50 Years Ago: What a Labour government would do

Speaking of Labour governments, it seems we are to have one before long . . .  as a preliminary we are presented with an outline of what will happen in ‘the England of to-morrow’ which is put forward by Mr. J. H. Thomas MP, a prominent Labour Party official and one of capitalism’s greatest assets. Mr. Thomas tells us all about it in a book which he has published under the highly apprehensive title of “When Labour Rules”.


First of all there would be an hereditary constitutional monarchy with an Upper Chamber: purchase of the liquor trade by the government based on a pre-war value of 350 millions, all profits to be devoted to the lowering of taxation: old age pensions at 60: Nationalisation of mines, railways etc. so as to promote efficiency in various supplies and reducing prices by limiting profits.


“There will be . . . when Labour comes into power, I hope, only one tax — income tax . . . we should not be lavish in our expenditure for a fighting machine. But there would have to be an Army, and Navy, capable of backing our decisions and those would have to be maintained”.


As to finance, a capital levy would be instituted, probably realising 1,000 millions. Industrial questions to be solved by “collective bargaining between the organised workers and the employers’. The fiscal policy will be Free Trade ‘for the sake of the workmen and the sake of peace’. As regards the position of women under Labourism, legislation will be sought to abolish all night work for women in industry. It will be Labour’s object ‘as far as possible to wipe out the necessity for married women to work at all’.


[From an article A Look Round by Tom Sala. Socialist Standard December 1920]