50 Years Ago: The True Ramsay MacDonald

From these disgruntled people we have now learned the most surprising things. If they are to he believed they knew all along that MacDonald was childishly ignorant and credulous, extremely vain, a word-spinner to the point of incoherence, unduly fond of the company and flattery of the Peerage, a mere tool of big business and the bankers, obstinate yet easily turned from his path by hints from his political opponents, arrogant and unapproachable, always indifferent to the hardships of the workers, always dishonest in his political enthusiasms, a worshipper of applause and a seeker for limelight, and altogether a most unattractive, uninformed and useless person. If these things are true how comes it that the whole band, from Maxton to Henderson, and from Bevin to Clynes, went on year in and year out following MacDonald, re-electing him leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, praising him extravagantly and vowing that never before was there a man so deserving of trust and confidence? How did the stupid and incompetent MacDonald so easily bamboozle all these clever fellows? They say that they always saw through him, yet he apparently, twisted them round his little finger? What were they? Innocent victims or criminal fellow’ conspirators? Did MacDonald take them in — in which case they are plainly unfitted for the hurly-burly of politics — or were they consciously helping MacDonald to take the workers in?

(From an editorial “Tales told by the Lady’s Maid”, Socialist Standard, September 1933.)