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International Socialism, Winter 1964/5


Barry Hindess

The New Right


From International Socialism, No.19, Winter 1964/5, p.28.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Labour’s New Frontiers
Peter Hall
Deutsch, 12s. 6d.

As the title suggests this is a collection of essays by theorists of the left or progressive wing of modern capitalism. The editor and several contributors write for Socialist Commentary and it is not difficult to believe that they point the direction in which the next Labour government will move. As befits a book written by socialists – the democratic brand – there is no mention of the working, or any other, class. Socialism for these people means economic growth and some income redistribution – scientific elitism plus parliamentary democracy.

The central themes are economic growth – even in the discussion of social security – and urban and regional planning. The essays on economic policy and incomes policy seem rather unrealistic and, particularly the latter, amusing. How, for example, can one argue that an incomes policy is essential and, at the same time, that the unions must be free to reject the policy? We can almost sympathise with John Corina’s attempts to avoid the contradiction. The essay on foreign policy is a less extreme version of Paul Johnson’s famous outbursts in the New Statesman – unpleasant but a fair prediction – while that on underdeveloped countries starts well but degenerates into liberal elitism.

As contributions to socialist thought these essays may be ignored. As an indication of the probable attitudes of the next government they are, on the whole, worth reading, but not always readable. Look at them in the local library.

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