The Daily Telegraph



What, then, does Labour stand for? Mr. HENDERSON has set forth its aspiration­s. He has told us what his or Mr. CLYNES’S Government will do when it is in the saddle. It will, in the first place, wage war “against the organisati­on of industry and society called private enterprise, with all its insecurity.” That is the main plank, in associatio­n with a capital levy and a national wage minimum – men being paid such sum as they think they ought to have, rather than such sum as their labour earns, and being paid “maintenanc­e” unless work is provided for them. The speaker made, we need hardly add, the usual reference to the Utopia which will come to birth as soon as these varied-hued Socialists are installed in office. Everyone is to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise,” and no one is to work overmuch. “In short, Labour aims at raising the standard of life of the masses, of the producers by hand or by brain – by better houses, better living, better schooling”; and it will seek “financial reform on the principle of ability to pay.”

The last object means, presumably, something higher than an income-tax of 5s and a supertax of 6s in the pound, so far as payments to the National Exchequer are concerned. And then, of course, as the speeches of the Socialists who are wooing the municipali­ties in anticipati­on of the elections on Nov. 1 point out, the same principle is to be applied locally. Taxes and rates are to be higher when Labour rules. We are spending £265,774,000 annually on social services – on the least fortunate of the community. That compares with £55,112,000 only eleven years ago: but under Labour rule we are to spend more, far more.

The carrying out of this programme of Socialism – moderate though Mr. HENDERSON and his friends may think it – will be equivalent to a revolution. Let full credit be given to its champions. They will effect it if they can, and if the rank and file permit them to work as. they desire, by constituti­onal means; but it will be a revolution – bloodless at the best, and at the worst ruinous to all that this country has achieved as “the workshop of the world.” In one of Sir JAMES BARRIE’S whimsical plays the schoolmist­ress, losing patience with one of her little pupils, who will not realise the importance of “keeping his chest out,” writes on that part of his anatomy a big letter “C” as a reminder. We sometimes wish that some such method could be adopted in the case of our Labour leaders to remind them of the truth that we live mainly by conducting foreign trade and rendering foreign services of one kind and another. The captains of industry and commerce have to recognise this factor, or they would go into the bankruptcy court. They are trying might and main just now to get the economic machine working again as it worked in the past, providing a livelihood for more people than this country could support if it were in the condition of economic isolation which Mr. HENDERSON and his “moderate” friends would create.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom