The View From The Left

Wednesday 26th October

Well, how far left do you want to go?  As a teenager I believed in Communism; to each according to their needs and from each according to their ability.  But all the examples of Communism, with the possible exception of Cuba, have failed.  Partly because of human nature and partly because of the venality of the leaders.  But for many years I have been a Socialist, although Socialism has as many different faces as you like – take your pick.

But the main Idealogy of Socialism is that those who are more fortunate should help those who are less fortunate.  It is in the degree of accommodation with Capitalism that most arguments within Socialism occur.  And there are probably more bitter divisions within the ranks of Socialism than any other Political Movement.  It is strange too, how policies mooted forty years ago, such as Nationalism of the Banks or Minimum Wages have become orthodox thinking.

One of the problem Politicians face is that there are always unintended consequences of every well-meaning Policy.  Welfare was introduced to assist those falling on hard times but has become a way of life for some.  The minimum wage has become for all too many the maximum wage they will ever receive.  Harold Wilson, asked shortly before he retired in the mid-Seventies what he thought the biggest problem in Society was, and he said “Affluence”.  In other words you help people out of poverty and deprivation and they immediately reward you by becoming almost as bad as the people who were originally oppressing them and then vote Tory.

So, in a way Socialism will probably never achieve the sort of Society it wants.  And maybe most Socialists quite enjoy the struggle, eternal as it might be.  People are the biggest problem….