J. T. Murphy
(Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Central Hackney)

Yellow Politics in a Yellow Book

Source: Workers’ Life, February 10, 1928
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

THERE was a time when the liberal Party tabooed “State interference” with, industry. There was a time when the Liberal Party stood for the employers and employees “settling their differences” “without State interference.”

But these times are long gone by. The yellow politics of the “Yellow Book” of the Liberal Party of to-day proves that most demonstratively. The Liberal Party has “advanced” from the devil-may-care policy of its youth to the most sedate paternalism of age.

It now proposes to look after everybody and everything, to “rationalise” us all. Nobody need worry.


Are you the head of a trust? Then the Liberal Party will help you to keep it going better than you can do it yourself.

Are you a worker employed by the trust? Then keep smiling. You can have a legal minimum wage, a works council, improved machinery for negotiations about wages, and a bit of profit sharing if the trust is a big one.

Are you an employer? Then the yellow men will give you more information about the bad position of British economy, show you how to become part of a trust, give you lectures on how to get more successful peace conferences with your workmen.

Are you a consumer? Then cheerio. There are lower prices for you, cheaper beer and ’bacca, perhaps, when the other things work well. There shall be adequate powers for dealing with monopolies and more opportunities to invest your “small savings.” Emphasis on the “small,” please.

Are you a ratepayer? Then you stand a chance, too. Indeed, everybody is going to get something without anybody getting hurt. Indeed, so beautiful is the programme, with its harmonising virtues, guaranteed to stop the nasty class war, that anybody would be excused for thinking this yellow book of yellow, politics to be a publication of the Labour Party.


That, again, shows how far the Liberal party has “progressed,” for it is not so long ago—1920, to be precise—that Mr. Lloyd George, the godfather of the yellow book, appealed for a united front of the Tory Party and the Liberal Party against the Labour Party.

He warned everybody that “civilisation is in jeopardy”; “this country is more top-heavy than any country in the world, and if it begins to rock, the crash here, for that reason, will be greater than in any other land.” To prevent the crash, Tories and Liberals had to unite.

And now things have changed a bit. The Liberal Party is not so fond of the Tory Party, and seeks a new love, and flirts with the Labour Party. And the Labour Party is a little older than it was in 1920. Then it was quite a young thing, guilty of such daring departures from Constitutionalism as to form “Councils of Action” to threaten a general strike to prevent war on Soviet Russia. It was in the midst of all kinds of class war, adventures.

But the years have flown by. The daring recklessness of those days has given place to the “harmony conferences,” to the proclamation of the Labour Party, by its leaders, as the banner beater of Liberalism to the open invitation to Liberals to enter into the Labour Party as the new home of Liberalism.

The meaning of the yellow politics of the yellow book of the Liberal Party is as clear as anything can be.

It is the programme for the coalition of the Liberal Party and Labour Party for which the leaders of these Parties are working.

Whether the formal declaration of a coalition takes place before or after an election matters little; the political fact is there, in the policies, now being pursued by the Liberal and Labour leaders.


Examine this book, and there is sufficient recognition of State and collective interference with private property rights to meet with the approval even of the Clyde “Socialists.” The “Forward” literally gloats over the “admissions.”

The Liberal Party never pretended to be a Party of the working class. The Labour Party leaders have abandoned whatever claims they ever put forward in this connection and have become a National Party (within the Labour Party) for the defence and development of capitalism.

This yellow book of yellow politics is the programme of a class collaboration policy already embraced by the Blackpool Conference of the Labour Party. To all the principal features of this report the Labour Party, leaders will offer no alternative.

The only possible alternative must come, and can only come, from a Party of the class war. And this alternative we have given a thousand times, and will continue to give it, viz.: the prosecution of the class war until the working class victoriously suppresses the capitalist class and becomes the owner and controller of the means of production.

All other “solutions” of which the yellow book is a type are but the instruments of the capitalist class for the continued suppression and enslavement of the working class.