50 Years Ago: The Grim Liberal Record

It is 40 years since a Liberal headed a government, but as the opposition or as ministers in coalition governments they were always to be found backing up the employers and the government against the workers, and providing legalistic arguments and formulas to justify capitalist exploitation and repression. Liberals were in the MacDonald National Government which in the nineteen ‘thirties actually did reduce the pay of teachers and civil servants without any sort of agreement on their part; just as Liberals had six years earlier helped to defeat the miners in the General Strike. And it was the Liberal Lloyd-George whose Geddes Committee in 1922 recommended saving money by larger classes, reducing teachers’ pay, cutting down civil service staffs and giving postmen cheaper uniforms.

In their History of Trade Unionism, Sidney and Beatrice Webb told how the workers were tricked by the Liberal, Lloyd-George, during and after the first world war, and by the Asquith Government before the war. (…)

No wonder Mr. Grimond does not want to claim continuity with the “great statesmen” of the Liberal Party’s heyday. Perhaps a future Liberal Government would be less crude and more astute in its handling of strikes, but essentially nothing has changed and, like any other government committed to the maintenance of capitalism, a Grimond administration will be identical with Asquith and Lloyd-George in putting first the protection of capitalist property and profits.  

(From article by H, Socialist Standard, May 1962)

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