform–“Production For Use”, “Workers of the World. Unite” and “Abolition of the Wages System”—but went on to say that nevertheless workers ought to vote for Labour, not the Socialist, candidate. Whitaker, in fact, defeated Brooke and is now the MP for Hampstead. We recently heard that Constance Lever has left the Labour Party. We trust she is sorry for the part she played in helping Labour to power.

Labour Worker, by the way, is changing its name to “Socialist Worker”. They explain: “It is a measure of the complete capitulation of the Labour government to the demands of the bankers and bosses that the paper has to change its name to avoid any possible confusion with the Wilson anti-working-class administration”. We would say rather that it is a measure of complete opportunism to start a paper with “Labour” in the name when the Labour Party is popular and to change it when the Labour Party becomes unpopular.