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socialism and appeasement

UK socialist appeasement policy

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UK socialist appeasement policy is one of a number of documents analysing dysfunctional social, or group, behaviour in modern society.
abelard examines and illustrates the words and actions of Socialists in the United Kingdom during the periods of the 1930s and after.
on sociology on socialism 'social' economics supporting resources
and background documents
For more on sociology and socialism:

Introdution - socialism & sociology
sociology - the structure of analysing belief systems

Labour Party pamphlets:


New translation, the Magna Carta




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socialism - the creed that never learns
some relevant dates
british parliaments and key politicians during the 1930s
clement attlee - the appeaser
labour party appeasers, 1933
labour conference, edinburgh - 1936
capitalist or union warmongers?
stafford cripps, another labour hero
socialist post-war view of german rearmament
For Socialism and Peace - a Labour pamphlet
end notes
related further reading

socialism - the creed that never learns

In the 1930s, people like George Orwell, Michael Foot and Clement Attlee hoped to enforce Socialism quickly.

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.

Some relevant dates:

  30 January 1933 Adolph Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany.
  23 March 1933 Enabling Act passed in Germany, granting the Cabinet – in effect, the Chancellor – the authority to enact decrees without involving the Reichstag (German parliament).
  3 October 1935 Italy invades Abyssinia
  17 July 1936 - 1 April 1939 Spanish Civil War
  23 August 1939 - 22 June 1941 Hitler-Stalin Pact (Alliance)
  1 September 1939 Great Britain declares war on Germany.
  10 May 1940 Hitler invades France, Churchill becomes P.M.
  22 June 1940 Fall of France
  22 June 1941 Hitler attacks Russia
  7 December 1941 Japan attacks Pearl Harbour - Hitler declares war on the United States of America. USA enters WW2.

British parliaments and key politicians during the 1930s

  prime minister party in office chancellor of the exchequer government
  Ramsay MacDonald Labour 5 June 1929 24 August 1931 Philip Snowden hung Parliament, Labour/Liberal
[Labour 287 seats,
Cons. 260,
Liberal 59]
  Ramsay MacDonald National Labour 24 August 1931 7 June 1935 Philip Snowden 1st National
2nd National
  Stanley Baldwin Conservative 7 June 1935 28 May 1937 Neville Chamberlain 3rd National
  Neville Chamberlain Conservative 28 May 1937 3 September 1939 John Simon 4th National
  Neville Chamberlain Conservative 3 September 1939 10 May 1940 John Simon Chamberlain War Ministry
  Winston Churchill Conservative 10 May 1940 23 May 1945 Kingsley Wood, then John Anderson Churchill War Ministry
  Winston Churchill Conservative 23 May 1945 26 July 1945 John Anderson Churchill Caretaker
  government its composition in government votes won by government parties
1st National National Labour, Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Liberal National Party 24 August 1931 5 November 1931 Cons. 470, Labour 46 seats,
Liberal 32, Lib. National 35,
Nat. Labour 13, Nationalist (NI) 2
2nd National National Labour, Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Liberal National Party 5 November 1931 7 June 1935  
3rd National Labour Party, Conservative Party, Liberal Party, Liberal Nationals 7 June 1935 28 May 1937 General election 14 Nov. 1935
Cons. 386, Labour 154 seats,
Liberal 21
4th National Conservative Party, Liberal Nationals, National Labour and others 28 May 1937 3 September 1939  
          General election 5 July 1945
Labour 393, Cons. 197, Liberal 12

Clement Attlee the appeaser

21 April 1936.
This speech was his rambling intervention on the duty on tea (!) just introduced by Neville Chamberlain, then Chancellor of the Exchequer.

5.2 p.m. § Mr. ATTLEE

To-day, as on several previous occasions, I rise after the Chancellor of the Exchequer to congratulate him on the manner in which he presents his Budgets. He has a, great gift of expression, and no one can make a clearer statement, when he wants to. In the earlier part of his statement the right hon. Gentleman gave an admirably concise and clear exposition, but in the later stages his clarity was somewhat less noticeable; when he came to deal with the question of providing for the Government's armaments policy he became extremely vague indeed. The right hon. Gentleman has also great power of selecting words and topics, and I should like to congratulate him on the way in which he made his statement of the achievements of the Government, and on the wise, from his point of view, selection of the points on which he thought emphasis was desirable. One would have gathered from his statement that the foreign situation was something with which the Government had nothing at all to do, and that it was an act of God or a blizzard; that the Government had suddenly walked into a situation which, in their judgment, compelled enormous expenditure in armaments.

60 As a matter of fact, the dangers which the Government have to face are the creation, to a very large extent of their own policy. The right hon. Gentleman cannot ride off by saying that we have to pay our insurance premium because we feel the flames heating in our faces. He should have thought of that when he did not take earlier action to stop the fire. The inflammable material which is lying around has been largely left there by the present Government. We shall have something to say in the course of the Budget discussions about the Government's armaments programme and the reasons for it, and about the somewhat surprising fallacies put up by the right hon. Gentleman. One point I would emphasise right-away is the extraordinary conception that there has been no expenditure on armaments generally until this danger suddenly arose. There has been increasing expenditure on armaments by this Government right through the four years, during which 28 per cent. additional cost was put upon the fighting Services. Now we are to have another enormous addition, which is to be met by 2d. on tea and 3d. increase upon the Income Tax. We shall have occasion to put before the House again our conclusions with regard to the Tea Duty, but we shall never hope to emulate the eloquence of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) in his denunciation of that duty when it was taken off.

The right hon. Gentleman made some remarkable statements with regard to the allocation of expenditure on defence between the present generation and posterity. One gathered that he was contemplating some kind of loan in the future for the defence Services. It would be more straightforward and honest if the Government would tell the country exactly on what they are going to spend the money, and how they propose to raise it. Is this Budget to be like the Estimates, fundamentally dishonest because they deal only with certain items and leave the rest wrapped in a mystery which is not revealed? The right hon. Gentleman did not give a fair statement of the position of the country, any more than his review of the past was a fair statement, because there were a good many items which he did not mention. He did not mention that a debt, the 61 American Debt, has been piling up all this time. We never hear it mentioned from the other side now, but it always had to be mentioned when the Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer was in office and when he had the Sinking Fund to meet. Now that we are in the new financial morality, the right hon. Gentleman is able to do nothing about it.

We shall have an opportunity of examining more closely the claims of the right hon. Gentleman. I shall not depart from the usual custom of making only a few preliminary remarks at this stage, but we cannot accept the position in which the right hon. Gentleman says that trade is on the up-grade and everything is going well, but the whole of the benefit is to be thrown away upon armaments. We cannot accept that the right way to meet the situation is to put 2d. on tea.

This Budget will cause no enthusiasm anywhere. It does not mark the success of the Government, but their failure. It marks their complete failure to deal with foreign affairs, and it marks also that the Government are resolved to enter upon a course of expansion in armaments which, so far from rising to a peak a few years hence, is more likely to land us into the abyss a few years hence, following the course which, in the years prior to the Great War, did not lead to a peak and then to a cessation on armaments, but went on to the crescendo which ended in the final catastrophe. That is where the policy of this Government is leading us. I intend to say no more this afternoon. My colleagues will, no doubt, in the coming fortnight examine the Chancellor's proposals. The one thing about this Budget, apart from small and comparatively unimportant items, is that it is a Budget which will ultimately lead us to war.

§ 5.9 p.m. [Quoted from Hansard]

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.

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From The Times, 23rd April 1936, p.16

Mr. Attlee on a war budget
Result of dishonest foreign policy

Mr. C. R. Attlee, Leader of the Opposition, in a broadcast last night on the budget, described as a war budget, the natural result of the government's feeble and dishonest foreign policy.

Mr. Chamberlain’s budget, he said, was the natural expression of the character of the present government. There was hardly any increase allowed for the services which went to build up the life of the people, education, and health. Everything was devoted to piling up the instruments of death. The Chancellor expressed great regret that he should have to spend so much on armaments, but said it was absolutely necessary and was due to the actions of other nations. One would think to listen to him that the government had no responsibility for the state of world affairs.

But as a matter of fact this budget was the result of the feeble and dishonest foreign policy pursued during the last 4 ½ years by the government which had contributed so largely to the drift of the world into anarchy and war. If the government had from the start followed a policy of collective security and resolved to make disarmament a reality, if it had even given a strong lead to the League of Nations when Italy first planned her attack on Abyssinia [Ethiopia], it could have been shown that armed aggression did not pay, and we should have seen a world very different from that which confronted us today.

"Arms race"

The government had now resolved to enter upon an arms race, and the people would have to pay for their mistake in believing that it could be trusted to carry out a policy for peace. The government were constantly suggesting that this country had practically disarmed but it was quite false. Year by year expenditure had gone up. During the first four years of this government expenditure on the fighting forces had been increased by no less than 28 per cent. to the sum of £136,000,000, an increase of £30,000,000. Increases now proposed meant another £53,000,000. we should be spending £190,000,000 on armaments, as compared with £77,000,000 on the eve of the Great War. But this was only the beginning. Year by year there was to be an increased expenditure from revenue on the armed forces of the Crown, and besides Mr. Chamberlain suggested that there would also be an unknown, but probably immense, sum to be raised from loans. This was to go on until, he said, the peak had been reached. After which he said there might be a decline; but he was deceiving himself. It was not in this way that armament races ended. They came not to a peak, but an abyss - the abyss of war. This was a war budget.

A blank cheque

We could look in the future for no advance in social legislation. All available resources were to be devoted to armaments. We had not yet been told what the total bill was to be. Apparently the military experts had been given a blank cheque. The Labour Party, which was prepared to vote for such armaments as were necessary to enable this country to do its duty within the collective system, would steadily resist a course which could not bring peace, but would inevitably lead to war. An additional 2d. a pound was to be put on tea. Mr. Chamberlain explained that he did this so that all might contribute to the restoration of our defences. This meant in practice that the poorest of the poor would have their little comfort made more expensive. The old-age pensioner and the unemployed man's family, struggling to exist under the means test, would have to pay. It was amazing that in face of revelations as to the physical condition of the poorer sections of the community, the Chancellor should impose such an unjust a tax. Twopence was a big item in the budget of a family with only a few shillings on which to live.

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Labour Party appeasers, 1933

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

“Mr. MORGAN JONES I beg to move, "That this House regrets that the strong desire of the country for international agreement on disarmament has not been reflected in the policy pursued by His Majesty's Government at the Disarmament Conference and, realising the growing opinion in favour of the total disarmament of all nations throughout the world, this House calls upon the Government to submit to the Conference proposals for—"

  1. the complete abandonment of all air bombing;
  2. the general abolition of all weapons at present forbidden to Germany by the Treaty of Versailles, namely, tanks, heavy artillery, capital ships, aircraft carriers, submarines, and all naval and military aircraft;
  3. the international control of civil aviation;
  4. an immediate reduction by all nations in their expenditure upon armaments;
  5. the suppression of all private manufacture and trade in armaments;
  6. international inspection and control of armaments in all countries;
  7. the creation of an international police force; and
  8. the definition of aggression on the basis of the proposals made by the Conference Committee"

“This Motion stands in the name of the Leader of the Opposition and of several of my colleagues as well as myself. Perhaps it would be convenient if I recalled to the mind of the House something that happened in the Debate last week. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition made to the Government an offer the purport of which was broadly this: He intimated that we desired to continue the discussion initiated last Tuesday and that we would prefer that that discussion should be continued in a more or less non-party atmosphere, in the hope that we might be able to put before the House proposals in regard to disarmament, and that having put them before the House we might test the opinion of the House upon the proposals regardless of party affiliations. We would have preferred not to have embodied this Resolution in the form of a Vote of Censure, if that method were possible; but the Government found it impossible to accept and adopt that suggestion, and we therefore are obliged—we make no apology for it—to put on the Order Paper the Motion which I now submit.”

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Labour Conference, Edinburgh - October 1936

“There can be no question of our supporting the government in its rearmament policy.”
         Clement Attlee, Leader of the Labour Party, 1935-1955; UK Prime Minister, 1945-1951

“What the resolution does not contemplate being done is the lining up behind the government and voting for its rearmament programme.”
         Herbert Morrison, Labour Party politician, beaten by Clement Attlee in leadership election

By this time, Ernest Bevin and Hugh Dalton were starting speak against Labour’s appeasement line.

"And really there is no difference between the Russians, Fascists or Communists"
         Ernest Bevin, T.U.C. Council minutes, 21st May, 1935

“It is not sense to call in one breath for the supply of arms to Spain and in the next breath to oppose British rearmament and to crab recruiting. [...] Whatever else may be defensible, this blend of sentiments is not.”
         Hugh Dalton in the New Statesman, 24 October 1936.

The Labour Party again voted against rearmament estimates in 1937.

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capitalist or union warmongers?

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!

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stafford cripps, another labour hero

“I do not believe it would be a bad thing for the British working class if Germany defeated us.” 1936

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“Money cannot make armaments. Armaments can only be made by the skill of the British working class, and it is the British working class who would be called upon to use them. To-day you have the most glorious opportunity that the workers have ever had if you will only use the necessity of capitalism in order to get power yourselves. The capitalists are in your hands. Refuse to make munitions, refuse to make armaments, and they are helpless. They would have to hand the control of the country over to you.” 1937

“The workers must now make it clear beyond all doubt that they will not support the Government or its armaments in its mad policy which it is now pursuing.” Mid-1938

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:

“There, but for the grace of God, goes God.” Churchill
“Between Churchill and Cripps I have no hesitation choosing. I prefer a hundred times the undisciplined swine who is drunk eight hours of every twenty-four to the puritan. A man who spends extravagantly, an elderly man who drinks and smokes without moderation, is obviously less to be feared than the drawing-room bolshevist who leads the life of an ascetic.” Hitler, 27 March 1942
(p.367, Hitler’s Table Talk 1941-1944, translated by Cameron & Stevens, Enigma Books, 2000)


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.

That this House approves the proposal of His Majesty's Government to introduce as soon as possible a system of compulsory military training as announced on 26th April [1939]; regards such a system as necessary for the safety of the country and the fulfilment of the undertakings recently given to certain countries in Europe; and welcomes the fact that the Government is associating with this proposal fresh legislative powers to limit the profits of firms engaged mainly in armament production, and the assurance that, in the event of war, steps will be taken to penalise profiteering and to prevent additions to individual fortunes out of war-created conditions.

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)

“Whilst prepared to take all necessary steps to provide for the safety of the nation and the fulfilment of its international obligations, this House regrets that His Majesty's Government, in breach of their pledges, should abandon the voluntary principle which has not failed to provide the man-power needed for defence, and is of opinion that the measure proposed is ill-conceived, and. so far from adding materially to the effective defence of the country, will promote division and discourage the national effort, and is further evidence that the Government's conduct of affairs throughout these critical times does not merit the confidence of the country or this House.”
[Quoted from Hansard]

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During the passage through parliament of the Compulsory Military Training Act (conscription), early May 1939

From the speeches of Socialist MPs:

David Kirkwood
“I will do all I can to get not only the engineers of the Clyde, but engineers throughout Britain, to down tools against conscription.”
Aneurin Bevan
“What argument have they to persuade the young men to fight except merely in another squalid attempt to defend themselves against a redistribution of the international swag?”
Alexander Sloan
“I oppose conscription because it is a capitalist innovation to secure soldiers to protect private property.”
Neil Maclean
“The Conscription Bill is a Bill which I for one shall advise every young man of nineteen or twenty to refuse to accept. I shall advise mothers not to allow their boys to go and I shall advise the boys not to be conscripted.”
[Quoted from The Left was never right, p. 79]

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The House divided: Ayes, 380; Noes, 143 in favour of the government Compulsory Military Training Act.

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socialist post-war view of german rearmament

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.

British Pathé film [2:06 mins].

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.







For Socialism and Peace






The Labour Party’s
Programme of Action


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.
It is issued to Affiliated Organisations for consideration prior to the Annual Conference of the Party at Southport in October, when it will form the chief subject of discussion.

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.

Secretary- Treasurer.

Transport House
Smith Square
London, S.W.l

July, 1934




Failure of the "National" Government
Downfall of the Liberal Party
The Collective Peace System
The Far East
International Economic and Labour Conditions
The United States and the Soviet Union
The British Commonwealth
The Peace Act and Citizenship
A Peace Crusade
Key Industries and Services
Banking and Credit
Electricity Supply Industry
Iron and Steel
The Land
Water Supply
Industrial Legislation
Rent Control
Health Service
Maintenance of the Unemployed
LIST OF POLICY PAMPHLETS return to the Index on Extracts from papal encyclicals and Marxism

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THREE years have passed since the nation, in a mood of sudden panic, gave the present “National" Government the largest parliamentary majority in the history of British politics. That Government came into power with an unexampled opportunity, There was no limit to the reorganisation it could have effected. There were no obstacles to any great accomplishment to which it might have wished to lay its hand.

Yet the temper of the nation to-day is more gravely disquieted than at any time since the World War. The record of the Government and the menacing .world situation more than justify that disquiet.

Failure of the "National" Government

In home affairs the Government proudly proclaims its achievement .of stability, but it takes a narrow view of what stability implies. It shows callous complacence in the face of deep and widespread economic suffering. It is indifferent to the harsh administration of the Means Test, and to the grim equalities of the sacrifices it has imposed. By its Sedition Bill it threatens public liberty. Progress in education, comprehensive development in housing, advance in public health-all these, essential to a civilised standard of life for the people, have been ruthlessly halted. On armaments alone is there a willingness to expand expenditure.

Despite the pledges of its leader, the Government has sought to injure, in the interest of private traders, that great Co-operative Movement which is one of the supreme historic achievements of the working class. The adoption of a high and haphazard tariff policy has seriously injured both exporter and consumer, and disregarded the claims of the worker in protected industries.

In Imperial affairs, the Ottawa Agreement-so loudly trumpeted as the beginning of a new era-has stimulated that very economic nationalism which even the Government itself admits to be one of the main causes of the world crisis. Repression has increased the difficulties of an agreed settlement with the Indian people. In Africa solemn promises have been broken and native populations sacrificed to gold hunters.

In foreign affairs the constructive leadership in the League of Nations so proudly and successfully assumed by this country under the second Labour Government has been wantonly thrown away. Loyalty to the League in words has been belied by betrayals of the Covenant in deeds and lack of deeds. Democracies in Austria and Germany have been destroyed without a word of protest from the British Government. By its high tariff system, its domestic policy with regards to the contraction of public expenditure, its Ottawa commitments and its total lack of leadership, the Government made the failure of the World Economic Conference inevitable. Headstrong Japanese imperialism in the Far East has been assisted by the timid and supine attitude, not to say the tacit connivance of Great Britain. A feeble and disingenuous . policy on disarmament and security has helped to frustrate the attempts to a reduction in armaments and has stimulated the arms race to which Far Eastern events gave the initial impulse. The danger of war looms over the world.

[p.6] In every field of policy the Government presents a spectacle of moral and political bankruptcy. Its supporters view its policies with doubt and uneasiness. Its members are united on nothing except their desire to prevent the coming of Socialism.

Downfall of the Liberal Party

The Liberal Party has been split once again into fragments. A section still seeks to pro long its existence by servile support of the Government. Another part has been driven, at long last and reluctantly, into feeble and unconvincing opposition and is hopelessly compromised by its previous share of responsibility.

Post- War conditions have made the continued existence of the Liberal Party

a tragic anachronism and a standing disservice to the causes-Democracy; Freedom, Peace-for which Liberalism used to stand. The Liberal Party no longer has a message for the new world. That is why the younger generation finds no hope in the Liberal solution. That is why the country, as the by- elections show, recognises emphatically that the Labour Party alone can provide a genuine alternative Government.


The choice before the nation is either a vain attempt to patch up the super-structure of a capitalist society in decay at its very foundations, or a rapid advance to a Socialist reconstruction of the national life. There is no half-way house between a society based on private ownership in the primary means of production, with the profit of the few as the measure of success, and a society where public ownership of those means enables the resources of the nation to be deliberately planned for attaining the maximum of general well-being.

The Labour Party therefore seeks a mandate from the electorate to replace a Government representative of nationalist reaction and anti-social vested interests by one which expresses the needs and voices the aspirations of the community as a whole.

The aims of the Labour Party can be stated, briefly, as follows:

  1. To establish peace, freedom and justice by removing from among the nations the root causes of international disputes, by conciliation and arbitration, by renouncing war as an instrument of national policy, by disarmament, by political and economic co-operation through the League of Nations, and by agreements with States which are not yet members of the League.
  2. To secure to every member of the community the standards of life and employment necessary to a healthy, independent and self-respecting existence, and to give equality of opportunity, both political and economic, to men and women alike.
  3. To convert industry, with due regard to the varying needs and circumstances of different sections, from a haphazard struggle for private gain to a planned national economy owned and carried on for the service of the community.
  4. To extend rapidly and widely those forms of social provision-education, public health, housing, pensions, and maintenance during unemployment-in the absence of which the individual is the sport of economic . chance and the slave of his environment.
  5. To adjust taxation in such a way that due provision is made for the maintenance and improvement of the material apparatus of industry, and that surpluses created by social effort shall be applied for the good of all.

[p.7] Labour takes the view that political democracy necessarily implies economic democracy. It seeks to establish a free and prosperous society of believes that the highroad to such a society lies through the gateway of Socialism.

The Labour Party is essentially a democratic party. It seeks to attain its purposes by persuasion, and not by violence, and to maintain that right to full freedom of criticism and association without which human life is deprived of dignity and fullness.

Fascism provides no remedy for our economic and social troubles. It would

deepen and aggravate them. All that it has done in countries where it has brutally seized political power is to inflict gross tyranny, and even torture and death, on great communities. It has achieved no social or economic improvement. On the contrary, the condition of the people in Fascist countries is far worse even than that of our own people under the "National" Government. Fascism is merely Capitalism in its worst and most brutal form.


Because it is a Socialist Party, the Labour Party believes in the brotherhood of man. The advance of science has bound the peoples of the world together by a thousand ties. It has also produced instruments of destruction so potent that the institution of war has become incompatible with the survival of civilisation. The Labour Party regards war as senseless and wicked, a blasphemy against the human spirit. It detests national and racial as much as class barriers. The Socialist faith is as passionately opposed to international anarchy as it is to economic anarchy. It recognises that both spring from the fundamental and incurable anarchy of Capitalism.

The Labour Party believes that the only final guarantee of peace lies in the development of a Co-operative World Commonwealth of Nations. The League of Nations can succeed only in proportion as it develops in the direction of world co-operation. World planning and world control in international life both postulate and follow from national planning and socialised control of our national life. A foreign policy directed to establishing a Co-operative World Commonwealth of Nations is the inevitable corollary to a home policy which looks to the establishment of the Socialist State. Such a foreign policy is the only effective alternative to the present drift toward another world war.

The Labour Party therefore seeks for power to plan a new society within the structure of the old, not only on a national but on a world scale. It does not deny the difficulty of the task. Opposition to change is strong, and formidably organised. Yet the Labour Party believes that, given courage and determination, the difficulties can be surmounted.

The central feature of the events of the last two years is that, in spite of the League of Nations and of copious lip-service to the League, ~here has been a return to pre-War standards and methods, leading to a revival of pre-War conditions-a race in armaments, a groping for alliances, the search for a Balance of Power.


The Collective Peace System

The next Labour Government would take immediate steps to put an end to the race in armaments and the growing danger of war. It would do so by the only effective method, a method which the present Government has signally failed to adopt. It would submit to all nations at Geneva a bold and far-reaching plan both for all-round disarmament and for the international organisation of security. The plan will provide for

  1. the abolition of all the arms forbidden to the Central Powers by the 1919 Treaties, with a system of regular supervision and guarantees;
  2. the limitation of Armaments' Budgets;
  3. the abolition of national air forces, the internationalising of civil aviation, and the creation of an international air police force;
  4. the nationalisation and drastic international control of the manufacture of and trade in arms;
  5. a treaty of non-aggression, linked with the sanctions system of the League; and
  6. machinery and obligations for settling all disputes by pacific means.

The adoption of a plan on these lines would transform the political atmosphere in Europe, by restoring faith in the rule of law and banishing the fear that violence would be used to effect changes in national territories. It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that peaceful change can ever consist principally in frontier revisions between sovereign states. The greatest peaceful change must be the progressive disappearance of enflamed nationalism and the growth of international arrangements across frontiers on tariffs, currency, economic co-operation, transport, and, in the political field, on the fair treatment of minorities. Some frontier revision there will be; but only when the fear of war has been effectively banished.

The Far East

The problem of Asia is regarded by the Labour Party as pivotal to the peace of the world. It is here that the present Government's disregard of its solemn treaty obligations has had the swiftest and direst consequences-nothing less than the menace of a great war. Here the Labour Government would take its stand squarely on the Covenant, the Nine-Power Treaty and the Paris Pact, as interpreted in the unanimous Report of the League Assembly. It would keep in closest touch with the United States and the Soviet Union with regard to a concerted attitude against aggression and the violation of treaties in the Far East. It would make clear that any fresh resort to war would be met by world-wide action on the basis of the treaties forbidding war. It would use all its influence to impede any effort which sought to make China the victim of imperialist exploitation or endeavoured to extort acquiescence in the violation of China's territorial integrity and political independence. It would endeavour to secure by common action those conditions under which alone a reasonable standard of life is attainable by the peoples of the East.


International economic and Labour Conditions

War must be attacked, however, on a far wider and deeper front than hitherto. The Constitution of the International Labour Organisation states that “The League of Nations has for its object the establishment of universal peace, such a peace can be established only if it is based on social justice," and goes on to explain that "conditions of labour exist involving such injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people, as to produce unrest so great that the peace and the harmony of the world are imperilled."

The Labour Party agrees with this analysis. But it contends that the only way of establishing social justice is by getting rid of production for private profit and substituting production for the use of the community. It insists that the chaotic conditions arising out of unbridled competition not only give rise to social injustice that imperils peace, but also breed vested interests whose scramble for markets and for fields for investment are a direct cause of war.

The Labour Party is committed to far-reaching measures of co-operation, utilising to the full the various sections of the League, the Bank of International Settlements and the International Labour Organisation. Just as in home policy it would insist upon decisive control over the whole economic life of the country, so in international policy it would press for international planning in economic and financial questions, transport, travel and communications, hours and conditions of labour, public health, etc. It would seek by international agreement to stabilise the value of money and the rates of exchange. It would endeavour, through the Financial Committee of the League and a reformed Bank of International Settlements, to regulate the export of capital and the granting of international loans. It would attack the disastrous economic nationalism of the present age by working for an all-round lowering of tariffs, and their substitution by a system of planned international exchange.

With this work, it is essential that all the potentialities of the International Labour Office should be associated; not otherwise can industrial standards be safeguarded in an era of technological revolution. A Labour Government would therefore in particular seek to strengthen the international regulation of the conditions under which goods are produced which enter into international commerce, and to prevent unfair competition in world markets by debased standards of wages and employment. The International Labour Organisation has suffered from its subordination to the interests protected by capitalist Governments. A Labour Government would seek to free it from these shackles and encourage it in a bold effort to take its proper place in that planning of international economic life which is the only ultimate alternative to disaster.

The United States and the Soviet Union

Inherent in these ideas is the necessity for full co-operation with the United States and the Soviet Union, which are now outside the League. The Labour would seek to associate the American people with each stage of its policy to find the terms on which they might co-operate with the League in the conviction that they, like ourselves, will be prepared for active steps in a creative effort of this kind.

In the commercial and in the political field the association of the Soviet Union with all significant international action is fundamental. A Labour Government would propose a treaty of non-aggression and conciliation with the Soviet Union; it would seek the rapid development of mutual commercial relations; and it would do all in its power to facilitate the entrance of the Soviet Union into the League as a valuable assurance of that collective security which to the Soviet Union, as to Great Britain itself, is vital.


The British Commonwealth

The Labour Government would regard the Dominions as partners in the world leadership for the attack on war, and a wise policy could secure for our Commonwealth that unity of outlook which is a condition for such leadership. The unhappy Anglo- Irish dispute; the failure to find those terms of accommodation upon which India can become a willing partner in this great enterprise; the inadequate regard paid to the principle of trusteeship in our African colonies [6]; the ill-guided economic policies of which Ottawa is the embodiment: these all stand in the way of the full contribution the British Commonwealth could make to a peaceful and prosperous world.

The Peace Act and Citizenship

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:

  1. Insist that our Government settle all its disputes by peaceful means and eschew force.
  2. Unflinchingly support our Government in all the risks and consequences of fulfilling its duty to take part in collective action against a peace- breaker.
  3. Refuse to accept our Government's unsupported claim to be using force in self-defence, and insist on submitting this claim to the test of international judgment or of willingness to arbitrate.


A Peace Crusade

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 [7]

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.[8]

[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:

  1. The introduction of efficient methods of production.
  2. The organised purchase of raw materials .
  3. The establishment of effective selling agencies.
  4. The elimination of all unnecessary charges.
  5. Reasonable wages and conditions for the producers.
  6. Reasonable prices for the consumers.

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 [9]

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.


Transport [10]

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 [11]

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.


Iron and Steel

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 [12]

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 .

Agriculture [12]

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.

  • The work of the Commission, largely exercised through specially-appointed County Agricultural Committees, would be to see that the land was effectively managed and used. It would lay down general principles for the production, treatment and marketing of particular products, and would also be concerned, directly or indirectly, with such matter as direct public farming, drainage, reclamation, afforestation, research and education, transport, power, water supply and credit facilities.
  • Great importance is attached to the treatment and marketing of agricultural products. The first big step was taken in Labour's Agricultural Marketing Act of 1931; and even the "National" Government has been compelled to build its own unsatisfactory schemes upon that foundation. The Labour Party proposes to take the method much further, and to deal with products through Commodity Boards of various appropriate types.

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 [13]

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.

Industrial Legislation

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.

The Nation's Choice

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.

Housing [14]

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 [15]

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 [16]

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. [17]

[p 24]


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.

[p 25]

Maintenance of the Unemployed

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.


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:

  1. The re-equipment of socialised industries, and also of industries not yet ripe for socialisation, but requiring drastic measures of reorganisation under public control.
  2. A programme of electrification, including the electrification of the socialised railway system.
  3. The erection of publicly-owned plants in the mining areas for the extraction of oil and other by-products from coal, to be worked in conjunction with the socialised mining industry.
  4. A programme of building, to include housing, schools and hospitals, worked out in accordance with national and local plans.
  5. A programme of land drainage.
  6. A programme of water supply, on regional lines.
  7. A programme of agricultural development, including a vigorous extension of afforestation and forest holdings, based on the public ownership of the land.
  8. A programme of roads, bridges and harbours .
  9. A programme of municipal development of many kinds

[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.


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.

[p 29]


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.

return to the Index on Extracts from papal encyclicals and Marxism

[p 30]


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Related further reading
on socialism


Socialism and peace 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.
Guilty men

Guilty Men

[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 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).

Michael Foot Michael Foot

by Mervyn Jones

1994,Victor Gollancz, 0575051973

A sycophantic biography, but outlines the main details.

Foot came from a highly politicised, pacifist, Liberal family.

“I think he is grievously mistaken, but I believe he is entirely sincere.”
[Eva Foot, Michael Foot’s mother, on him joining the Labour Party]

Ther Left was never right 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.

The 2nd world war vol1: the gathering storm - Churchill

Marker at

The 2nd world war vol1: the gathering storm - Churchill

The Second World War volume I: The Gathering Storm

[First published 1948]

by Winston Churchill

Penguin, 2005, pbk|
ISBN-10: 0141441720
ISBN-13: 978-0141441726

£14.28 (

Marker at

Mariner Books, 1986
ISBN-10: 039541055X
ISBN-13: 978-0395410554

$14.17 (

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.

Camberlain and Appeasement RAC PArker Chamberlain and Appeasement:
British policy and the coming of the Second World War

R.A.C. Parker

1993, the Macmillan Press
0333477127 hbk
0333417135 pbk

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 by Ben Pimloth Hugh Dalton: A Life

Ben Pimlott

Papermac, 1985
'New edition', 1986, pbk

ISBN-10: 0333412516
ISBN-13: 978-0333412510

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.

End notes

  1. Michael Foot
    [23 July 1913 – 3 March 2010 ]
    Deputy leader of the Labour Party, 1976-1980; Leader of the Opposition from 1980 to 1983.

  2. Clement Attlee
    [3 January 1883 – 8 October 1967]
    UK Prime Minister, 1945-1951; Leader of the Labour Party, 1935-1955.

  3. Founded in 1884, with early prominent members [Fabians] such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G Wells and children’s writer E. Nesbitt, the Fabian Society’s intention is to impose world socialism gradually through legislation, whereas the Bolsheviks preferred violent revolution to achieve global communism.

    The society was named after a Roman general, Fabius Cuncator, who used covert guerilla military tactics to defeat the Carthaginian Hannibal and his superior forces. Fabius avoided direct confrontation, instead wearing down his opponent with elusive hit-and-run actions. The Fabian Society also prefer camouflaged actions and a hidden agenda.

    “John Dewey is considered the father of “progressive” education, with the deliberate dumbing down tactics that dominate today.” [Quoted from]

    Dewey is also famous for his advocation of a ‘spiral curriculum’. This amounts to telling the student ever more refined lies (approximations) - I regard this as bad pedagogy. Better you teach through observation and empiricism [see Laying the foundations for sound education and How to teach your child number arithmetic mathematics.]

    The 1887 mission statement was:

    “It (The Fabian Society) therefore aims at the reorganization of society by the emancipation of land and industrial Capital from individual and class ownership…The Society accordingly works for the extinction of private property in land…”

  4. Tony Blair
    Labour Party prime minister, 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007.

  5. See
    (a) Labour's Foreign Policy ;
    (b) War and Peace, which is included in the Report to Annual Conference, 1934; and
    (c) The Colonial Empire.

  6. See The Colonial Empire.

  7. See Socialism and the Condition of the People.

  8. See Public Ownership and Compensation, which is included in the Report to Annual Conference, 1934.

  9. See
    (a) Currency, Banking and Finance, and
    (b) Socialism and the Condition of the People.

  10. See The National Planning of Transport.

  11. See The Reorganisation of the Electricity Supply Industry.

  12. See The Land and the National Planning of Agriculture.

  13. See National Planning of Water Supply, which is included in the the Report to Annual Conference, 1934.

  14. See Up With the Houses! Down With the Slums !

  15. See Fair Rents and No Profiteering,

  16. See A State Health Service, which is included in the Report ta Annual Conference, 1934

  17. See The Welfare of the Blind, which is included in the Report ta Annual Conference, 1934

  18. See
    (a) Labour ad Education, and
    (b) Socialism and the Condition of the People.

  19. See Socialism and the Condition of the People.

  20. See Parliamentary Problems and Procedure, which is included in the Report ta Annual Conference, 1934.
  21. return to the Index on For Peace and Socialism reprint

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