1990s >> 1999 >> no-1137-may-1999

50 Years Ago: Mr. Attlee on Working and Shirking

Although the booklet “National Income and Expenditure” is published by Mr. Attlee’s government, it would seem that he has not read it. Under the heading “Income from Property” it shows that in 1948 the amount of income that went to receivers of rent, dividends and interest (before deduction of tax) was £1,479,000,000: in spite of which Mr. Attlee in a speech at Glasgow on April 10th referred to the receivers of property income in the past tense, as if they have ceased to exist. The following extract is from a report of his speech published by the Manchester Guardian (11/4/49):

“I stress . . . the duty of the citizen of the State as much as his rights. Everyone who fails to contribute his fair share is as much a parasite as those who used to live on the backs of the people scrounging on his mates. If a section of the workers make use of a key position to do little work and extract disproportionate wages they are just as much exploiters as the property-owners who used to hold the nation to ransom. They are acting anti-socially.”

This is a foretaste of what will be said by the Labour Ministers when eventually their attempt to improve capitalism collapses. They will blame it all on the workers.

(From Socialist Standard, May 1949)

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