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Book Title:

The Good Old Days: Then and Now


The Good Old Days: Then and Now by S. Box

Published by: S. Box, The Firs, Marden, Hereford

Printed by: Reliance Printing Works, Halesowen, Worcs.

SECTION 2. Chapter 4.



In commencing to organise a Divisional Labour Party it was necessary to obtain the support of the town workers, so I gave an address to a full meeting of the Hereford Trades Council, dealing with agriculture. This is a verbatim report of the address:—


In commencing to deal with the question of agriculture, it would be well to remember we are dealing with an industry which, although so vital fundamentally to all sections of society, it has received the least attention by politicians of all shades of opinion in this country, who, until recently, failed to realise the fact that it is the largest single industry in this country.

No less than 1,250,000, including farmers and workers, are engaged, or 9.2% of the populaton, which gives a potential voting strength of 2,000,000. We should note the serious decline since 1914 of persons engaged in the industry, and try to find out the cause and effect on our national life.


The party which tackles this problem seriously and whole­heartedly would eventually win the support of the vast majority of the nation. Because we have held a premier position in the world from an industrial standpoint, we have allowed a system of land tenure to evolve, that immediately we are faced with war we find the need of a sound policy to exploit every acre of ground to provide us with sufficient food.


We find we are compelled to compete with other nations fully equipped with huge reserves of raw materials being developed by the aid of British finance, cheap human labour and the immigration of some of our finest skilled men who were offered a high wage. At the present time we find the truth of this statement. In practically all the Colonies vast sums have been invested to develop the immense resources as yet untapped: what has been the disastrous result?  While it is true to say the principles adopted were not to assist the inhabitants of those countries as proved by the terrible conditions they are compelled to live under, being treated as inferior, in order that those few who have taken possession of their country, driving into reservations and compelling them to do the ardous work to enable wealthy people in such places as the West End of London to live in luxury, practising every form of wickedness and immorality.

In some cases a modern Sodom and Gomorrah.   The same with the large cities of America  and   wherever  superfluous   wealth  abounds  and extracted out of the labour, suffering and misery of workers in all countries, but particularly in the colonies inhabited by coloured peoples. 

As a noted clergyman stated (one of the few), we are contented to be good churchmen so long as the church does not interfere with our investments and too officiously with our private affairs.  How true, and unutterably sad that the churches seldom raise their voices against these iniquities.   The black races of the colonies, the negroes of America,  the  colonies  of  France  and  until  recently  the Chinese, the whole of Russia under the Czars, etc.  Yet it is also true the wealthy people of these exploiting countries live in fear of the day when exploitation of their fellow men shall cease, as I firmly believe it will.  " These things shall be a nobler race, than ere the world has seen shall rise." When justice shall be established between all mankind and greed and lust of power shall be abolished.


These are the principles advocated by true Socialists the world over, and for which thousands have sacrificed their all and life itself.  For this, true labour stands in contrast to the ideas and practices of the old orthodox political parties with their outworn creeds and traditions, involving all nations in wars or fear of them, which is created by their own actions.  Often differences of opinion are expressed.  This happens in all political parties and trade unions, in fact in all national organisations. Often due to the hazy ideas of its members to the principles that should govern the actions of those who are chosen to apply the foundational reasons for which they were brought into being.


Differences of opinion are bound to occur as to the best method to be adopted for those purposes, but bans and expulsions are foreign to all who have freedom of thought, expression and publicity as their guide. We often learn more from those whom we most fundamentally disagree, than those with whom we find ourselves in agreement. This cannot be over­emphasised, particularly at the present period of history. As we carefully and thoughtfully view the tendency at home and abroad of a few powerful bodies attempting to dominate the ideas of others, whether individuals or nations, and where possible persecute those not in agreement with them, such as McCarthyism, in America, Malanism in South Africa, Russia, the Balkans, and Britain is not free from this, possibly not to the same degree; still, it does exist.


There are different causes which definitely are fundamental reasons why a Coalition cannot hope to form a stable government; each party working for different objects. The Conservatives are deep-dyed Imperialists and stand for the government of the people by the wealthy, believing wealth and status are fit qualifications, with an hereditary House of Lords to support them, whatever their mentality or capabilities. Liberalism may be summed up as retrenchment and reform, both clinging to old traditions, which mean in practice, sticking to the old method of putting a patch on the old garment; and our way of life; in effect, wealth and power for the few and the devil take hindmost.


Labour, with a few exceptions, stands for—Firstly the children, then equality of opportunity, abolition of class distinction, no colour bar, the abolition of exploitation at home and in the colonies, by collective ownership of the means of production; recognition that work is a right and duty and a matter for all able-bodied.

The application of the principle—From each according to his ability: To each according to his work.



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