50 Years Ago: The Labour Party Conference
The Labourites went to Scarborough this year, but having arrived, they had nowhere else to go. Why should they? Apparently Labourites have not yet grasped the fact that after the 1945 term of office they had no claim to be considered in the eyes of the voters as an alternative government. In 1945 they went in on a wave of post-war enthusiasm. They put into effect what was for Capitalism a necessary reorganisation of certain sectors of British industry via nationalisation. They initiated the necessary policies for restoring the debilitated condition of the post-war economy and bringing the social services in line with the requirements of Capitalism.
What else was left in their political ragbag? Only dull odd remnants which did not show up so well with the more brightly coloured Tory jumble sale, and now to vary the metaphor the Labour Party’s only appeal to the voters: “Play the game, you chaps, you’ve put the other side in twice, let us have a turn at batting.”
Nationalisation, which was once the great plank of the Labour Party, is now a heap of sawdust and shavings which was quietly swept up. Even the 50 odd year Labour project, land nationalisation was rejected. Nationalisation, which once helped to float S.S. “Labour,” is now in danger of sinking it. Nationalisation rouses no enthusiasm among electors and is a source of disillusionment to the Labour rank and file.
(From article by E.W., Socialist Standard, November 1958)