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Raymond Challinor

Challinor’s Choice

(1 May 1969)

From Socialist Worker, No. 120, 1 May 1969, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by
Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

IN THE FIFTIES, when Labour right-wingers were advancing their theories, they attacked the idea that socialism was a question of taking the ownership and control of industry out of capitalist hands. They argued that socialism was simply about equality. This objective, said Anthony Crosland and others, could be achieved by monetary policy. Subsequently, into this framework they also placed the incomes policy.

It is one of those cruel paradoxes of history that those who talked of the need for equality have, when they achieved office, actually increased inequality. And, what is more, one of their spokesmen has openly admitted this. Harold Walker, Parliamentary Secretary at the Department of Employment and Productivity, was questioned about it in the House of Commons:

Mr Younger: How can the hon. Gentleman defend the idea that the government’s prices and incomes policy is intended to favour the lower-paid workers when agricultural workers get far less than the Ford workers and when the whole lot get less than the heads of the nationalised industries?

Mr Walker: It is not a primary function of the government’s prices and incomes policy to redistribute incomes.

At that point, one of the main arguments used by apologists for the incomes policy – remember the lower-paid workers, such as the nurses – vanished in a puff of smoke.


HAROLD WILSON has decided to abandon legislation to ‘reform’ the House of Lords. The parliamentary time thus saved will be used on his bill clobbering the trade unions.

Yet perhaps we should spare a thought for the aristocracy. Some while ago, the Sunday Telegraph did an analysis of the Upper House. It discovered that 40 per cent of their lordships had never worked in their lives. Another 40 per cent could only claim to be company directors, attending the occasional board meeting which, I am sure readers of this journal will agree, does not constitute full-time gainful employment.

One has only to visit the House of Lords to witness a pitiful spectacle. Many of its members have obviously given up all hope of ever finding a job. They lounge about utterly demoralised. The only time their lordships appear to evince any enthusiasm is when they are talking about the need for others to work harder and increase productivity. Yet they never set an example themselves.

Isn’t it a further injustice about Barbara Castle’s unjust bill that the House of Lords, which epitomises idleness, will pass this measure that will render hard-worked – indeed, frequently over-worked – trade unionists liable to stiff penalties if ever they stop their labours without permission?

Arms madness

WHILE THE GOVERNMENT makes its much-publicised cuts in the arms bill and yet, at the same time, military expenditure continues to rise, it is interesting to read some statistics provided by Robert Sheldon MP. He stated that spending on arms was 6.82 per cent of the gross national product in 1944 and 6.97 per cent last year.

Could there be any more striking indication of the government’s insanity than the fact that it is now spending proportionately more on the military than Churchill’s government did at the height of the Second World War?