Brian Pearce

Constant Reader:

Who Are the Tories?

(October 1959)

From The Newsletter, 3 October 1959.
Transcribed by Christian Hogsbjerg.

The Universities and Left Review and New Reasoner group deserve thanks for the excellent piece of election propaganda they have produced under the title Who Are The Tories? This pamphlet (1s. 3d. post free from 7 Carlisle Street, London, W.1.) does on a small scale, but up-to-date, what the book Tory MP did twenty years ago.

It shows in detail the link-ups between Tory politicians and big business, and how we are in fact ruled, economically and politically, by a small, closely-integrated clique of rich families. Besides details of business interests, such facts are shown as that one-third of the cabinet were at Eton and the same proportion of Etonians is found among the directors of the biggest banks and insurance companies; and that over half of the members of the government and the same proportion of banking and insurance magnates are members of either the Carlton, Brook’s or White’s Clubs. (‘Thus the likelihood that a member of the Government will eat his lunch in very select company – with a leading financier or industrialist – is very great.’)

The authors pay a generous tribute to the publications of the Labour Research Department, a Stalinist-controlled organization. I doubt, however, whether this pamphlet will be given any publicity by the Daily Worker, invaluable anti-Tory weapon though it is.

The fact that the Labour Party itself has not produced anything similar is doubtless connected with the circumstance, mentioned by Gerry Healy last week, that a lot of Labour candidates are themselves company directors.

Mene mene, tekel upharsin

In my neighbourhood some young adherents of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament have recently painted slogans on walls at strategic points, after the manner of ‘mindless militants’. This produced a pained protest from one of the local papers ...

Alec Grant, of Finchley Labour Party, has replied to this criticism in a letter to the paper in question, puncturing the pompous humbug. ‘The first recorded instance of the defacing of a wall with slogans written by an “unknown group” is in Chapter 5 of the book of Daniel. No doubt if the Finchley Press had been present at Belshazzar’s Feast you would have had an appropriate editorial on “anti-social behaviour.” (Civic Dinner Marred by Incident).’

The local paper had expressed particular indignation at the ‘defacing’ of a cemetery wall. Alec Grant points out that the slogan on that wall is flanked by hoardings advertising Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Player’s Bachelor Cigarettes – and the Finchley Press has never complained about them.

This practice must cease – and why

From the letter from Cardinal Pizzardo, secretary of the Holy Office, to Cardinal Feltin, Archbishop of Paris, explaining why priests must no longer be allowed to work in factories as a means of carrying out apostolic duties among the workers:

‘The worker-priest is not only plunged into a materialistic atmosphere deleterious to spiritual life and often even dangerous to his chastity, but is even led, in spite of himself, to think like his worker comrades on trade union and social matters and to take part in their struggles, which gravely involve him so that he is led to participate in the class struggle, which is inadmissable for a priest.’

What a confession of the truth of Marx’s materialist doctrine that ‘social existence determines social consciousness’! Doubtless the conditions of factory life do not themselves generate socialist ideas but only trade-unionist ones – but, as His Eminence here admits, they tend to generate those in the most unlikely brains, and that’s bad enough from the standpoint of the ruling class. Priests are not there to take part in the class struggle, on the workers’ side, but to turn the workers’ thoughts away from that struggle. ‘Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?’ (Matt, v,/nbsp;13).

Those special powers

A correspondent has asked me for a reference which he can use to convince some Communist Party friends that the French Communist MPs voted for the ‘special powers’ which were used to establish the military terror in Algeria. Probably other readers may have a use for such a reference. The vote took place in the Chamber of Deputies on March 12, 1956, and the government won by 445 to 76, the Communists voting with the government.

These facts (preceded by a brief report of the debate) can be chocked in a publication to be found in most public libraries, Keesings Contemporary Archives, in the volume for 1955–1956, on page 14,916.

Last updated on 13.10.2011