50 Years Ago: Railway shareholders support nationalisation

Mr William Whitelaw, Chairman of the London & North Eastern Railway, wants the railways nationalised. He stated this in an interview reported in the News-Chronicle (December 29th, 1937). He thinks that it would eliminate competition, reduce costs, and be good for the shareholders. He says that if fair terms were offered there would be no opposition from the people with money invested in railway companies, and adds: “As a large stockholder myself 1 should have no hesitation whatever in taking Government stock instead of company stock.”

In view of the fact that several classes of railway stocks have paid little or no dividend for years, and future prospects for many other classes look none too bright, the idea of State purchase will perhaps commend itself to those who own the railways. But what of the workers? What have they to gain? — in spite of the Daily Herald’s joy that Mr Whitelaw had been “compelled by the logic of events to accept the full policy that the Labour Party has advocated for 15 years and more.” (Daily Herald, January 6th. 1938.)

Labour Party schemes for State ownership perpetuate the parasitism of a propertied class living by owning. Until that has been got rid of the working class will continue to be barred from the big improvement in the standard of living which Socialism will make possible.

[From an article ” ‘Socialism’ to Please the Railway Shareholders” Socialist Standard February 1938.]