Page 4, 13th August 1965

13th August 1965
Page 4
Page 4, 13th August 1965 — By Norman St. John-Stmt. M.P.

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Organisations: Labour Party, Tory party


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By Norman St. John-Stmt. M.P.

The Bill is important as a declaration of the public conscience that racial discrimination will not be tolerated in Britain and is a constructive effort to establish racial harmony, Finally, there has been the Law Commission Bill, which sets up a group of permanent law commissioners charged with the duty of promoting law reform. If the commissioners are determined and imaginative enough they could transform the shape of English law. There is a crying need for a penal code establishing the criminal law on a sound basis of principle.

Economies have naturally tended to dominate the general debates in Parliament and it was this fact more than any other which contributed to the replacement of Sir Alec Douglas-Home by Mr. Heath as leader of the Tory party.

factors have also played havoc with the Labour Party programme of social reform. Looking hack, it is now clear that the fateful decision was the Cabinet's resolve to hold the pound sterling at its present level when it reviewed our economic position last October.

Since then it has been driven to lake all the measures—and more—which Labour denounced so vigorously when they were associated with Mr. Selwyn Lloyd. Labour's pension scheme, its plans for cheaper mortgages, its hopes for greater capital investment in housing. schools and roads, have all had to he sacrificed in order to restore foreign confidence in the strength of he pound.

Labour men and Tory measures is a not unfair summing up of the present position, with this difference-it is by no means certain that sterling has been saved.

The other great issue of the session has undoubtedly been immigration, and here Labour has completely abandoned the idealistic approach of the late Hugh Gaitskell in favour of a policy which is closer to that of Sir Cyril Osborne than to anyone else.

Socialist internationalism has gone by the board and so has Labour's liberalism. On this issue the government has surrendered to electoral needs, but the price it will have to pay is high.

There are already signs that this may he the last straw for Labour's intellectuals who are likely to find themselves increasingly in opposition to their own government.

The key to the future lies with the Liberals. A formal pact between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Grimond seems unlikely, but Mr. Wilson is a realist and if Labour is to survive the economic recession which now seems inevitable and to embark eventually on its social programme, it above all needs time and only the Liberals can supply it, If Labour dropped its steel and land nationalisation programme and promised the Liberals the system of the alternative vote for parliamentary elections, he foundations of a working alliance would have been laid. Tf I were Mr. Wilson I would think it a reason:1111g pumlIfFt

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