The Next Ten Years in British Social and Economic Policy

By G. D. H. Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
THE NEXT LABOUR GOVERNMENT

This book deals solely with immediate measures and not with Socialism in the abstract—A Labour Government is an imminent possibility—But it cannot attempt to establish Socialism at a blow—Importance of selecting the right issues for immediate action—Why this book does not discuss personalities—The Labour Party's official programme—What is Socialism?—Need for a re-definition in the light of post-war problems—Post- war stabilisation and its effects—The stabilisation of unemployment— The differences between the Labour 'right' and 'left' wings considered— How far are they real differences?—Communism in Great Britain—A negligible factor—The task facing the next Labour Government summed up.

It has been made perfectly clear, I hope, that my object in writing this book has been to discuss, not politics in the abstract, or Socialism as a theory of society, or even the working out of any complete scheme of economic reorganisation, but simply and solely the most important steps that can be taken within the next few years in order to begin straightening out the tangle of our economic affairs. My object has thus been purely practical, and I have dealt only with things that could be set on foot in the immediate future, if Great Britain had but a Government with the will to tackle the problem seriously, and if this Government had behind it a sufficient body of active and intelligent support. Exactly how soon such a situation is likely to arise it is impossible to say; but clearly the possibility of it is bound up with the political fortunes of the Labour Party. A Labour Government, with a clear majority at its back, might or might not make a frontal attack on the problems of poverty and unemployment; but clearly no other Government would be in the least likely to tackle them at all. It is a question of Labour or nothing.

It can, in any case, hardly be very long before the LabourParty

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