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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Broadcast by Winston Churchill, June 21, 1945

House of Lords record office, Beaverbrook papers, file D-423.


WE ARE now entering the final stages of this protracted and Election. What a pity we could not all have gone on together, till the Japanese war was finished. I deeply regret the responsible Socialist leaders were unable to prevail upon their Party to accept this offer, which was made by me in a sincere spirit of goodwill arid public duty. When Mr. Attlee proposed to me an amendment in my hopes that our nation would have retained its united strength until at least the cannon had ceased to thunder and the great struggle at the other end of the world had been completed. I have no doubt that he, and those associated with him, did their best but they could make no headway against the extreme forces which dominate the Socialist Party and are lusting for a violent and revolutionary change. The only comfort is that we have not got to go on with this Party strife and malice under a thin skin of co-operation, all through the summer and autumn to an October Election, when our difficulties at home and abroad will certainly not be less than they are now.

During the last week an astonishing event has happened, which should open all eyes to the kind of Government which a Socialist administration would produce, and, still more, to the foundations upon which it would rest. I invited Mr. Attlee, the titular leader of the Socialist Party, to come with the British delegation to the momentous Conference which is to open in July before the results of this Election can be declared. I thought it was a fair offer and made in the public interest. Mr. Attlee accepted the offer in the same spirit as it was made.

All of a sudden there leaped into notoriety a certain Professor Laski, one of those figures of the Socialist movement who, while they do not care to face a Parliamentary Election, claim to exercise authority over the responsible Socialist Leaders. Mr. Attlee was sharply given his instructions that, if he went, he could only go as an observer and that there could be no continuity in the foreign policy of this country at the present time. So far Mr. Attlee has refused to toe the line and, in a courageous letter, he has accepted my invitation to come as a friend and a counsellor.

We do not know how the fight will end, but the fact that Professor Laski should feel himself armed with such powers over the accepted Leader of the Socialist Party shows very clearly the strange and embarrassing position which will be occupied in a Socialist Government by the Ministers of the Crown. No doubt, if you penetrated into this tangle, you would find many more Laskis. It is a case of big fleas have little fleas on their backs to bite 'em little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad. infinitum. If the evil stopped there, it would be a matter for humorous mirth. But now we see quite clearly that Socialist Ministers, if a Socialist Government were returned, even at the present critical time would not be free agents, but would be compelled, even on questions of foreign policy, to submit their decisions to the Laskis and many obscure and secret committees, and would not have free, untrammeled responsibility to Parliament and the nation.

They would have to impart all the secret matters affecting foreign nations to a committee or committees, over which some Laski or other would preside, and it would only be after its assent had been obtained, that they would be permitted to come out and make resounding speeches in the House of Commons.

The responsible Socialist Leaders can of course rid themselves from this charge for the time being by dismissing, as they should do, Mr. Laski from their counsels. Otherwise it will be clear that their status before the public if they themselves were to obtain office, would only be as wire-pulled puppets. It seems to me very important for them to rid themselves of this stain.

The British people have always hitherto wanted to have their affairs conducted by men they know, and that these men work under the scrutiny and with the approval of the House of Commons.

All this brings me back to the general arguments against a full and complete Socialist system, which I used to you about a fortnight ago. I warned you that it could not be established in its entirety -- of course there may be intervening stages -- without the abolition of Free Parliaments without the denial of the rights of opposition as hitherto practiced in this country and the institution of a political police. I ought to have added, the denial of the right to strike, on which the power of collective bargaining depends. How could there be the power of collective bargaining with the State, when the State would be the supreme and sole authority? The Trade Unions would have no power as against the Socialist State; nor r would the individual workman have the right and power to change his job freely as he may choose. To look after this alone would require a political police, with their agents and spies in the factories to look out for disaffected men.


[. . . . and more of the same vein]

The above material has been researched by David Irving for the third volume of his Churchill biography, "Churchill's War", vol. iii: "The Sundered Dream."

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