As I Please

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Kind of Socialism II

Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the British Labour Party from 1955 until his untimely death in 1963 is perhaps best known now for being the first leader of the party to push for the amendment of the strictly socialist Clause IV, first incorporated into the party constitution in 1918, which briefly sets out the general objectives of Labour in the governing of the United Kingdom. It was left to Tony Blair thirty-six years later to revive the push, sucessfully this time, for amending the clause in 1995. As the following selection makes clear, while both leaders were opposed to the clause in its original form, Gaitskell was far more committed to equality than the present UK prime minister. Imagine Blair saying the following:
The central socialist ideal is equality. By this I do not mean identical outcomes or uniform habits and tastes. But I do mean a classless society - one in which the relations between all people are similar to those hitherto existing within one social class; one in which though there are differences between individuals, there are no feelings or attitudes of superiority and inferiority between groups; one in which although some jobs are paid more than others, the differentials are based on generally acceptable criteria - skill, responsibility, effort, danger, dirt, etc.; one in which though people develop differently, there is equal opportunity for all to develop.
(From "Public Ownership and Equality", Socialist Commentary, June 1955)


Post a Comment

<< Home