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30,176. The Labour Party’s victory in the election of 1945 put in hand a visionary project by Sir William Beveridge. (Great Britain & England & Labour Party) Michael Wood, The Great British Story: A People’s History 8/8
44,637. I think for too long the Labour Party has viewed television as our persecutor; well I want to use television as our tool, our servant. (Television & Labour Party) Peter Mandelson, televised interview
49,298. The trade unions and the Labour Party ... failed miserably. Instead of giving concrete support, and calling upon workers to take industrial action, they did nothing. (Industrial Action & Strike & Trade Union & Labour Party & Miners) Arthur Scargill
78,404. The trouble with the Labour Party leadership and the trade union leadership, they’re quite willing to applaud millions on the streets of the Philippines or in Eastern Europe, without understanding the need to also produce millions of people on the streets of Britain. Arthur Scargill
49,427. We just have to be crystal clear that if we were to abandon all the reforms made over some very painful years in the Labour party, we would be consigned back to opposition. (Opposition & Labour Party) Patricia Hewitt
78,387. Labour, on the other hand, respects the law above all other considerations. Its own supporters, its fighters and its martyrs must suffer in the interests of a ‘neutral’ law which imposed the suffering in the first place.
Labour behaves in this ridiculous way because its leaders hate the idea of class struggle.
Crosland likes to imagine that capitalist society can be checked and changed by well-educated Labour ministers giving orders to well-educated civil servants and laying down laws to be carried out by well-educated judges.
So he and those who think like him have to order their supporters to obey those judges and those civil servants. Any revolt against the law or the civil servants has to be suppressed.
As each revolt is suppressed, so the class power of the institutions grow greater until it snuffs out the Labour politicians themselves.
In the interests of gradual, legal, constitutional reform, Crosland and his henchmen are digging graves for reform and for themselves.
The stand of the 11 councillors at Clay Cross represented the last embers of organised resistance to capitalism within the British Labour Party. The embers have now been doused – by the Labour leaders. We must build a new fire with entirely different fuel. (Labour & Left Wing) Paul Foot, article April 1974 'Clay Cross Double-Crossed'
49,606. Rich and powerful people have always cherished their bogeymen. They like to reduce what Marx and Engels called ‘the spectre of communism’ to human shape: to a personality who can be pilloried in their Press and patronised at their table. For the unfortunates who get singled out for this honour, life is hard. The assailants are well-practised in the art of character assassination and blackmail. Every public statement of their prey, however harmless, can rapidly be translated into the language of someone who rapes nuns on Fridays and nationalises a bank every day before breakfast.
Tony Benn has played the role of chief bogeyman for the rich men of Britain for a good time now. He has been treated perhaps more shamefully even then his predecessors in the Parliamentary Labour Left, men like John Wheatley. George Lansbury and Aneurin Bevan. In the past year, the abuse has risen to a crescendo, deafening even his most tenacious attempts to argue back. Yet its effect is not all as intended. For as the society splits wider apart, so the abuse from the halls of the powerful boosts their bogeyman’s radical and socialist credentials ...
It is worth saying at once that Tony Benn’s credentials for Chief Bogeyman of the Tories are a little difficult to understand. For eleven out of the last fifteen years he has been a loyal and for the most part silent member of a Labour government which has systematically torn up the pledges on which it was elected. (Socialism & Labour Party & Blair & Left Wing) Paul Foot, article March 1980 'The Labour Left’s Brightest Star'
49,617. Both experiments have called themselves socialist (though neither Communist nor Labour parties are inclined to use the word any more). Both have made a mockery of the planned economy and a sick joke of equality. The reason is simple. In both cases ‘socialism’ was attained or attempted without the involvement of the exploited class. The soul of socialism, the self-emancipation of the working class and the democratic control of society from below, was missing. What masqueraded as socialism was either state capitalism, or ‘reforms’ which left capitalism intact, if not stronger. (Socialism & Labour Party & Communism & Left Wing) Paul Foot, The Case for Socialism ch5
76,968. Then the IMF, in the shape of brilliant young men from investment banks in Massachusetts, made their final demand. They wanted prescription charges imposed on medicines. Wilson’s ministers begged, wheedled, and offered all sorts of other cuts in exchange. Free medicine, they whined, was the sacred cow of the Labour Party. Of all the policies they bad introduced when they first came into office four years previously, they were proudest of their removal of the health charges. The great Aneurin Bevan, along with Harold Wilson, had resigned from a former government on the issue. Could they please, they implored, be spared the health charges?
The IMF, sensing its certain victory, and knowing well how important it was to humiliate the government in the eyes of its socialist supporters, stuck firm. Though the health charges were only peanuts in the context of total government spending – some £8 million+ – it insisted on them. The Labour ministers surrendered. A great portrait of them with their hands in the air should be unveiled at Labour Party headquarters and dedicated to all those who suppress their socialist opinions so that the next Labour government can do the ‘little things’. (IMF & Health Service & Medicine & Labour Party & Left Wing) ibid. ch6
78,395. How far they have come, these Labourites, from the hopes of their origins! How mean and miserable are their aspirations compared even with what their most right-wing supporters were saying thirty or forty years ago!
… This huge slippage in aims, aspirations and policies is a warning of what is to come. At no time since the war has Labour called the tune in politics. Throughout, it has responded to events, shamefacedly shuffled off what it now calls the ‘baggage’ of its heritage, and settled for a new society which, in all but the faces on the government front bench, is largely indistinguishable from the old one. (Labour Party & Left Wing) ibid.
78,396. The decline in Labour’s aspirations and the weakness of its policies become, by this token, positive advantages. People say (without even realising how cynical they sound) that ‘if Labour promises a little, it won’t sell out.’ They stress again and again that they will be satisfied with ‘just a little’. They denounce their few socialist critics as saboteurs of practical and possible reform.
At the root of all these arguments is the notion that the political spring which waters society is parliament; that political measures, reformist or reactionary, all flow from parliament and therefore nothing can be done to emancipate labour unless parliament is won for Labour. If Labour is elected, laws and measures flow from parliament which are friendly to labour. If Labour loses, those laws and measures will be hostile to labour. It follows that everything must be subordinated to securing a Labour government. (Labour & Left Wing) ibid.
78,397. There is absolutely nothing inevitable about reforms under a Labour government. From the moment the votes are counted and a Labour government is declared in office, a huge war is launched on that government by the class with economic power. The war takes many different forms: investment strikes by the holders of capital, a run on sterling organised by the treasurers of multinational companies, violent campaigns in the media, rebellions by the military, the police and the judiciary. There have been plenty of examples of all of these since 1946: the runs on sterling in 1966 and 1975 changed the whole course of the Labour governments then recently elected; the judges staged a revolt over comprehensive schools and over trade union blacking in 1976; the media campaigned viciously against Harold Wilson in 1967; the military in Northern Ireland refused orders from a Labour government in 1974. (Labour & Left Wing) ibid.