“Ramsay MacDonald Socialism”

  1. “Ramsay Mac Donald Socialism”

Mr. MacDonald was seated alone at his desk in the Prime Minister’s room at the House of Commons when I entered. Before him lay a deep pile of Foreign Office papers. Tired, grave, intensely preoccupied, he rose, smiled, shook hands, turned and drew low a long, wide blind to break a shaft of afternoon sunshine that had fallen across his mass of documents. We sat down, he looked inquiringly at me, and I asked him these questions:

“What is ‘Ramsay MacDonald Socialism’? What is it as an emotional phenomenon, as a creed, and as a policy? In other words, what is it spiritually, intellectually, and practically?”

Silent and thoughtful for a moment, Mr. MacDonald, speaking deliberately, replied as follows:

“In the domain of emotion, of conscience, in the spiritual domain, Socialism is a religion of popular service—a deep enthusiasm for the physical, mental, and moral well-being of the human family. In the domain of intellect, of thought, of theory, it is a scientific program of social betterment. In the domain of practice, up to the present, it is a gradually developing educational, legislative, and administrative movement in the direction of a realization of its ideals.”

“Is there anything atheistic or anti-Christian about it?”

Striving For Human Betterment.

“On the contrary, it is based on the Gospels. It signifies a reasoned and resolute effort to Christianize government and society. Who denies that there is an appalling mass of poverty in the world? Who denies that poverty is both an individual and a social evil? Who is not conscious that poverty is piteous? Socialism is an enemy of poverty. It holds that not charity, but social reconstruction, is the remedy for poverty.

“Materialism, vulgarity, assertion without sense, domination lacking fineness of mind and soul, forgetfulness of human value—Christianity hates them all, and Socialism hates them all. Socialism would like to make a considerate man, a sympathetic man, a generous man, a gentleman, of every man in the world. If it could do this, it would make a Christian of every man in the world, because these qualities carry us away beyond themselves.

“Our age is an amazing age, but it is not a Christian age. Our conquests are conquests of knowledge; we need the conquests of culture. We have learned to fly physically; we need to learn to fly spiritually. Our great achievements have given us a temperature. We want cooling off. We want to relearn the old lesson of joy in a quiet Sunday. Too many of us regard the Sabbath as a day of burden. Too many of us incline to the ‘brighter London Sunday,’ to the ‘Monte Carlo Sunday,’ to the Sunday of frivolity and of spiritual sterility.

“Socialism is serious. Socialism would restore society to moderation and reflection. It is for purity in the individual life, for purity in the family life, and for intelligence, honor, and courage in politics. We have a shallow world. In it are too many bauble-chasers—people made about ‘honors,’ gold braid, and things to hang in the lapels of their coats, and with scarcely a thought for the only really important matter—the appetite to do hard unassuming work, human quality. Against all this folly Socialism is in revolt. If I can make you understand that, you will understand what is, perhaps, the fundamental spiritual fact about Socialism. Socialism, radically, is an ardent longing for an effectual affirmation of the dignity of humanity—a dignity that cannot be dissociated from service. What else is Christianity?”

Why Socialism Is in Revolt.

“Socialism, as you interpret it, has no faith in violence?”

“Socialism is sanity, not insanity. It is humanism, not brutalism. It must by its nature abhor violence. Pre-eminently it is intellectual and moral. It fights only with intellectual and moral weapons. It persuades people into its ranks; it does not knout or club them in.”

“In the light of this Socialism, or Gospel of Labor, how do communism, sovietism and such movements either of the Left or Right look?”

How Socialism Views Communism.

“They look bad. They are wrong—all wrong. Socialism is the very antithesis of tyranny. It believes no more in a proletarian dictatorship than in a dictatorship of the so-called elite. Socialism would break every fetter that binds the minds or limbs of honest women and men.”

“Socialism commonly is assumed to imply anti-individualism.”

“An error—a complete error. Socialists are the greatest defenders of individualists. They are the only intelligent individualists—if an individualist is one who respects individuality. What is the good of an individualism that does not free the individual from conditions that prevent him from being an individual? Personal liberty is individualism, and it is the only conceivable individualism. Socialism is for real, not fictitious, personal liberty. Personal liberty of the real sort can come in no way except through a scientific social organization that considers human personality first and above everything else, and does not enslave it, as is now the case, to the owners of the financial and the industrial machine.”

“Do you deem Socialists the aristocrats of political thought?”

Socialists as Pioneer Thinkers.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Socialists are doing the pioneer political and social thinking of the world. It is one of their characteristics that they have an enormous respect for the human mind as contrasted with the human fist. Our old parties do not think in any living sense. They stand for interests and shibboleths and traditions. They are the parties of the status quo and sticking plaster.

“Erect in the presence of their obvious and admitted failure to create a decently ordered civilization, they go on mouthing shibboleths. They have not given the world peace. They have not given it comfort. They have not given it education. They have left much of it ill fed, ill clothed, and ill shod. To millions of workers—persons who constitute the foundation of the social structure—they have not given tolerable homes, and to others in hundreds of thousands they have given no homes of any kind. Yet they never tire of assuring us that they are commissioned of Heaven to lead and to govern their fellow men. And now that I am in office they try to attest their virtue by elaborate comments to prove that in five months I have failed to undo their generations of rule.”

“You believe the Labor Party to be in all respects greater than the other parties?”

Characteristics of the Labor Party.

“Yes, I do. And I will tell you why. It knows more than the other parties know about man as a man, rather than as an economic unit. It has this greater knowledge for the reason that it has been closer to man than the other parties have been. Man and his struggles have been the Labor Party’s university. Our party knows that when you are dealing with matters of political economy you are dealing with the human soul. Now, the human soul is a very big and comprehensive thing. It is much broader than is Conservatism or Liberalism. Only Socialism is wide enough to accommodate the human soul. And, unless you accommodate the human soul—give it plenty of room—you cannot build a successful society.”

“And why not?”

“Because you will have failed to capture, you will have failed to vindicate, that elusive and inestimable thing—that very life-principle of individual and social development—liberty.”

“I have noticed that Sir Robert Horne, a fellow-Scotsman of yours, accuses you Socialists of poetry.”

The Poetry of Common Life.

“Right. And no greater compliment could be paid us. We are poets. There is no good politics without poetry. There is no good anything without poetry. Poetry lies at the heart of human life. Every urchin in the street is a poet. Politics without poetry is barren and disastrous. It is the incurable defect of the old parties that they have no poetic consciousness. If they had had this magic possession, they would not have made such a mess of things, for they would have had some conception of the human material with which they were dealing. What the world needs more than it needs anything else is a political and social Shakespeare.”

“One would gather from what you say that Socialism is especially keen on art and the classics.”

“It is. It is keen on art and the classics because they are humanistic. They humanize man and humanize society. Loveliness in all its forms, material and immaterial, comes within the sympathy and the faith of Socialism. People need meat and drink. They need raiment. They need house room. But none of those things is worth while unless people cherish and feed their souls. No person and no society can perform a more important public service than by patronizing art and classical culture. Even if a country has great poverty and great unemployment, as, unhappily, our country has, its citizens should not withhold their money from the purchase of pictures, nor from anything else that delights the hearts and elevates the minds of young and old. It is a cardinal tenet of Socialism that if we can save the souls of people we can save them altogether.”

“You refer to Capital in the role of patron of aesthetics and culture. One has heard that Socialism condemns Capital.”

Socialism’s Attitude Toward Capital.

“Another error. Socialists want to conserve Capital. They are second to none in their appreciation of its worth. If they disliked it, they would let it go on destroying itself. They want Capital conserved and saved from abuse. They want it better used so that income may be better distributed. They want it made servant and not master. And they look forward to sufficient communal wealth to supply all those facilities of art, learning, and leisure which highly civilized communities require.

“It is not Capital, it is not wealth, that Socialism condemns. It condemns capitalism as we have known it hitherto. It condemns cashism. It condemns the system that involved the people of this country in conditions so bad that not only the victims themselves, but humanists like Carlyle and Ruskin, revolted against it. You will remember those conditions—conditions created by the capitalism that came into power with the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century—produced such great reputations as those of Robert Owen, Lord Shaftesbury, and Samuel Plimsoll, who went with all their strength to the rescue of the victims.

“It was in those conditions that Socialism had its birth. It was born in England, not in Germany; Marx merely devoted his great critical powers to its fuller definition—and often misled it. I do not deny that capitalism was an improvement on what went before. But it is only an epochal feature of progress. Moral condemnation is therefore out of place. We have to go on perfecting our social life. If we remain where we are the domination of capitalism will crush us out.

Inhumanity of Capitalism.

“Capitalism, cashism, is unhuman and inhuman. That is what is the matter with it. It is unhuman, whereas all the great problems of mankind are human problems. Machinery, markets, profits—capitalism is obsessed by them. It has not a spark of consciousness of the moralities. Mind you, I do not say this of capitalists; I say it of the system. To Socialists, the workingman—whether he work with his muscles or with his mind—is not a mere embodiment of economic potentiality. He is not merely the source of a commodity—labor-power and skill—to be bought and sold at market rates.

“No; in Socialist feeling and thought, the manual or mental laborer is a human being. He is a creature of emotions and ideas and a great range of interests and powers wholly outside the industrial and economic sphere. We regard every man first as a man and second as an economic factor. This does not mean at all that we favor laziness, slackness, low industrial efficiency, mental and moral slovenliness. Quite the contrary. To deal with a man first as a man—and by ‘man,’, of course I, mean both sexes—is not only to please him, but to stimulate him to the maximum height of his capacities.

Not Merely an Economic Factor.

“Even Toryism, to some extent, learned the political wisdom, if not the moral duty of treating men as men. Great numbers of workers have voted for Toryism. Do you know why? Because of the socialistic sentiments and acts of Tories. In the measure that Toryism combated with success the evils of our overaggressive and unfeeling capitalism it won the confidence and the suffrage of the working class. In ever-increasing numbers the workers are coming to realize that the true banner of enlightened and humane government is not in the hands of the Tories. That is the reason the Labor Party is getting more powerful every day.”

“Your opponents, I observe, assert that you are out to destroy the economic machine in Great Britain.”

Getting Socialism Under Way.

“Oh, yes; they assert that. They assert a lot of things that are false or idiotic. Some of them are ignoramuses and some electioneerers. These electioneerers, unable to make further use of the vote-catching cry, ‘Hang the Kaiser!’ are making a scarecrow of Socialism for their party purposes. They are not frightening the country much, and as time goes on they will frighten it still less. British Socialists are not wreckers in any sense—not destroyers, but builders. They are out to build a greater and happier human society in this old home of freedom-loving men.

“We are going to carry out our program, but we are not going to do it ‘while the car waits.’ Speaking of cars, you know they are not set in normal motion abruptly. One does not start a car suddenly unless one wishes to break the machine. One starts the engine, releases the brake, engages ‘low,’ and lets in the clutch softly. As speed is gathered, one after another the higher gears are engaged, until the car is running sweetly on ‘top.’ There you have our idea of the way to set Socialism running on the highway of political and social practice. However much we should like to start on ‘top,’ and instantly be off at a merry pace, we know it cannot be done.

“Some people appear to regard Socialism as a brand new thing—an isolated, rigid, fully-worked-out, finished thing—waiting to be applied in toto all at once. They conceive of it as standing behind the wings, completely dressed, elaborately made up, ready suddenly to take on the stage the place vacated with equal suddenness by a previous actor. It is no such thing. Socialism is already on the stage. It already is playing its part in the drama of progress. But it is steadily qualifying for a more important role.

“Socialism’s work so far has been that of a defender of the State, and of the lives of the citizens, against encroachments and spoliations by capitalism. Its keen sense of corporate or communal morality has been forcing into law such recognitions of the rights of men as workmen’s compensation, protection of the woman and the child worker, municipal enterprise, the co-operative movement in its entirety. It is futile to argue that capitalism produced any of these humane reforms. They are not its children in any sense or degree. By no possibility could it beget such children. In spirit and in principle these reforms are as far from capitalism as is Christian civilization from savagery. When the capitalist devotes his energy and his money to such things, it is not capitalism he is practicing; it is Socialism.”

“What is your attitude to the ca’ canny principle?”

“I am against it. I am for energy. I am for hard thinking and for hard work. Socialism is not the father of ca’ canny. Capitalism is the father of ca’canny. It would pay only the wages that organized labor could squeeze out of it. Labor’s natural tendency was to say, ‘We will give you only the service you can squeeze out of us.’ There is mutuality in human relations. You can have a mutuality of unpleasantness and of grudging work, or you can have a mutuality of sympathy and of service. It is this latter toward which Socialism is moving.”

“Would Socialism involve a huge bureaucracy?”

“Socialism means a huge bureaucracy only in the minds and mouths of those who either misunderstand or choose to misrepresent it. We have no notion of running British industry from Whitehall. Our form of control is not in the least revolutionary; our whole conception of changes deemed desirable is evolutionary. Existing arrangements would be followed in industry except that the men representing the workers—the management, the technicians—would get their jobs by reason of demonstrated ability in less responsible posts. Representative users, also, would have a voice in management. Co-ordination and co-operation would take the place of self-regarding competition.

“Socialists are not dogmatists. They have no disposition to maltreat facts to fit them into theories. We are patient explorers and pioneers trying to make roads along which the people may go from the less to the more perfect. We may not think, and do not think, precisely as did our grandfathers. I mean there is a new as well as an old school of Socialism. We belong to the new. We have the same vision of human brotherhood, the same conception of right, but we have better plans for translating this vision and this conception into a going political and social concern.”

“You have no class consciousness?”

Opposed to Class Consciousness.

“None. Our opponents are the people of class consciousness. They believe in, and seek to perpetuate, a privileged class. For class consciousness we want to substitute community consciousness. We think all the people belong to a seamless society. Any other kind of society is relatively weak and insecure. We did not create class war. Capitalism produced, and always will produce, class war, just as thistles will continue to produce thistles.”

“Your conception of Socialism is democratic?”

“Socialism is not only democracy; it is the only democracy. Our old parties, the Conservatives and Liberals, are only partly democratic. In other words, in their nature, they are oligarchic. They do not stand for rule of the people by the people; they stand for rule of the people by a favored section of the people. Socialism along among extant political and social theories represents the idea of pure democratic sovereignty. No people can be purely democratic until it has perfect control over all its interests and destinies. Ungoverned industrialism, for instance, and democracy are incompatible.”

“What was your particular meaning when you stated, in one of your public addresses that a lack of general intelligence prevented the Labor Party from doing all it wanted to do for society?”

Bringing Change by Development.

“Well, the nation needs a lot of educating before it can understand and fully accept Socialist principles. It is, indeed, a matter of education with all of us. We know perfectly well that something very serious is wrong with our social organization; how to put it right we can learn only by study and experiment. We leaders in the Socialist movement are students and experimenters. Scores of government reports on factories and mines, on towns, on housing, on the moral and social conditions of the people, show how great is the national need for students and experimenters.

“Revolution in Russia taught us a great lesson. It taught us that revolution is destruction and disaster and nothing more. If I may quote from one of my recent articles, the destruction we propose is the sort of destruction which takes place when a caterpillar becomes a chrysalis, and the chrysalis a butterfly; the same kind of destruction as went on inside feudalism when the industrial revolution was being matured; the destruction which marked factory legislation, unemployment legislation, the invasion of municipal enterprise on the field of private enterprise. Our ‘destruction’ is merely that of replacing the worse with the better, and doing so scientifically and stage by stage.”

“Do you still hold, as you did in 1913, that nationalization of lands, mines, and railways is the best means of curing social unrest in England?”

Nationalization of Lands.

“That is the next stage in evolution.”

“Can nationalization be attained here without awaiting similar movements in the Dominions and in other countries?”

“Yes. We must press on here—sanely, as I have said, but unsleepingly. Bit by bit we must unfold our policy, and get for it the support of the electors, for we are working under a system of representative democracy. Electors do not vote for abstractions. They do not vote for Individualism, or Socialism, or Christianity. None of these ever can become a true political issue. People vote on definite proposals. Socialism has definite proposals to bring forward, and only as it wins the confidence of the electorate can it put these proposals into operation.

“Our constructive scheme touches all the social interests of the population—unemployment, education, housing, agriculture, management of industry, banking and credit, taxation, international affairs, and municipal policy. Some of them may baffle us at first. We must try again. With all of them we shall deal as expeditiously as we can. Nationalization will not be carried through with a sweep, as in Russia. That would be an antic, and we have no faith in antics.

“Some industries, like those of the coal mines and the railways, are now ripe for nationalization. Land—the use to which it is put and the rents derived from it, especially the new increments of socially-created land values—is a matter of immediate State concern. Money’s power over business and politics calls for prompt action by the community, employers as well as workmen. Such experiments as that of the Birmingham Municipal bank should be extended, with a State bank in supreme control. I am speaking of aims; methods would be determined by wise planning and careful experimentation.”

“You Socialists are anti-Protectionist?”

Socialism Stands for Free Trade.

“Decidedly. So are the British electors, as has been shown by every election since Joseph Chamberlain launched his Tariff Reform campaign more than twenty years ago.”

“One hears some talk of uneasiness in the Dominions respecting your attitude toward the principle of imperial solidarity.”

“Such talk turns upon the policy of the Socialist Government with reference to inter-Empire Preference and the Singapore dockyard. In neither case is there the slightest justification for the talk. We Socialists yield to none as believers in the British Commonwealth of Nations, and as champions of its consolidation and defense. We cannot allow the democratic gains of the past to be attacked by any form of barbarism without putting up a defense.

“When the Government of which I am the head decided against Imperial Preference, it was thinking of the solidarity of the British Commonwealth, and endeavoring to strengthen the foundations of that solidarity. We do not believe that any Protectionist mechanism whatever will tend to bind the Commonwealth more firmly together. Any such mechanism would be constrictive at one point or another, and, as we British certainly ought to know, empires are not held together by constriction. Protectionist schemes are parasitic schemes—schemes to give some one artificial benefits at the expense of someone else. We are against them. We are convinced their influence would be, not to integrate, but to disintegrate our Commonwealth of Nations.”

“What do you consider the best cement of empire?”

Liberty to Preserve the Empire.

“Liberty. Its binding power far transcends that of any system of tariffs within the range of the wit of man. To that I add a common human purpose.”

“And about Singapore?”

“With reference to Singapore, I again would emphasize the fact that we are co-ordinationists. We desire to co-ordinate the defense forces of Britain. We desire to co-ordinate them in finance, in policy, and in strategy. We have not a doubt that the closest possible knitting together of the British States is best for them and best for the world. It follows that our decision against an extension of the Singapore dockyard at this time—please bear in mind that we already have a great dockyard at Singapore, and the question at issue was one, not of building, but of extension—was not at all, in our judgment, a decision out of accord with the interests of imperial unity.

“Let me explain it. In the first place, I should say our decision was not influenced in the least by the Washington naval agreement. That agreement left us quite free to extend Singapore. What we did was based on other grounds. Singapore undoubtedly is a strategic position of immense importance in the Pacific. It were were contemplating war we should develop it for naval operations of the first magnitude. But we are not contemplating war, and we shall not contemplate war unless driven to it by external forces over which we have no control.

“We are contemplating peace, and we give our great world neighbors credit for a similar disposition. Naturally, therefore, in all we do we wish to furnish every prudent evidence of our pacific desires and intentions. We feel we can furnish such evidence, such prudent evidence, in connection with Singapore. We feel so after a very thorough exploration of the whole question. International confidence and co-operation, reduced armaments, and a stable reign of reason in the world—the core of British foreign policy—would not have been forwarded, but would have been set back, if our acts at Singapore had reflected an expectation of war rather than a hope of peace.

Working to Maintain Peace.

“Are we making a bold move? Some think so. But is not world neighborliness worth some risk? Is all our heroism to be reserved for war, and none to ber exhibited in the cause of peace? Besides, the risk is not so terrifying as certain of our critics suggest. We have, at any rate, a short time—a limited number of years—during which we can be sure no war will overtake us. I am persuaded that we should use a year or two of this time in endeavoring to establish, or to pave the way for establishing, the ascendency of morals over militarism in this world.”

“You are an actualist?”

“Yes. I believe in dealing with situations as they are today, rather than in elaborating abstractions upon hypothetical conditions that may or may not arise a dozen or a score of years hence—especially when these elaborations involve heavy expenditures of money and retard the movement for disarmament.”

“You deem the present moment the right moment to strike hard for peace?”

Striking Hard for Peace.

“Pre-eminently. Immediately after a great war, when peoples are full of loathing for war, when they passionately yearn for peace, when they are exhausted, when they are wise—then is the time to get on with your peace work. Memories of war, like many other memories, fade soon. New blood arrives on the scene. Old suspicions and fears revive, and, almost before you even dimly realize its approach, a fresh horror of bloodshed and destruction is upon you.”

“You are a nationalist?”

“Heart and soul. There is something very tender and beautiful in the love of one’s country. But a man who believes his wife is the best in his street does not make that a reason for fighting duels with his neighbors. I do not believe in running nationalism too hard. I do not believe in running it to the danger of the general interests of mankind. There is no reason for doing anything of that sort. Nationality, fully developed and justly guided, is nothing but a blessing to humanity.”

“You have unfaltering faith that Anglo-French friendship will last?”

Full Faith in French Friendship.

“If I had not, I should despair of the salvation of European civilization.”

“Are Anglo-American relations entirely satisfactory?”

“Entirely. And nothing will be left undone by our Government to keep them so.”

“You intend to back up the League of Nations with all your personal and official strength?”

“I do. I hope personally to attend the opening of the assembly of the League at Geneva in September, and there will be other British representatives. It is the intention of the French Prime Minister also to attend, and I hope there will be many other first-rank statesmen in attendance. It is the purpose of my Government to use the League as the main instrument for brining about those international conditions which are necessary to tranquillity, and to all the great human interests that hinge upon tranquillity.”

“What is your idea of the duty of powerful nations relative to the League?”

Supporting the League of Nations.

“I think it is their duty to help it. I want to see the great peace union complete. It is humanity’s concern, and no great nation is likely to hold itself morally irresponsible in a matter of concern to humanity. I do not mean that any nation should lose its freedom over the League; I mean rather that all nations should exercise their freedom on behalf of the League. Britain did not lose her freedom when she identified her prestige and energy with the League. No member State did. Every nation should help, but help in its own way. It is essential to national independence, to popular control over policy, that nations do everything they do in their own way. But doing things in one’s own way is a very different matter from not doing them at all.

“I think America should help the League, and I think she will, in her own time and way. It is not for us to hurry or admonish her. Her intelligence and moral force are needed in the world. They would be powerful factors for good. Already, though not fully and officially, the Republic is watching, helping, co-operating, in Europe. I thank her. We do not want her to entangle herself, and so to diminish her usefulness to civilization. But we do want to see her great strength and authority systematically and steadily applied to the solution of the problems with which are bound up the prosperity, happiness and peace of the world. How to do that she knows far better than any outsider can tell her.”

MacDonald the Statesman

By Hal O’Flaherty

The genius of Ramsay MacDonald is revealed more fully in the interview which he has granted Edward Price Bell than in any of his speeches or printed works. Since I came to England some years ago, I have heard among all classes vaguely worded pleas for a change in a system that has failed to fulfill hopes and aspirations. Ramsay MacDonald has voiced for his countrymen their desires. He has put into words what has been in many minds for years.

It may be said without exaggeration that Ramsay MacDonald is a statesman of extraordinary ability and at the same time the world’s foremost rational Socialist. He is an intellectual who, over a period of many years, has strained and developed a mind so well balanced, so filled with hard facts, that he is capable of meeting fearlessly the great men of his own or other nations.

Aside from the limitations enforced by partisan politics, Mr. MacDonald has won an unusual degree of popularity for his party and for himself. He has no idiosyncrasies of dress or deportment, but is possessed of a splendid personal presence whether on the floor of the House of Commons or in the rigid formality of Buckingham Palace. In his court dress he has the appearance of a great militarist, but his demeanor and speech are never anything but pacific and democratic. His iron-gray hair and mustache give a stern setting to his swarthy face, and his deepset, dark-brown eyes hold a combative glint. His expression is habitually one of effortless concentration, seldom lightened by a smile.

Picture of the Prime Minister.

Trained in the best of all schools—the Labor constituencies—Mr. MacDonald has mastered the art of public speaking. For more than twenty-five years he has been on the platform and in the House of Commons perfecting the modulations of a naturally resonant and powerful voice. His well-chosen words are enunciated with a precision unequaled by any other British statesman, with the possible exception of Herbert Asquith.

Though lacking a classical education, great Britain’s Socialist Prime Minister brings to his high office a greater first-hand knowledge of the British Dominions, Colonies and possessions, than had any of his illustrious predecessors. He has toured the Far East, studied in Australia and New Zealand, India and Egypt, and has visited frequently the principal countries of Europe. His knowledge of conditions in Canada and the United States is remarkable. Above all else in importance, he knows his country’s problems. He has delved deeply into the underlying causes of social unrest and with painstaking care has chronicled his thoughts upon this subject in books of great breadth and clarity.

The Equipment of a Statesman.

Prime Minister MacDonald accepted the opportunity of forming a government largely because he considered the time ripe to disprove the myriad misconceptions and false ideas in the public mind as to what a Labor Government would do when it came to power. Great sections of the Tory element were fully convinced that a Labor Government would prove a national disgrace, while others believed the appearance of a Socialist as Chancellor of the Exchequer would bring upon the country financial disaster. The world already knows o fthe praise heaped upon MacDonald and his ministers soon after the new Government was formed. The praise came largely from the incredulous who in their surprise at finding the country still safe became perfervid in their congratulations.

Five months have passed since Ramsay MacDonald took over from the Conservatives the task of solving Britain’s domestic and external problems, and after a period of groping, complicated by unexpected changes abroad, he has gone far toward achieving the success which eluded his predecessors. As a major contribution, he has re-established that sympathetic accord with France which disappeared when French troops entered the Ruhr in 1923. With the patience and forbearance of a good friend he has helped Germany regain her confidence and her desire for an equitable reparations settlement.

Five Months of Achievement.

In the narrower field of domestic politics he has not fared so well. He could not cure in a few months the terrible disease of unemployment; nor could he solve the housing problem, which nothing but years of patient effort can effect. The peculiar circumstances of his rise to the Premiership prevented him from acting freely. His party is only a minority under the threatening power of the older parties.

It is likely that a new turn of the political wheel will bring a change in the Premiership before the end of this year, but no matter when the change comes, MacDonald has had the satisfaction of carrying his party’s banner courageously to the forefront of British politics. His name will be written boldly in political history as that of the man during whose term of office the final steps toward a durable peace were taken by the Great Powers of Europe.

Ramsay MacDonald imprimatur.jpg
  1. “Ramsay Mac Donald Socialism”