socialism and appeasement
UK socialist appeasement policy
|UK socialist appeasement policy is one of a number of documents analysing dysfunctional social, or group,
behaviour in modern society.
Here, abelard examines and illustrates the words and actions of Socialists in the United Kingdom during the periods of the 1930s and after.
|For more on socialism and sociology :
|sociology - the structure of analysing belief systems|
The Fabians hoped to achieve the Socialist utopia by stealth - death by a thousand cuts. The leadership of the Labour Party, to this day, are almost all members of the Fabian Society. The objectives remain the same, only the tactics differ.
This page is to document the constant drive of the British Labour Party for a centralised Socialist state and for disarmament and appeasement. This drive for the Socialist state can be traced from the document included here and earlier, right through Attlee’s post-war 1945 government, onto ‘the longest suicide note in history’.
No sane modern person understanding socialism, let alone having the experience of the destruction and chaos that socialism has generated during the last century, would ever vote for a socialist government.
Therefore, socialist politicians have learnt to wrap “the message” in ever more layers of deceit and obfuscation as they seek the power to put their irrationalist schemes into practice. Hence the cheesy grins and vacuous words of the front men like Barak Obama and Tony Blair.
Here follows a Socialist/Labour Party pamphlet from the days before they exercised such caution. The pamphlet was produced in concert with other extreme Leftist groups, including the British Communist Party.
In 1940, with the benefit of hindsight, Michael Foot produced a ‘book’ titled The Guilty Men, trying to claim that the lack of preparedness of the British government for the ambitions of Germany, Italy and Japan were the fault of the Conservative Party. This propagandising tract sold in the hundreds of thousands to people who should have known better.
As you see from the pamphlet and other sections, the Labour Party was as busy in the 1930s, right up to the eve of the war, trying to disarm Britain just as they were in the 1960s with their Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), a thread that continues to this day.
Michael Foot was a rising member of the Labour Party when the document following was produced.
21 April 1936.
The ‘policy’ of Labour was strongly against a British Defence Force. Their preference was for ‘contributing’ to a League of Nations force. That is what Attlee is whingeing about above, and the sanctions in the case of Abyssinia (Mussolini’s macho adventure towards a new Roman empire). Realpolitik at this time was to keep Italy detached from Germany, not to encourage him to turn on Britain. Of course, he eventually did do this.
Meanwhile, the Left were posturing for sanctions on Mussolini, but with no enthusiasm for sanctions that would actually deter - for instance, oil sanctions or naval confrontation in the Mediterranean. Thus, the Left posturing amounted to alienate Italy while doing nothing effective to stop them.
From The Times, 23rd April 1936, p.16
30th January 1933: Adolf Hitler seized control of Germany.
13 November 1933: A vote of censure is made in the British parliament, supported by 49 Labour and 6 Sinclair Liberals, including Attlee and Bevan
By this time, Ernest Bevin and Hugh Dalton were starting speak against Labour’s appeasement line.
The Labour Party again voted against rearmament estimates in 1937.
By late 1937, less than two years before war broke out, the power in the Labour Party was beginning to shift against the extreme left and appeasers (for example constituency parties) towards the realists like Hugh Dalton and Ernest Bevin. The British public were also turning against appeasement, and the Labour hierarchy decided that if they did not change their policy, they would be crushed if an election came - see, for instance, p.241 of Hugh Dalton.
Strangely, much of the pressure for this came from the union bosses who, by this time, already owned the Labour Party and who welcomed the prospects of work in the armaments industry. This coming from the party that continually claims that it is the rich capitalists who are 'warmongers' seeking profits!
A common theme of the Left in the pursuit of disarmament was the suggestion that unions go on strike to sabotage arms production!.
How others saw Cripps:
27 April 1939, Labour and Liberal MPs divided again against a motion approving the introduction of conscription.
Hitler had announced conscription on 16 March 1935, contrary to the Versailles Treaty.
Even in 1939 (27th April) we find Attlee, the Labour Party and the Liberals opposing conscription.
Attlee proposed the following wrecking amendment to an act for compulsory military training (conscription)
During the passage through parliament of the Compulsory Military Training Act (conscription), early May 1939
From the speeches of Socialist MPs:
The House divided: Ayes, 380; Noes, 143 in favour of the government Compulsory Military Training Act.
And just to indicate that Socialists don't tend to learn, here is Clement Attlee at his Party Conference at Scarborough in 1954, once again calling for the rearmament of Germany.
The Party then voted in favour of this move. The Left voted against this motion due to their long-term affection for Socialist, Soviet Russia and their negativism toward the United States of America.
Fortunately, the Germans voted against rearmament.
The Labour Party’s
Transport House, Smith Square, S.W.1
[p.3] IN the following pages the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party has set out a comprehensive and concise statement of policy.
Proposed amendments to its provisions should reach the Head Office of the Party by August 20, in order to allow sufficient time for their issue to Societies and for delegates to receive instructions upon them.
FOR SOCIALISM AND PEACE
LABOUR'S PROGRAMME OF ACTION:
[p.5] FOR SOCIALISM AND PEACE
LABOUR AND PEACE 
The Labour Party recognises the necessity for driving home the meaning of our international obligations into the public consciousness by national legislation. Foreign policy must become fully democratic, the concern of every good citizen, which he feels as intimately affecting his civil rights, his duties to the State, and his conception of patriotism. For ultimately, the issues dealt with by foreign policy are the awful issues of life and death, of the destruction or re-birth of our civilisation.
The most important national legislative measure contemplated by Labour's foreign policy is the Peace Act of Parliament, which would put on the Statute Book our national interpretation of our obligations under the collective peace system, and thereby show to our own people and to the world how seriously we take these obligations and just what we understand them to mean.
The Peace Act would bind the Government to submit any dispute with another State to some form of pacific procedure, and not to resort to force as an instrument of national policy; and to report at once to the League and to comply with the League's injunctions on the basis of reciprocity, in case of having to use force in self-defence, The Act would also empower the Government to apply any economic and financial measures necessary to take its share in collective action.
Finally, the Labour Party recognises that making a reality of the collective peace system implies profound changes in our views of the duties of citizenship and the nature of patriotism. We are world citizens as well as national citizens, because of our country's membership of a world community bound by common treaty obligations-the rudimentary constitution of a World Commonwealth of Nations. And as world and national citizens, it is our duty as individuals to insist that the British Government shall carry out its international obligations, and to accept our responsibilities. In particular, we must:
This, then, is Labour's foreign policy. It is a clear-cut, challenging and comprehensive peace policy. It has been worked out consistently with reference on the one hand to the existing collective system as its basis, and on the other to the final Socialist objective-the establishment of a Co-operative World Commonwealth of Nations.
The Labour Party has abjured once for all the old, negative, competitive backward-looking idea of the Balance of Power. That idea is based on the pre-War assumptions of unqualified national sovereignty and the continuance of war as an institution, and implies that mankind can never rise above the present stage of political organisation. It is a profoundly pessimistic doctrine, the product of a decaying social order that has given up hope of saving civilisation,
The Labour Party knows that the road which leads to enduring peace is hard. Ancient and fanatically-cherished traditions must be broken, powerful vested interests must be vanquished. In the grim enterprise of mastering the blind forces that drive unwilling peoples into war, nothing short of a mass movement will suffice, a movement made formidable by the power of a burning faith. To our opponents peace is mainly a pious hope. To Socialists it calls for a crusade. We believe that the Labour Party alone is capable of raising and leading a great mass movement against war. For war is an integral and organic part of the old order. To have peace we must build a new type of civilisation.
The electors are entitled to know what the establishment of Socialism means in terms of concrete domestic measures. They have been so continuously deafened by the vituperation of Press and politician, that only a detailed knowledge of what they are asked to vote for will enable them to resist the clamour of hostile propaganda. The Labour Party warns them, in the light of past experience, that deliberate misrepresentation will be employed by its opponents. They will be told that a Labour victory means financial ruin, as was suggested by the "Savings Bank lie" of 1931; or there may be, as in 1924, some last-moment "Red Letter" scare to induce that panic temper by which reaction always profits.
The Labour Party asks the electors to scrutinise its proposals calmly now and to judge them rationally.
The next Labour Government will have a twofold national task. It must embark on great fundamental measures of economic reconstruction; and, at the same time, it must build up many forms of social provision, rendered special urgent by the failure of the present system; The two aims are inseparable, and a Labour Government would energetically seek to make them complementary. The whole basis, however, must be the recognition that what the nation now requires is not mere social reform, but Socialism. That is the end for which Labour asks the mandate of the electors.
What is the nation's position in the economic and industrial sphere? The unemployed remain at the intolerable figure of over 2,000,000; wages in all the basic industries remain depressingly low; the shrinkage of the export trades has been alarming. These conditions prevail at a time when scientific discovery has made our power to produce greater than at any period in the history of the world. Literally, as has been so often insisted by Labour, and is now widely recognised, we starve in the midst of a potential plenty, just as we drift to war in a world longing for peace. In this tragic situation, Capitalism has little answer save the withholding of supplies and the increase of prices; and it accompanies this fatal policy by a steady and relentless pressure on the level of wages. Neither competition nor private monopoly has proved able to rescue the nation from its sorry plight. The one sane alternative which is left is a policy of full and rapid Socialist planning.
Key Industries and Services 
Economic reorganisation and control will take many forms;but the public ownership and control of the primary industries and services is an essential foundation step, and on no other terms, as their previous history and present situation make manifest, can these industries and services be freed from the fatal restrictions placed upon them by vested interests and chaotic conditions. The method of approach in any particular case will, of course, depend on the nature of the industry concerned.
Banking and credit, transport, electricity, water, iron and steel, coal, gas, agriculture, textiles, shipping, shipbuilding, engineering-in all these the time has come for drastic reorganisation, and for the most part nothing short of immediate public ownership and control will be effective.
Public ownership will give rise to problems relating to conditions of service, and appropriate provision must be made to safeguard the interests of the employees. It may also be found desirable to extend the wages-machinery already existent in an industry. On these, and kindred matters, the Labour Party would proceed after the fullest consultation with the appropriate Trade Unions, whose status and agreements would be safeguarded under the statute creating the national service. The Labour Party also believes that the employees in a socialised industry have a right, which should be acknowledged by law, to an effective share in the control and direction of the industry.
The public acquisition of industries and services will involve the payment of fair compensation to existing owners; but thereafter such owners should have no further part of any kind in the control or management or policy or finances of the publicly-owned concern. The basis of compensation proposed in the case of transport is "net reasonable maintainable revenue," and a corresponding basis is proposed for other industries and services which come under public ownership.
[p13] The task of organising the public ownership and control of fundamental industries is no easy one; and the adequate regulation of those which remain in private hands will also create serious problems, The Labour Party does not minimise the difficulties. Much will depend on the actual economic situation when it acquires power.
There has been a phenomenal increase in modem productive capacity; and to release it for the common good must be the primary objective of any rationally- organised society. The relation of this release to the public ownership of fundamental productive instruments has already been emphasised. Upon that basis the advantages to be derived from improved technique become available to the community as a whole. Reorganisation, from the point of view of productive efficiency, must aim at six objectives:
To attain these ends, it will be necessary for a Labour Government to secure from Parliament the necessary powers to enforce reorganisation upon industries which have so far shown themselves recalcitrant to the demands the community makes upon them, whilst it is engaged at the same time, according to its priority plan, in bringing primary industries under public ownership. Only as industries are reorganised can their increased productive capacity secure the higher wages, the shorter hours of labour and the economic security which ought to be the logical outcome of scientific progress. While the Labour Party recognises that the full advantages of reorganisation cannot be secured until a Socialist-planned system is in active operation, it believes that measures of rapid amelioration are possible even now, if the capacity for production is released and co-ordinated and the interests of the private profiteer subordinated to the common welfare.
Banking and Credit 
The pivot of any economic and social system lies in the control of its currency, its banking institutions, and its methods of investment. For so long as these remain predominantly in private hands, any attempt to raise the general standard of life is in danger of frustration. To leave them so is to leave them the servant of private interests. If, therefore, they are to serve the community as a whole, their public ownership and control is fundamental.
The Labour Party believes that, in view of the breakdown of the gold standard, the aim of British monetary policy should be to stabilise wholesale prices at a suitable level in this country, to seek by international agreement the largest practicable measure of stability in the rates of foreign exchange, and to safeguard the community against such exploitation as has been inflicted on it in recent years by speculators and manipulators.
[p14] To carry out this policy, to undertake effectively the planned development of the national resources, and to transfer to the nation the enormous powers now wielded primarily by the private owners of the finance machine, it is necessary to bring the Bank of England and the Joint Stock Banks under public ownership and to exercise control over investment.
At the centre of the financial system stands the Bank of England, the arbiter of national financial policy. It is proposed that the Bank be brought under public ownership and control. The Governor of the Bank should be appointed by the Government and be responsible to a Minister of Cabinet rank, who would in turn be responsible to the House of Commons for banking and credit policy, the day-to-day business of the Bank being carried on by the Governor and his staff. .
Likewise, the tremendously powerful Joint Stock Banks would be brought under public ownership and control. In this case it is proposed that they should be amalgamated into a single Banking Corporation and run by a small directorate appointed by the Government on grounds of ability. The Government would indicate the general lines of banking policy and would require the Corporation to co-operate with the publicly-owned Bank of England and a National Investment Board.
No policy of economic reconstruction can succeed unless there is effective control of new capital issues. That control is, indeed, the very essence of a planned economy since it secures the direction of capital into the activities central to the main purposes of a planned economy. It is in order to substitute planning for the present anarchy that the Labour Party proposes to set up a National Investment Board.
The Board would be' appointed by the Government on grounds of ability, and would be assisted by a permanent staff of economists and statisticians. The Board would act as an instrument of the Government engaged in operating national planning, but enjoying flexibility and discretion within that plan for the efficient performance of its functions. It would organise and co-ordinate the mobilisation and allocation of that part of the national wealth which is available for capital investment. It would prepare annual estimates of the national income, showing what new money was likely to be available for investment. It would consider all schemes of capital expenditure proposed by Government Departments, Local Authorities, other public bodies, and industries either socialised directly or operating under public control. It would be able to recommend to the Government a comprehensive scheme of national investment.
That such control is possible is shown by the experience of the War; and the Labour Party takes the view that the position of industry to-day represents a similar emergency. '
It is impossible here to deal in detail with the working of these new institutions. Suffice it to say that the depositors on the one hand, and industry on the other, will be far more completely safeguarded under a scheme which is built on a systematic response to public need than one which, as the disastrous history of the present crisis has shown, is wholly chaotic in its methods.
No one who examines the transport situation can fail to see the urgency of co-ordination.
The position of the railways is: well known. Heavily over-capitalised, un-necessarily competitive (despite recent pooling arrangements), unimaginatively managed (as their attitude to road transport has made clear), governed by unwieldy directorates, they have not only failed to meet new conditions, but are in a thoroughly bad financial position.
Without national regulation of road transport there is bound, from the very growth of vehicles, to be chaos. Some order has been introduced into road passenger motor transport by the Road Traffic Act of 1930, passed by the second Labour Government; but problems of consolidation remain to be faced. The Road and Rail Traffic Act of 1933 does not touch the fundamental problems of goods motor transport by road.
Canals and inland waterways are smaller and more manageable, But, even here, the improvements and amalgamations which are necessary are obstructed by vested interests. Harbours and docks are in a relatively better case; but the change in our fiscal policy has affected the whole problem of docks re-organisation and development. Many of the smaller ports are falling into decay, and competition between the great ports is resulting in serious waste through lack of co-ordination. Coastwise shipping is also in need of reorganisation; and its proper co-ordination with ports and land transport is as imperative as it is impossible without unified control. Moreover, there looms up increasingly the future of air transport. When all these elements are considered, it becomes clear that no co-ordination can be either effective or scientific unless there is unification of ownership; and only the nation is in a position to effect an operation of this magnitude.
The Labour Party therefore proposes to set up a National Transport Board which, subject to general Ministerial control, would be broadly responsible for the efficient planning and management of the national transport system. Immediate public ownership of every section of transport is impracticable, but the Statute creating the Board should provide for taking over the railways and certain other major services forthwith, and for taking over the rest as and when found convenient. The Board will be responsible for publicly-owned transport; and in the meantime the remainder will be subject to such terms of regulation and license as seem most likely to secure an effective co-ordination of the whole system.
The enabling statute would set out the general principles of direction and confer upon the Board defined responsibilities; and it would be the duty of the Minister of Transport to satisfy himself of the Board's efficient operation in terms of those general principles. But, otherwise, it is proposed that the Board should work on its own initiative, though it would be subject to criticism and discussion in the House of Commons. It is also proposed to create a Consultative Committee in which organised Labour, users of transport, and Local Government Authorities, should sit to discuss with the Board the effect of its policies upon their various interests; and it will probably be necessary to create a quasi-judicial tribunal to settle on appeal matters concerning prices, charges and transport facilities.
Electricity Supply Industry 
Electricity, to take another key industry, is particularly ripe for public ownership. A start has been made with comprehensive planning under the Central Electricity Board. The scheme includes the concentration of electricity generation in a limited number of selected "stations" which, although remaining in municipal or company ownership, are operated under the control of the Board. The Board purchases the output of the,se stations and sells it to authorised distributors; the stations feeding the main transmission system known as the "grid," which is owned by the Board' and from which supplies are provided in bulk to distributors.
The generation side of the industry is not wholly satisfactory even under these conditions, and private generating plants, which account possibly for a third of all electricity generated, are not subject to control.
The unco-ordinated nature of distribution is much worse. With over 600 distribution undertakings, good, bad and indifferent, it is impossible to secure a reasonable uniformity of charges, or the necessary development of difficult areas, ora real pushing sales policy, or an efficient service organisation. Both the character and policy of the distributors vary enormously.
Unification of ownership is urgent and vital if the industry as a whole is to play its proper part in the national economy, The Labour Party proposes, therefore,that a National Electricity Board should be established, to which .would be transferred all the authorised undertakings for generation and distribution, the national grid, railway and traction generation, and certain non-statutory undertakings. Privately-owned generating plant would be taken over as and when desired. The composition of the Board and the general organisational arrangements would be on the lines of the proposals for transport:
Every inquiry: into the coal industry since the War has condemned the present system. Prevailing methods of production and distribution are wasteful; ,the lukewarm attitude taken to the scientific treatment of coal and the production of by-products is a national economic danger. Attempts at reorganisation by consent have either. broken down or made little progress. The result has to be paid for not only by the miners, but by every .coal-user, whether industrial or individual. .
The Labour Party therefore insists that unification under public ownership is the one effective method by which the industry, including the treatment of coal, can be rescued from the chaos of inefficiency. There are various problems of demarcation and decentralised administration and marketing; but always there must be central direction of general policy under public ownership. Every branch of the industry must be reorganised and full advantage taken of scientific discoveries in relation to the treatment and use of coal. .
Repeatedly has the Trades Union Congress and the Labour Party, in agreement .with the Mineworkers' Federation of Great Britain, urged this policy-before the Sankey Commission and the Samuel Commission, and in published form. The nation simply cannot afford to allow this great key industry, on which so many other industries depend, to continue in multiple and inefficient ownership. Than the miners, no body of workers has suffered more from the ineptitude of employers; and only a comprehensively reorganised industry, planned on national lines, can effectively serve both the miners and the community as a whole.
The reorganisation of the iron and steel industry raises somewhat different problems, but of the necessity for such reorganisation, as even the present Government admits, there is no doubt. It is proposed that a British Iron and Steel Corporation should be appointed by the President of the Board of trade to take over all undertakings manufacturing iron and steel products, from pig iron to finished goods.
It is contemplated that for each of the large divisions of the industry a sectional Board would be established, which would be solely responsible for the production of its particular class of goods, subject to the general policy determined by the national Corporation. Marketing would be undertaken by the sectional Boards, in conjunction with the Corporation.
The Land 
The Labour Party regards the proper utilisation of the land as an integral part of national planning. This question extends far beyond the reorganisation of agriculture-profoundly important though that is-and involves problems relating to the best grouping of communities with reference to economic needs and opportunities and the provision of transport, social services and amenities; the preservation of natural beauty; the provision of national parks and facilities for recreation; and, indeed, a whole range of problems affecting the efficiency of the nation, the conservation of our resources and the well-being of the people.
For all these purposes, and particularly for the restoration of agriculture, only a unified ownership of the land can provide a satisfactory basis for effective and bold action. Such unification, under public ownership, would be carried out by means of a General Enabling Act giving the State 'power to acquire any land, rural or urban, at any time after the passing of the Act, and laying down the basis of compensation .
The case for the national reorganisation of agriculture is overwhelming. The depressed condition of the industry; its failure to provide either a decent living or reasonable conditions of life for the wage-earners it employs; . the continued depopulation of the countryside; the inability of the private land-lord system either to supply the necessary capital or to maintain a good standard of husbandry-these are outstanding defects of the present position. Grave difficulties have arisen from the burden cast upon owner-occupiers who cannot provide the capital necessary to carry on efficiently. Land is often waterlogged; water supplies frequently insufficient; soils deteriorate; farms are only too often of an unsuitable size; there is widespread under-farming and much out-of-date technique of cultivation. Moreover, as is well-known, the marketing side, from the treatment of products to retail selling, is inadequate at every turn.
Only by unified public ownership of the land would the State be in a position to plan a fully co-ordinated. agricultural policy; and it is therefore necessary that, as rapidly as is administratively possible, ail agricultural land should be transferred to the nation.
[p18] It is proposed to set up a National Agricultural Commission, under the Minister of Agriculture, whose members would be appointed for their knowledge of administration, finance, marketing etc., and would include representatives of the farmers and farm-workers and of consumers, including the Co-operative Movement.
On the monetary side, Labour would use its control over finance to secure a reasonable stability in the price level. In addition, it would be the task of the Commodity Boards, under the general supervision of the National Commission, to arrange suitable contracts with producers from time to time, requiring a sufficient and regular supply, and giving in return a price either definitely fixed for a period,or varying within certain defined limits. Herein is a security to the farmer which is fundamental to his operations.
Whatever the complexities of detail, a scheme for stabilised prices presents no impossible difficulties where the home producer has a monopoly. Where there are competing imports, a different position arises; and the Labour Party accepts the principle of regulating imports, where necessary for this purpose, through Import Boards. Where the production of a commodity is efficient, both in quality and organisation, it should be defended against price fluctuations. The proper planning of imports is not only an inescapable part of the national planning of agriculture; it is also essential to any international planning which aims at the proper distribution of world-supplies and the stabilisation of world-prices. The method of control will naturally vary with the type of commodity involved, the main factors of decision in each case being administrative practicability and the protection of the consumer against exploitation.
Moreover, it is imperative to make provision for a reasonable standard of life for the farm-worker. The present scandalous position is well known; and it is only too often accompanied by the deprivation of elementary civic freedom. The Labour Party proposes to revise the present wage-machinery so that the [p19] final word would rest with the National Wages Board and that, in view of the present gravely low rates, provision should specifically be made for a progressive increase of wages over a period of years. It proposes, further, to bring the farm-worker under the Unemployment Insurance scheme, which the Ministry of Labour has shown to be administratively practicable. It would abolish the tied cottage as incompatible with personal freedom; and, after a given date, every farm-worker in a tied cottage would be regarded as a tenant under the Rent Restrictions Acts, and the employer would not be entitled to possession until suitable alternative accommodation had been provided. It will be necessary, further, rapidly to stimulate the provision of new rural houses, and to plan their development alongside the provision of those social amenities-playing fields, village halls, allotment gardens, etc.--which are so woefully lacking under the present system.
The Labour Party realises that much of this evolution will be made possible by the transfer of the land to public ownership. The present failure is bound up with the very nature of the existing rural order. In setting the land free, the high road to freedom would be open to the farm-worker. He would be protected from the intimidation of which he is now so widely the victim. It is only on this basis that agricultural Trade Unions will advance upon the necessary scale and that the farm-worker will be able to take his due place in the effective governance of local life.
Water Supply 
In a similar way there is urgent need for the comprehensive planning of water supply. Labour proposes that the utilisation of water resources should be controlled by a National Water Commission, and that local water supply should be undertaken by executive Regional Water Boards functioning over wide areas.
The drought of 1933-34 has served to draw attention once more to the present unsatisfactory situation. The water resources of the country as a whole are ample for all foreseeable needs, but there are many districts whose supplies are inadequate in quantity or quality or both. Some of these latter have never had a proper supply; others have been working on a small margin of safety. Most are rural; but not a few are urban. A sufficient supply of pure water to every house--a piped supply except where financially prohibitive—is Labour's aim.
The whole of the policy outlined in this document has a direct bearing on the individual worker. Only by the maintenance of peace, the diminution of trade barriers, the raising of industrial standards in other countries, and the effective reorganisation of industry, can there be any hope of security and decent conditions of employment.
Much also remains to be done by way of industrial legislation.
In the first place, the worker's primary safeguard is his Trade Union. A Labour Government will take action to promote the organisation of the Unions and to rid them of unfair disabilities imposed in recent years. It will regard it as a duty to promote a measure which will restore to the Unions the full powers they were deprived of by the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act of 1927.
[p 20] Secondly, industrial standards are gravely deficient. The Factories and Workshops Acts, the Shop Acts, the Acts relating to the employment of children and young persons, the Workmen's Compensation Acts-these and other measures are riddled with gaps, and their practical enforcement is often seriously defective. The next Labour Government will make it its business greatly to extend their scope and improve their administration.
A new Factory Act is overdue. The standard of working conditions in factories and workshops has not been materially altered by law since 1901. Under the conditions in which the two Labour Governments held office, the Factories Bill which was planned could not be carried through. The next Labour Government will take in hand without delay the task of bringing factory legislation up to date in respect of safety, health, ventilation, sanitation and cleanliness, inspection and welfare, and also the question of hours of employment for women and young persons.
Labour will deal with conditions in shops, warehouses and offices. Hours of employment, and arrangements for the health and comfort of employees in the distributive trades require to be regulated by a new Shops Act. Legislation is also necessary for the regulation of employment in offices, with a view to bringing the standard up to a satisfactory level and enforcing it by adequate inspection.
Radical changes are required in regard to Workmen's Compensation. The present system encourages wasteful litigation; methods of insurance against employers' liability are unsatisfactory; and measures must be taken to prevent injured workmen losing their compensation through the insolvency of employers and other devices by which liability is evaded or terminated. The next Labour Government, therefore, will introduce legislation on the lines of the Bill framed by the Trades Union Congress, the Labour Party and the Parliamentary Labour Party. This provides for the establishment of a Workmen's Compensation Board with exclusive jurisdiction over all matters arising, including compensation claims; and for the creation by the State of a Compensation Fund to provide adequately for the workpeople concerned and their dependants.
Thirdly, convinced that the low economic standards of one nation react injuriously on all the others, and that it is at once the duty and the interest of Great Britain to lead the way in humanising the conditions of employment, a Labour Government, as already indicated, will take the lead to secure the international adoption of a progressive code of industrial legislation in respect of hours of work, mining conditions, seamen's conditions, etc.
Fourthly, organised Labour is convinced that the evil of unemployment has been intensified by present methods of utilising improvements in machinery and other technological developments. The gains of modern technique must in part take the form of more leisure for all by the introduction of the 40-hour week (with daily maxima), without reduction of wages, and by drastic restriction of overtime. Without relaxing the effort to secure general agreement on an International 40-hour Week Convention, the next Labour Government will also endeavour to promote the 40-hour standard in British industry by setting the example in the public services, national and local, and will assist the Trade Unions in every possible way in the negotiation of 40-hour week agreements, holidays with pay, and the regulation of overtime.
[p 21] Finally, the Labour Party holds that the prevailing economic depression is in large measure the consequence of the operation of an economic system which fails to distribute purchasing power in effective relation to its capacity to produce and to the movement of prices. More spending power must be provided for the great body of consumers whose income is represented by wages and salaries. The present policy of restricting production must be abandoned in favour of the policy of enabling the community to make use of the abundance goods and services which labour and skill, in alliance with machinery and scientific invention, have made available.
Accordingly, the Labour Party supports the Trade Union claim for higher wages, and will endeavour to give effect to this policy by such legislation and industrial changes as are required. Thus, the Fair Wages Clause must be strengthened and rigorously enforced on a far wider scale. A great extension of the Trade Boards Acts to many classes of workers who are at present defenceless is an obvious necessity. The agricultural wages machinery must be improved in directions already indicated. It must be an essential part of national planning, as regards both publicly and privately-owned industries, that adequate wages machinery on a national scale is provided; and that every appropriate legislative and administrative effort is made to ensure reasonable minimum and progressive standards, not only of wages, but of all conditions of employment. Rigorous enforcement is vital.
In principle, the choice before the nation is a simple one. It is not a choice between private enterprise and public control; it is a choice between the conduct of industry as a public service, democratically owned and responsibly administered, and the private economic sovereignty of the trust and the combine.
It is possible, in the Labour view, to regard the foundations of the national industrial life as a single system to be planned scientifically. In such a structure the part which the Consumers' Co-operative Movement has to play needs no emphasis. That great Movement already secures some 5,000,000 families against the worst excesses of the profit-making system--doubtless the reason why it has been deliberately penalised by the "National" Government. The Labour Party has always worked in full alliance with the Co-operators. It proposes to extend and intensify that alliance at every stage of its work. It has no doubt of the important part the Movement, with its long experience and specialised knowledge, has to play in building the new social order.
Alongside this policy of economic reconstruction, integrated with it and advancing its possibilities, must go deliberate measures of social amelioration. These have become the more urgent since the "National" Government has consistently prevented their development.
The Labour Party proposes a fundamental change of outlook. Whether the object of expenditure is housing or public health, education or the care of the unemployed, it takes the view that a wise provision, efficiently administered, is a definite addition to the national well-being. It refuses to accept the view that "economics" are justified in the health of the people. It cannot believe that raising the standard of national education can be other than a safeguard of our [p 22] industrial efficiency. It insists that the provision of proper housing accommodation is a vital duty of the organised community. It holds that those who are unemployed through no fault of their own are entitled to a treatment at once more humane and more generous than the "National" Government has seen fit to accord them.
In housing, a Labour Government will at once embark upon a great policy for the provision of houses to let at rents which the workers can afford to pay, and in a crusade for the final destruction of slums.
The twofold aspect of the campaign must be emphasised--the clearance of the slums with the rehousing of displaced tenants, and the widespread provision of ordinary new houses to let. Slum clearing and rehousing are vital; but the abolition of non-slum overcrowding, the provision of structurally-separate accommodation for each family, the avoidance of new slums, and the supply of fit houses with decent facilities, are dependent on the building of ordinary new houses.
In addition, it is essential to secure the thorough repair of every house that can be made properly fit; and in the wider aspects of housing to secure the replanning of built-up areas with provision for open spaces, the strict control and planning of developing areas, and the preservation of the countryside.
Literally millions of new houses are necessary to secure a decent standard of accommodation, and it is proposed that, apart from any other building, there should be a great housing drive to build from 250,000 to 300,000 new houses per year.
For the purpose, it is proposed that while the Minister of Health should be responsible for the size and speed of the national programme and its constituent local programmes, and have concurrent powers to undertake local programmes where the Local Authorities are unwilling or unable to carry them out, a National Housing Commission should be responsible for administration and for arranging and ensuring that the programmes are carried out.
The case for a Commission with defined administrative powers is that it is more likely than the housing section of a Government Department to focus attention on its specific task. The Commission is envisaged as the higher command of a great housing crusade, wholly devoted to its single task of smashing the housing evil. Acting on behalf of the Minister in case of default by any Local Authority, and exercising on his behalf wide powers to control the prices and production of building materials, and, if need be, undertake production itself, the Commission will allow no obstacle to stand in the way of urgent action.
An immediate and rapid development of housing is essential to the work of national reconstruction. Its direct repercussions upon employment are clear; its indirect returns in terms of public health are obvious.
Rent Control 
An important aspect of the housing problem to which the next Labour Government will give its attention is the rents of existing houses. The decontrolling provisions of the I923 Act have resulted in extortionate rents being [p 23] charged for many decontrolled houses; and it is therefore proposed, that rent control should continue beyond 1938 (the year fixed by the present "National" Government for the abolition of all rent control), but that all houses at present controlled should remain "permanently" controlled. This would include a large number of medium-rented houses now liable to be decontrolled under the 1923 Act on the owner obtaining possession. In addition, there is a case for some reduction in the permitted increase of controlled rents; and it is absolutely essential that the law relating to repairs be rigorously enforced.
In respect of houses which have already been decontrolled whose rateable values correspond to those of the houses to be "permanently" controlled, and which are at present let wholly or partly and not wholly owner-occupied, it is proposed that the rents should be regulated. The new rent would be the rent charged immediately prior to decontrol, plus, say, 10 per cent., and control would apply to the rent and not to any particular tenancy. An owner, however, would be entitled to apply to the Courts for a further increase if he could show good cause, e.g., in respect of appreciable improvements which the 10 per cent. was insufficient to cover.
Health Services 
Labour proposes to utilise medical discovery to the full in the service of the nation. The extension of the maternity and child welfare services, the adequate care of children in the pre-school years, the large-scale development open-air nursery schools, are all urgent matters. The disastrous "economics" in the School Medical Service should be ended, and increased provision made for the treatment of ailments. School meals must be greatly developed. Far more special schools and classes are needed for children with physical or mental defects. All health functions should be taken away from Poor Law control, and hospital service must be greatly extended.
Labour's general aim is to provide eventually domiciliary and institutional care to the community as a whole-a State Health Service evolving round a system of up-to-date clinics, with provision for specialist and other forms of treatment. Individual poverty must not be a barrier to the best that medical science can provide.
It would be a mistake, however, if comprehensive health provision were to be built up on the basis of National Health Insurance. What is needed is to take medical benefits entirely away from Health Insurance, and confine insurance to cash benefits only, on a higher scale than at present. The medical benefits (the panel system, "additional" benefits, etc.) would be provided through the Local Authorities. A service far superior to the existing panel system would be essential, and would also apply to non-insured persons and all dependants. That is the aim of Labour policy, and a Labour Government will make rapid progress towards its achievement.
There are, of course, other directions in which Labour will immediately press forward in health matters, notably in the welfare of the blind, and of the deaf and dumb. 
A great step forward must also be taken in national education. The paralysis of this service by financial parsimony is indefensible . Under the “National” Government, there has been an increase in the size of classes, a refusal to put urgent educational changes, like those proposed by the Hadow Report, into effective operation, and a number of other retrograde steps. This reaction must be stopped forthwith. Economy in education is a denial of equal opportunity. It is a perpetuation of vicious class distinctions. The Labour Party proposes, therefore, so to extend and improve the education system as to bring within the reach of all children, irrespective of parental income or occupation, such opportunity as will ensure the fullest possible development of their powers.
A first step in such a programme must be the immediate raising of the school-leaving age to fifteen years, and as soon as possible to sixteen years of age; this must be accompanied by a system of adequate maintenance grants. There is a widespread acceptance of necessity for this step. It is a measure not only of primary educational importance but one of significance in relation to the problem of unemployment.
So long as fees are charged in secondary schools, secondary education will continue to be regarded as a privilege reserved for a minority of children. The policy of the Labour Party is that all children should be entitled to receive one type or another of free secondary education, and the next Labour Government would take the immediate steps necessary to make education for in all state-aided secondary schools.
Fundamental to educational equality is the creation of a unified system of secondary education. Labour would press forward rapidly Hadow re-organisation for children of 11 and over, on lines which will ensure that the new post-primary schools form an integral part of the secondary system and are on an equal level of staffing and equipment. The “National” Government, on the other hand, has deliberately sought to strengthen class privilege in education by treating the post-primary schools as elementary and not secondary.
Alongside these measures must go to the replacement of obsolete or defective school buildings and the equipment. Of the primary schools with books and amenities on a proper scale. Labour would insist on a reduction in the size of classes. In England and Wales to-day there are some 8,000 elementary classes containing fifty children and upwards. The Labour Party holds that a maximum of forty children per class must be attained during its next period of office, as an indispensable condition of creative activity in the schools, with a view to a subsequent reduction to not more than thirty.
Increased facilities for higher education, whether secondary, technical or university, are, in the Labour view, a vital necessity for training the best intelligence of the nation for its service. But because the discovery of intelligence is the obvious first step to its training, the Labour Party insists that the proper development of the primary schools, including nursery schools for infants up to seven years, is the foundation upon which a satisfactory superstructure can be built.
The treatment of the unemployed by the “National” Government is a national scandal. The Means Test must go. Its harsh cruelties are a stain upon our public life. Nor is it defensible to classify the unemployed according to the time they have been without work. The Labour Party proposes to make their maintenance a national charge. It would seek to secure work for the unemployed by embarking upon a bold programme of public development. It would raise the school-leaving age, and take the older workers out of industry by a proper and necessary revision of the old-age pension system. It does not accept the view that of the “National” Government that, during the next ten years, no serious impression can be made upon the problem of unemployment. Industrial and agricultural reconstruction, including a great housing programme, and the removal of young and aged workers from industry, are all methods of dealing directly with unemployment. While the effect of these methods is bearing its fruit, the proper treatment of those who remain still without work is a debt which the nation ought to honour.
UNEMPLOYMENT AND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 
The nation is confronted at the present rime with the paradoxical situation of idle men side by side with idle industrial plant and idle money lying on deposit with the banks-increasing power to produce wealth alongside of increasing unemployment and a falling standard of life. This vicious circle can only be broken by the adoption of a bold policy of planned development on Socialist lines, as outlined in this statement.
The socialisation of key industries and services, the control and reorganisation of industries not yet brought under public ownership, the wide developments in housing and the other social services, and the freeing of the Local Authorities from the financial shackles which hinder local development-all these together constitute a great programme of national development which is bound to have substantial results in reducing unemployment.
Thus, such a programme would include:
[p 26] There is no question that varied programme on these lines would provide employment in a large number of industries, and in many different parts of the country. It should be emphasised also that such a programme would be directed to the development of publicly-owned and publicly-controlled economic resources, so that the benefits would accrue to the community as a whole.
The broad conclusion remains that a bold programme of national development will not only diminish unemployment substantially, but, by increasing public revenue and reducing expenditure on unemployment benefit, will relieve Budgetary stringency and make possible further programmes of social development. and extensions of social services which, owing to the impoverishment brought about by the collapse of private enterprise, are at present out of reach. It should not be forgotten that new expenditure on development not only creates employment, directly and indirectly, in respect of the particular schemes of work put in hand, but creates further employment in an ever-widening circle, through the payment of wages to those who are now unemployed, and who, through their increased purchasing power, are enabled to buy additional goods and services.
Many items in the programme, moreover, are directly revenue-producing, and would pay for their own cost. The financial resources of the country, especially when reorganised through the social control of finance, are amply sufficient to support a programme of development of this kind. Moreover, in proportion as such a programme is carried through, the national wealth and financial resources will grow.
A great effort of social reconstruction necessarily requires a wise administration of the national income. The Labour Party differs from its opponents in its interpretation of what this involves. The latter seem to think that the less the income of the rich is touched, the more prosperous is the community. They regard wealth devoted to such objects as health and education as less truly wealth than when it is spent on luxuries. Such a view Labour emphatically rejects. In common with enlightened economic opinion all over the world, it takes the view that urgent national requirements are a first charge upon the national income.
This means adjusting the burden of taxation to the backs most capable of bearing it. It is both economically desirable and socially just to raise the sum required for a prudent national policy from those elements in our midst which often contribute relatively little to social efficiency and who only too frequently squander their resources unproductively. This is not only vital to the wage-earner, it concerns every healthy interest in society. The clerk, the teacher, the professional man, the intellectual worker have everything to gain and nothing to lose by Labour's policy. Ability to pay is the only canon of taxation which is built on rational assumptions.
The Labour Party stands, therefore, for direct, as against indirect, taxation. Remembering that in Great Britain two-thirds of the wealth in private hands belongs to less than 500,000 persons, it proposes to revise the system of death duties, not only as just in itself, but as a step towards breaking that tradition which binds poverty in one generation to poverty in the next, and towards preventing the perpetuation of great fortunes by unearned inheritance.
[p 27] Labour would also tackle, again in a drastic way, the practices of tax evasion developed with increasing ingenuity in recent years. It would overhaul the graduation of income-tax and surtax with a view to relieving the smaller incomes, and increasing the contribution from the larger.
This outlook is wholly different to that adopted by the "National" Government. There is, nevertheless, no alternative to it. Otherwise the richer section of the community will continue to escape the obligation to pay its fair share to the cost of the national life. Moreover, there is perpetuated that division of the nation into rich and poor which is fatal to the development of a unified social outlook.
The Labour Party believes that the vast differences in wealth poison the relationships between classes in a way that increases all the difficulties inevitably inherent in the adjustments demanded by a changing world. Every movement towards an equal society is, in its view, a diminution of the tension between the few and the many, and, therefore, desirable for its own sake. The Labour Party desires change in the direction of an equal society in terms of equity. It does not desire to treat harshly those who have profited by the consequences of an earlier and unjust system; but it denies that they should continue to profit at the expense of urgent adaptations which are necessary to the very survival of the nation. That is the principle which the electorate will deliberately choose when it returns the Labour Party to power.
PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT 
No party in Great Britain to-day can seriously embark upon the task of Socialist reconstruction without adapting the machine of government to this purpose. It is necessary to recognise frankly that not a little of the discredit which is attached to Parliamentary government by its opponents is due to a failure to realise that its present forms were devised to suit the purposes of the negative State in the nineteenth century, and are definitely unsuited to the needs of the positive State in the twentieth. The Labour Party believes that effective adaptation of these forms, while preserving their spirit, is a possible and a desirable development. Nothing is so likely to secure respect for Parliamentary institutions as the proof that they are still capable of great achievement.
The defects of the present regime are the existence of an hereditary chamber with power to destroy by delay the work of the Government chosen by the nation, and the old-fashioned procedure of the House of Commons which maximises the possibilities of obstruction and so prevents the rapid translation a great programme into law. It would be necessary to deal with both these problems during the life of a Labour Government.
The problem of the House of Lords has two aspects. It may interfere with the legislation of a Labour Government from the outset of that Government's accession to power, and it remains, even if it holds its hand for a period, the reserve power of those vested interests in society which have always been hostile to progressive legislation. The Labour Party, given a majority, would interpret the mandate as conferring upon it the right, particularly if the House of Lords seeks to wreck its essential measures, forthwith to proceed to the abolition of that chamber.
[p 28] In any event, the abolition of the House of Lords is a principle to which the Labour Party is committed. In a democratic community there is no case for an hereditary second chamber. There is particularly no case for a chamber which, like the House of Lords, is rarely able to persuade more than one-tenth of its members to take their duties seriously. The Labour Party believes that fundamental social power must rest only with a popularly-elected assembly.
The reform of the procedure of the House of Commons brooks no delay. The Labour Party proposes, when it is returned to power, to deal immediately with this question. I twill ask the House of Commons to set up, at the beginning of the Session, a Committee on the Time-Table of Legislation, which will allot a reasonable amount of rime to Bills in the governmental programme. These Bills will, after their second reading, be sent to Standing Committees.
The advantages of this are clear. It will enable Parliament to deal simultaneously with an important body of legislation; and the time-table system will obviate unnecessary waste of time in its discussion. Such a system would preserve all the historic rights of an Opposition--rights for the preservation of which the Labour Party is not less jealous than any other Party in the State. Criticism, censure, the ventilation of grievance, the discussion of principles and general legislative structure, the initiation of inquiry--all these would be maintained in the fullness that is essential. But the system would also assure that Parliament would amply fulfil the task by which, above all, its prestige may be maintained: its ability to deal with great problems with the swiftness and upon the scale that our circumstances require.
More, indeed, is involved than changes in Parliamentary procedure alone. An efficient democracy needs to revise the foundations of its whole administrative system. This is not the place to enter into the details of such a revision. The Labour Party deems it important, however, to place on record its view that the Cabinet requires reconstruction, that a regrouping of Departmental functions is necessary, and that the time has come for a reorganisation of the machinery and methods of local government. The Labour Party by tradition and inheritance is a democratic party; that is why it attaches so much importance to the machinery of government. Its whole faith reposes in the achievement of change by the process of consent. That consent, to be real, must have the institutions appropriate to its discovery. The nation cannot afford to grapple with the problems of the twentieth century with the mechanisms of a period which confronted problems wholly different both in scale and nature. In the adaptation of national institutions to national needs, there is every reason to hope not merely that we can preserve but also that we can enhance the power of the democratic system to grapple with the grave issues before it. In the past, that system has won great triumphs in the political sphere. The Labour Party believes that the nation has the courage seek the repetition of those triumphs in the sphere of economics, sees no reason why a people who, first in the world, achieved through Parliamentary institutions their political and religious freedom should not, by the same means, achieve their economic emancipation.
In support of the ideas and policy set out in these pages, the Labour Party appeals to the electorate of Britain. It seeks an effective majority, not only in the electorate as a whole, but in each separate section of those who labour by hand or brain in the industrial centres, in the suburban areas, and in the countryside.
It seeks a majority based not upon mere dissatisfaction with the record of the present Government, but upon an active and courageous faith in the possibility of creating a new social order and a British Socialist Common-wealth, which shall lead the world to a secure and universal peace. It appeals, as a democratic party, for a popular mandate to translate that faith into reality.
It appeals to the working classes, because they know, in the bitterness of their experience, how profoundly Capitalism has failed.
It appeals to the technician and the professional man, because it believes that it can offer them a wider and more creative opportunity of public service than is theirs to-day.
It appeals to women, in every section of the community, because it offers them peace, and for their children the hope of health and happiness.
It appeals to the young to enlist in the high adventure of building a new world, and to bring the special gifts of youth-imagination, audacity and energy -to that great task.
It appeals, finally, to all in the nation, whether rich or poor, who are disturbed by the gross inequalities of wealth, by the anarchic waste of the present system, by the menace of another and still more terrible war.
Labour do es not underestimate the difficulties which lie in the path. It believes that if the British people so determine, they can win their way to peace and prosperity, justice, equality and freedom.
DRAFT POLICY REPORTS
|Related further reading|
|Socialism and Peace : the Labour Party’s Programme of Action||
National Executive Committee of the The Labour Party
1934, Transport House
|Reproduced in toto above.|
[first published in England by Victor Gollancz, a Left-wing publisher]
by “Cato” [Michael Foot, Frank Owen, Peter Howard]
1940, Frederick A. Stokes Company, Inc
|A scurrilous and dishonest piece of propaganda.|
|World in trance from Versailles to Pearl Harbour||
by Leopold Schwarzschild, translated from the German by Norbert Guterman
1942, L. B. Fischer Publishing Corp.
A very readable 400-page, blow by blow, outline of the political errors between the two world wars.
Recommended by Winston Churchill, hated by Michael Foot and H.G. Wells (a dedicated fascist).
by Mervyn Jones
1994,Victor Gollancz, 0575051973
A sycophantic biography, but outlines the main details.
Foot came from a highly politicised, pacifist, Liberal family.
|The Left was never right||
by Quintin Hogg
1945, Faber and Faber Ltd
This dense little book dismantled the nonsense in Michael Foot’s propaganda above [Guilty Men].
Written in 1945, this book also attacks other propagandising tracts by Left and Liberal revisionists.
The book is over 200 pages and measures 12.2 x 19 x 11 cm (4 ¾ x 5 x 3/8 ins). It is printed in a tiny typeface and produced to wartime economy standards - “This book is produced in complete conformity with the authorized economy standards”.
The analysis is very detailed - a fascinating document.
[First published 1948]
by Winston Churchill
Penguin, 2005, pbk|
Mariner Books, 1986
The first half of this book (pp. 3-358) covers the same period, written by the most impressive man of his time.
Not everyone seems to realise that Churchill had up close experience of army life, was on occasions in charge of the Admiralty and had spent much of the thirties studying air warfare.
|Chamberlain and Appeasement:
British policy and the coming of the Second World War
1993, the Macmillan Press
A rather turgid biography. Not recommended.
(Neville) Chamberlain has received a poor press, but the full depths of his political and foreign policy problems have not received good quality analysis in any source of which I am aware.
Chamberlain was dealt a very bad hand, and may have played it the best he could in the real world circumstances with which he was faced.
He has been used as a scapegoat by all and sundry, especially those who had the gift of exceptional hindsight.
In my view, even Churchill treats him unfairly, but then Chamberlain was a major political rival of Churchill’s.
A better summary of Chamberlain’s problems can be found in the last sections of The Left was never right.
|Hugh Dalton: A Life||
An excellent biography, with much detail on internal Labour politics.
With 642 pages and more than a 100 pages of notes, it's ideal as a doorstop if you bore of reading it.
email abelard at abelard.org
© abelard, 2013, 20 May
the address for this document is http://www.abelard.org/socialism/socialism_and_peace.php
approx. 18,000 words