Showing posts with label Loyalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Loyalism. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The Dismal Science

"There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: "my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas.  I'll retire to Bedlam."

This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in.  They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off, in Scrooge's office.  They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him.

"Scrooge and Marley's, I believe," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list.  "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?"

"Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years," Scrooge replied.  "He died seven years ago, this very night."

"We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials.

It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits.  At the ominous word "liberality," Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back.

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.  Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

"Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.

"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

"And the Union workhouses?"  demanded Scrooge.  "Are they still in operation?"

"They are.  Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."

"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?"  said Scrooge.

"Both very busy, sir."

"Oh!  I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge.  "I'm very glad to hear it."

"Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth.  We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.  What shall I put you down for?"

"Nothing!" Scrooge replied.

"You wish to be anonymous?"

"I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge.  "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer.  I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry.  I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.  Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that."

"But you might know it," observed the gentleman.

"It's not my business," Scrooge returned.  

"It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's.  Mine occupies me constantly.  Good afternoon, gentlemen!"

Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew.  Scrooge returned his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.

Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face.
"Mercy!" he said.  "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?"

"Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?"

"I do," said Scrooge.  "I must.  But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?"

"It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death.  It is doomed to wander through the world -- oh, woe is me! -- and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.

"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling.  "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  Is its pattern strange to you?"

Scrooge trembled more and more.

"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself?  It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago.  You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.

"Jacob," he said, imploringly.  "Old Jacob Marley, tell me more.  Speak comfort to me, Jacob!"

"I have none to give," the Ghost replied.  "It comes from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men.  Nor can I tell you what I would.  A very little more, is all permitted to me.  I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere.  My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house -- mark me! -- in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!"

It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he became thoughtful, to put his hands in his breeches pockets.  Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now, but without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his knees.

"You must have been very slow about it, Jacob," Scrooge observed, in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference.
"Slow!" the Ghost repeated.

"Seven years dead," mused Scrooge.  "And travelling all the time!"
"The whole time," said the Ghost.  "No rest, no peace.  Incessant torture of remorse."

"You travel fast?"  said Scrooge.

"On the wings of the wind," replied the Ghost.

"You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years," said Scrooge.

The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and clanked its chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance.

"Oh!  captive, bound, and double-ironed," cried the phantom, "not to know, that ages of incessant labour, by immortal creatures, for this earth must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed.  Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunity misused!  Yet such was I!  Oh!  such was I!"

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.  "Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.  The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

It held up its chain at arm's length, as if that were the cause of all its unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again.

"At this time of the rolling year," the spectre said "I suffer most.  Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode!  Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!"

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly.

"Hear me!" cried the Ghost.  "My time is nearly gone."

"I will," said Scrooge.  "But don't be hard upon me!  Don't be flowery, Jacob!  Pray!"

"How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell.  I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day."

It was not an agreeable idea.  Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow.

"That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost.  "I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate.  A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer."

"You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge.  "Thank `ee!"

"You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits."

Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done.

"Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?"  he demanded, in a faltering voice.

"It is."

"I -- I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge.

"Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread.  Expect the first tomorrow, when the bell tolls one."

"Couldn't I take `em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?"  hinted Scrooge.

"Expect the second on the next night at the same hour.  The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate.  Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!"

When it had said these words, the spectre took its wrapper from the table, and bound it round its head, as before.  Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound its teeth made, when the jaws were brought together by the bandage.  He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with its chain wound over and about its arm.

The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step it took, the window raised itself a little, so that when the spectre reached it, it was wide open.  It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did.  When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer.  Scrooge stopped.

Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory.  The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity.  He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went.  Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free.  

Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives.  He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step.  

The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

In Praise of John Major : The Tory Thëoden-King

"Remember that awfully nice man who talked about 'The Classless Society'...? 
He had to go, of course. 

Everything Changes.

 "What I don't understand, Michael, is why such a complete wimp like me keeps winning everything."

Great Men are forged in Fire. 
It is the privilege of Lesser men to light the Flame. 
Whatever the cost.

No One cares about The Man in The Box, The Man Who Disappears.

When Sir John Major retired to the backbenches and eventually stood-down as an MP, The Pretender Elizabeth Windsor did not make him an Earl - Even though, but for his inelligability to hold the title due to his status in the Commons as an elected Member of the Parliament, The First Lord of the Treasure (aka "The Prime Minister) is automatically, by definition, an EARL.

(Clement Richard Attlee, 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC, FRS) 

He took, was offered, and accepted BOTH.

(Sir John Major, KG, CH, PC )

"Oh, I can bring in other people into the Cabinet, that is right, but where do you think most of this poison has come from? It is coming from the dispossessed and the never-possessed. You and I can both think of ex-ministers who are going around causing all sorts of trouble. Would you like three more of the bastards out there? What's the Lyndon Johnson, er, maxim?

Brunson: If you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

Major: No, that's not what I had in mind, though it's pretty good.

John Major: What I don't understand, Michael, is why such a complete wimp like me keeps winning everything.

Michael Brunson: You've said it, you said precisely that.

Major: I suppose Gus will tell me off for saying that, won't you Gus?
Brunson: No, no, no … it's a fair point. The trouble is that people are not perceiving you as winning.
Major: Oh, I know … why not? Because ...
Brunson: Because rotten sods like me, I suppose, don't get the message clear [laughs].
Major: No, no, no. I wasn't going to say that - well partly that, yes, partly because of S-H-one-Ts like you, yes, that's perfectly right. But also because those people who are opposing our European policy have said the way to oppose the Government on the European policy is to attack me personally. The Labour Party started before the last election. It has been picked up and it is just one of these fashionable things that slips into the Parliamentary system and it is an easy way to proceed.
Brunson: But I mean you … has been overshadowed … my point is there, not just the fact that you have been overshadowed by Maastricht and people don't ...
Major: The real problem is this ...
Brunson: But you've also had all the other problems on top - the Mellors, the Mates … and it's like a blanket - you use the phrase 'masking tape' but I mean that's it, isn't it?
Major: Even, even, even, as an ex-whip I can't stop people sleeping with other people if they ought not, and various things like that. But the real problem is ...
Brunson: I've heard other people in the Cabinet say 'Why the hell didn't he get rid of Mates on Day One?' Mates was a fly, you could have swatted him away.
Major: Yeah, well, they did not say that at the time, I have to tell you. And I can tell you what they would have said if I had. They'd have said 'This man was being set up. He was trying to do his job for his constituent. He had done nothing improper, as the Cabinet Secretary told me. It was an act of gross injustice to have got rid of him'. Nobody knew what I knew at the time. But the real problem is that one has a tiny majority. Don't overlook that. I could have all these clever and decisive things that people wanted me to do and I would have split the Conservative Party into smithereens. And you would have said, Aren't you a ham-fisted leader? You've broken up the Conservative Party.
Brunson: No, well would you? If people come along and ...
Major: Most people in the Cabinet, if you ask them sensibly, would tell you that, yes. Don't underestimate the bitterness of European policy until it is settled - It is settled now.
Brunson: Three of them - perhaps we had better not mention open names in this room - perhaps the three of them would have - if you'd done certain things, they would have come along and said, 'Prime Minister, we resign'. So you say 'Fine, you resign'.
Major: We all know which three that is. Now think that through. Think it through from my perspective. You are Prime Minister. You have got a majority of 18. You have got a party still harking back to a golden age that never was but is now invented. And you have three rightwing members of the Cabinet actually resigned. What happens in the parliamentary party?

Brunson: They create a lot of fuss but you have probably got three damn good ministers in the Cabinet to replace them.

Major: Oh, I can bring in other people into the Cabinet, that is right, but where do you think most of this poison has come from? It is coming from the dispossessed and the never-possessed. You and I can both think of ex-ministers who are going around causing all sorts of trouble. Would you like three more of the bastards out there? What's the Lyndon Johnson, er, maxim?

Brunson: If you've got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.

Major: No, that's not what I had in mind, though it's pretty good.

Andrew Culf, "What the `wimp' really said to the S-H-one-T", The Guardian, 26 July 1993.

'Off-the-record' exchange with ITN reporter Michael Brunson following videotaped interview, 23 July 1993. Neither Major nor Brunson realised their microphones were still live and being recorded by BBC staff preparing for a subsequent interview; the tape was swiftly leaked to the Daily Mirror.

Now you're looking for The Secret.
But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. 

You don't really want to work it out. 

You want to be fooled.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Do NOT Fuck with Kali-Ma - She Will DEVOUR You


Mighty Goddess, Queen of Heaven
Protector of Widows and Orphans,
Wronged Women
and The Wretched of The Earth;

Bold Artimis, Mistress of The Hunt
Defender of The Weak,
Bringer of Justice through Righteous Retribution;

Queen of Hearts, 
The On-Coming Storm
Princess Diana.

Hear Now My Prayer :

Friday, 9 June 2017

Herbert Morrison

Portrait of an Appalling Man - by Paul Foot

(February 1974)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.66, February 1974, pp.27-28.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Herbert Morrison: Portrait of a Politician
Bernard Donoughue and G.W. Jones
Weidenfeld & Nicholson, £6.00.

HERBERT MORRISON was appalling. In his youth he flirted with Marxist ideas and organisations until one day he went to listen to Ramsay Macdonald. From that day, Morrison modelled himself on ‘the old man’, and took up Macdonald’s stance on the extreme right wing of the Labour Party. As leader of the first Labour-controlled London County Council from 1934; as Home Secretary during the war and as overlord of the Labour government’s post-war home policy he never abandoned his passionate hatred of communism or of independent working class activity.

When in the early 1920s, the Labour-controlled Poplar borough council paid its unemployed more than the pitiful rates allowed by law and paid its workers more than the rate negotiated by collective bargaining machinery, Morrison, then secretary of the London Labour Party, denounced the Poplar Councillors: ‘No electorate,’ he argued, ‘could trust local authorities which spent ratepayers’ money so recklessly.’

Any direct action by workers or their representatives horrified Herbert Morrison. ‘He rather scorned strikes’, write his biographers. After the collapse of the General Strike in 1926, he gleefully rubbed home the lessons to his supporters.

‘A general strike,’ he argued, ‘must become a physical force, revolutionary struggle aimed at the forcible overthrow of the constitutional government and the seizing of power by the General Council of the Trades Union Congress... nobody with half a brain believes that in Britain such a policy could be successful.’

The alternative to all this direct action nonsense. Morrison argued, was to build up the Labour Party and get hold of parliamentary office.

Parliamentary office gave him what he needed to carry out his concept of ‘socialism’ - a well-ordered, well-regulated state capitalist society in which Morrison would be chief orderer and chief regulator. He was the bureaucrat par excellence. Or, as Beatrice Webb put it in her diaries, ‘Herbert Morrison is the quintessence of Fabianism.’ Give him the machinery of government, the blue books, the statistics, the loyal civil servants, the insignia of office and Morrison was in his element. Socialist society, he believed, would be built by a handful of able and enlightened bureaucrats in Whitehall.

‘Public ownership’ to Morrison meant control by bureaucrats selected ‘on their ability’ by the minister. When he was minister of transport in 1930, he refused to appoint workers’ representatives to the board of his new London Transport undertaking. He wanted the undertaking to be run exclusively by ‘men of a business turn of mind’ which, he explained graciously, ‘might include such people as trade union bodies as well as men of business experience in the ordinary sense of the word’. These included Lord Ashfield, the tycoon who owned the main private London transport companies before Morrison’s 1930 Bill.

‘Morrison,’ writes Mr Jones, ‘came to admire Ashfield and had him in mind to be the chairman of the new board. To nationalise Lord Ashfield was his objective.’ Lord Ashfield was thoroughly sympathetic. ‘He became a devotee of the public corporation,’ and did a lot to persuade Liberals and Tories in the House of Commons that ‘Morrisonisation’, as it came to be known, was really a more efficient form of running capitalism.

This relationship with big business was taken up even more enthusiastically when Morrison took charge of Labour’s economic policies after the war. ‘Morrison liked dealing with tycoons,’ writes Mr Bernard Donoughue, his other biographer, ‘and in general they liked him, as Chandos said, “because you got down to brass tacks with him”.’

When the Morrisonisation of Steel was proposed by the majority in the Labour Cabinet in 1947, Morrison discovered to his horror that the steelmasters were against it. The coalowners and the railway bosses had, after a few statutory grumbles, conceded the Morrisonisation of coal and rail transport. But Sir Andrew Duncan, the steel industry leader and a favourite tycoon of Morrison’s, did not want steel Morrisonised. 

Morrison promptly sabotaged the Cabinet’s plans by working out new proposals, in secret, with Sir Andrew. The majority of the Cabinet, prompted by Aneurin Bevan, finally forced through steel nationalisation against Morrison’s wishes, but Morrison’s sabotage ensured that steel was not nationalised until the end of the Labour government’s term of office. This left Sir Andrew and his friends much more time to mobilise.

Morrison was one of the fiercest anti-communist witch-hunters in British history. He carried out a ruthless and permanent campaign against communists of every description. But his hatred of communists in Britain did not extend to Russia. As Mr Jones writes:
‘He found little similarity between the attitudes of Russian communists and the Communist Party of Great Britain. The former appeared cautious, believing in gradual development; they did not accept workers’ control.’

When Morrison was Home Secretary in January 1941 he proposed that the Daily Worker, the organ of the British Communist Party, which was then advocating a ‘revolutionary defeatist’ line on the war, should be banned by government decree. The Tory-dominated Cabinet agreed. Writing about the incident in his autobiography, Morrison commented: ‘Not unexpectedly there was no protest from Russia about the closing down of the Daily Worker. The Soviet Union admires bold and firm action.’ One state capitalist censor could quickly detect another.

Morrison was a social imperialist of the old Jimmy Thomas school. Visiting New York in 1946, he proclaimed: ‘We are friends of the jolly old Empire. We are going to stick to it ...’ He added, for good measure, ‘The monarchy is a real factor among cementing influences between Britain and the Commonwealth. The monarchy is a great institution.’

Morrison was also, by the same token, a passionate Zionist. ‘In Israel,’ he wrote in The Times in 1950, ‘the spirit of human service exists more sincerely and more in practice than in any other part of the civilised world and we are glad it has a Labour government.’

This devotion to a civilised democratic society extended to Ireland, where Morrison was a passionate supporter of the Orange cause. In July 1943, as Home Secretary, he addressed a meeting of the 30 Club where the crusted Orange monster, Sir Basil Brooke (later Lord Brookeborough) was the guest of honour.

Morrison praised the loyalty of Ulster as ‘almost aggressive in its nature’. ‘After the war,’ writes Mr Donoughue, ‘he continued to keep a protective eye on Ulster’s interests in the Labour Cabinet.’ An elected Parliament was at stake, after all, so why should a man like Morrison care about a million evicted Palestinians, or half a million oppressed Catholics?

In his private life, Morrison emerges from the book almost as hideous as he was in public. He was greedily ambitious, arrogant, sentimental, male chauvinist, mean. And a hypocrite to the end. ‘Several times,’ he told the Daily Mail on 22 June, 1959, ‘I could have accepted a viscountcy, but all my life I’ve been of the working class and that’s how I’d like to stay.’ Three months later, on 19 September, the Tory Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, announced the appointment of Lord Morrison of Lambeth.

All this makes unpromising material for hero-worship, but Mr Jones and Mr Donoughue, lecturers at the London School of Economics, do their best to idolise Morrison. Endless senior civil servants are wheeled out to prove that Morrison was the ‘ablest’ minister they ever dealt with (is it only an impression, or is it the case that all senior civil servants take the view that any minister about whom they happen to be interviewed was the ‘ablest they ever dealt with’?). We are left to marvel at Morrison’s ‘mastery of detail’, his ‘ability to command an argument’, his ‘organisational genius’.

For the authors, politics takes place within the square mile which includes the Houses of Parliament, Whitehall, all the ministries, and the London School of Economics. Not for them the tumultuous developments outside. Hardly a mention in the book of the great social upheavals which shook the period about which they write, no explanation of the downfall of the Macdonald government; wartime socialist revival; of post-war slumplessness. 

Politics for them is how ministers behave and respond, and Morrison suits them admirably. 

The only time Mr Donoughue seems to get upset with Morrison is when the latter offends the Foreign Office mandarins with his brusque manner. ‘He handled ambassadors in a casual and offhand way’ scolds Mr Donoughue. ‘He often received them – and kept them waiting – in his room at the House of Commons leaving the unfortunate but not misleading impression that his prime loyalty and interest lay there rather than with the Office.’ Egad, Sir, What next?

If this was just an enormous book by two precise dons about a right-wing Labour leader, that would be the end of the story. But it is not. The account of Morrison’s life is so comprehensible that, almost by accident, it tells us a thing or two about British Social Democracy.

Herbert Morrison represents, perhaps more than anyone else, British Social Democracy in its heyday. 

His political life was dominated by the belief that a better life for the dispossessed could be created by the election of Labour governments and councils.

Substantial changes were made to the workers’ advantage under Herbert Morrison-especially in London. Patients in LCC hospitals were much better off under Labour; the blind and mentally ill got a much better deal; schools were improved; classes were smaller, teachers better paid; ‘a great change came over the LCC parks’ - more baths were built; more swimming pools, gymnasia, refreshment places, paddling pools, athletic grounds, bowling greens. The briefest comparison between facilities of this kind for workers in London compared with, say, New York, measures the advances of Social Democracy under Morrison in London.

Similarly, the post-war Labour government did force through a Health Service in opposition to the Tories and the doctors; it did nationalise the mines and the railways (leading to better working conditions for the workers in both industries), it did wipe out the old Poor Laws, and establish a new system of industrial injuries compensation. It solved none of the contradictions of capitalism; it left capitalism stronger in 1951 than it had been in 1945. But a wide variety of reforms in a wide variety of areas were carried out by Herbert Morrison and his colleagues.

Above all, these reforms, and the hope of much more where they came from connected the Labour Party to the working class. 

Morrison understood better than any Labour leader does today that his brand of Social Democracy can only survive as long as it sustained the active interest of large numbers of workers. Morrison never stopped writing Labour Party propaganda. The number of leaflets, pamphlets, brochures which he organised, wrote and distributed from London Labour Party headquarters all the year round was prodigious. He put a premium on individual membership of ordinary workers in the Labour Parties. He organised choirs, dramatic societies, almost anything to sustain and excite the London Labour Party membership.

Above all, he realised the danger to his political aspirations of corruption. All his life he fought relentlessly against corruption in the Labour Party, especially in local government. LCC councillors during Morrison’s rule were subjected to the strictest discipline as to their relations with officials or contractors. Morrison himself never accepted any job with private enterprise, though he was offered literally hundreds. *

Throughout Morrison’s life, the results were obvious. 

In the 1930s, and, especially, in the 1940s, the British working class did respond, not just with votes, but with interest and involvement Herbert Morrison could not speak anywhere without attracting hundreds, often thousands of people. Any post-war meeting he addressed in South London was attended by an inevitable 1500. The crowds who came to hear him were almost incredible. During the 1950 General Election, he travelled to Yarmouth to speak to a mass rally of the National Union of Agricultural Workers, whose cause he had always espoused. A hundred thousand farm workers poured into Yarmouth from all over East Anglia to hear Herbert Morrison. A hundred thousand! Imagine a visit by today’s Labour deputy, Ted Short, to Yarmouth at election time to speak on the subject of farm workers. Short would be lucky to attract 10 farm workers to his meeting.

There is a vast gulf between the strength of Social Democracy in Herbert Morrison’s time and social democracy today. The gulf is not in aspirations. 

Judging by resolutions at Labour Party conferences, the Party’s aspirations last year at Blackpool (or the year before at Brighton) were just as grandiose as anything Herbert Morrison ever thought up. Indeed Morrison would have been shocked at the ‘shopping list’ of nationalisation proposals drawn up at those conferences.

Rather, the gap is in the connection between the aspirations of Labour politicians and the involvement of their rank and file. No amount of nationalisation resolutions at conference can mask the breathtaking apathy of Labour’s dwindling rank and file.

The constituency parties have been abandoned to hacks and careerists, and the MPs and councillors have no one to answer to. 

As a result, the entire Party has become infected with corruption. There is hardly a Labour MP who does not hold some ‘watching brief or ‘interest’ in industry or public relations to supplement his already vast annual salary; hardly a Labour council in the country free from the attention of rogues and speculators in private enterprise. The corruption is tolerated on a wide scale. One of the few MPs who has tried to clean his Labour Party up - Eddie Milne of Blyth (former seat of Lord Robens) - is being hounded out of his candidature. The process works both ways. 

Corruption grows because the rank and file either does not exist or does not ask questions. And the rank and file is increasingly sickened by the stench of corruption.

It is no good yearning, as Mr Jones tends to do, for the ‘good old days’ when Labour politicians like Herbert Morrison meant something to people, when Labour corruption was the exception, not the rule. The deterioration of Social Democracy has its roots in the politics of Herbert Morrison, and those like him. If what matters above all is the vote – if the vote paves the path to workers’ power, it follows that the most important contribution of workers to Labour is their vote. All other forms of labour mobilisation - strikes, demonstrations, agitation, education, organisation - inevitably become an embarrassment

Any Gallup Poll will show that all these things are ‘unpopular’. If the votes are to come to Labour, Labour must oppose strikes. It must not make socialist propaganda. It must not organise at the place of work.

When all these forms of mobilisation are systematically abandoned, as they have been by the Labour Party, there is nothing else to which workers can respond. There are no pamphlets, very few leaflets, no socialist propaganda, no factory organisation, no local organisation outside vote-collecting, no youth movement worthy of the name – nothing to do to help create a new society save vote for the next hack who comes along. The demobilisation of rank and file members is death to the Labour Party, but that demobilisation is an essential part of a political strategy whose central aim is to shift capitalist society through parliamentary endeavour.

Social democracy, in short, is its own grave-digger, and the pit is now deep and black. It is worth dwelling at length on the careers of illusionists like Herbert Morrison if only to harden our resolve to build socialism on the rocks of workplace organisation and direct action which Morrison so detested.

* This statement of fact speaks volumes - one major obstacle to his personal crusade to impose from above and relentlessly enforce rules and standards for behaviour and rigidly exacting codes of proper ethical conduct in Local Government authority bureaucracies - almost a contradiction  in terms, as a concept - often awash knee-deep with other people's money (PUBLIC Money) constantly being lost due to wastage, negligence, inefficiency  and incompetence, with little, if any, risk of public disclosure, or any real accountability or risk of suffering any negative consequence to funds having to be written-off as lost and unrecoverable due to stupidity, laizness or carelessness will always tend to have the further effect of encouraging all three of those habits of unprofessionalism, along with countless other such Corrupt and Corrupting Habits of Mind and other tendencies that the first three just opened up the door for.

Squandering money that belongs to someone else who is never going to come and look for it, or wonder whether you might have just stolen some or all of it, in a workplace environment that fails to negatively disincentivise thievery, by presenting them with little, if any fear of being caught, fear of being accused, whether correctly or whether unjustly), fear of engaging in theft, and so on, with rapid onset deterioration of morality in very short order.

And since such careers employ undersalaried, under-appreciated and largely unrecognised and unseen members of several of the most in demand of the skilled professions drawn from the deep, stagnant mass of the wider overall labourforce in which always accumulates a vast, bitter, obsequious corpus of mediocre, envious boring men, disillusioned with their boring, mediocre careers and their awkward, difficult marriages to their suddenly underwhelming and rapidly debe