“How long are the Liberals and Conservatives to paralyze each other so that both may be ruled by a Socialist minority?” This question could easily be asked by almost any Conservative in America today–but those words were spoken by Winston Churchill in 1924.
The following is a (very) abridged version of Churchill’s speech, in which he was trying to warn his colleagues of the impending Socialism creeping into his country. The similarities between England in 1924 and America today is astounding, including the infighting among the Left and Right, with the Socialists gleefully lurking in the background, waiting to jump in and “save the day”.
All emphasis is mine, highlighting the especially close-to-home parts of Churchill’s speech. Please read and share this (very) abridged version, and read the entire speech HERE.
But what of the future? What is the great danger to our national trade and prosperity with which we are confronted at the present time? It is purely the rapid growth in numbers, in influence, in prestige, of a great body of our fellow citizens who are being taught to repeat and believe in the false doctrines of Socialism, which, if ever seriously put into practice, would reduce this island to chaos and starvation.
Now it is in the face of this danger that I ask: How long are we going to continue to allow the artificially fomented jealousies and quarrels of Conservatives and Liberals to play into the hands of the Socialists? How long are the interests of the country to suffer from sterile party conflicts in the presence of an advancing peril? How long are the Liberals and Conservatives to paralyze each other so that both may be ruled by a Socialist minority?
The deliberate policy of the Socialists is, of course, to prevent any common action between Liberals and Conservatives in order that Socialism may progress and devour the Liberals at leisure. All their tactics are conceived with this intention.
I will tell you. For the object not of doing good, but of breeding strife, for the squalid and sordid purpose of maintaining the Socialist Government in office by placing a difficulty in the path of Conservative and Liberal co-operation.
The Budget furnishes an example from beginning to end of Socialistic inconsistency and insincerity. Mr. Snowden has simply remitted taxation to the utmost and left the Exchequer absolutely bare as far as social reform is concerned. If any of these schemes for which Socialists have clamoured so loudly are to be carried forward it can only be by the imposition next year of heavy new direct taxation, which must be deeply damaging to the trade and industry of the country.
But this is only one illustration…It presumes to speak in the name of the people. It represents less than one-third of the electors. It maintains itself in office precariously by playing upon the jealousies and divisions of the two older parties and by giving a sop now and again to the Liberals. Sometimes it offers what you might call an inverted sop, pleasing the Conservatives by offending the Liberals, or pleasing the Liberals by irritating the Conservatives.
The Government has no political principles. It is purely an opportunist party living perforce from hand to mouth and from day to day.
Everywhere they let it be understood they had some great remedy or scheme which would improve the position and put an end to this lamentable state of affairs. Yet although the session is half over it is perfectly clear that they have no scheme or plan for dealing with unemployment except to go on in a more or less feeble way with the plans and schemes for unemployment of the Liberal and Tory parties in the past. As for housing, they propose, I understand, to build fewer houses next year-if they are there to build them – [Laughter] – than the wicked, reactionary Coalition Government were building three years ago.
I say that these are examples of political inconsistencies beyond compare in modern life. While the Socialist Ministers are priding themselves on doing the same sort of thing that Liberal and Conservative Governments would have done, while they have put themselves off in practice and in office from their wild theories, they tell us in the same breath that they believe in those theories as ardently as ever, and that they are only waiting for an opportunity to put them into force. Somebody is being deceived. Either it is the public, who are lulled into a sense of false security, or it is the Socialist party, if they allow their creed to be repudiated by their leaders for the sake of office.
It is time this farce should end. [Loud cheers.] The truth is that Socialism in England is permeated from end to end with humbug. The leaders do not believe in the doctrines they preach. They do not weigh with them for one moment in comparison with the prospect of obtaining office or retaining office. They cater for one side of their followers with every argument of Christianity and altruism, while another set receive instruction in the Socialist Sunday school in the vilest garbage of atheism and revolution. [Cheers.]
They are a minority holding office on sufferance, and are always claiming fair play for themselves. What fair play do they show to others? Even the elementary right of free speech has been challenged by the Socialist party in a manner unknown to this country for generations. No word of censure of this rowdyism has been spoken by their leaders.
But my gravest accusation against the Socialist party is that they are deliberately and wantonly corrupting the character of the British nation. If their only object is to carry out practical reforms without revolution or disorder what is the need and what is the sense of teaching great masses of great-hearted English people to perform the antics and grimaces of Continental Socialism, to mouth the exploded doctrines of Karl Marx, to sing or drone that dreary dirge the Socialist International instead of the National Anthem–and to be proud of the Red Flag instead of the Union Jack?
The harm that has been done already is very great. Nearly a third of the electorate has been marshaled around these foreign standards and taught to regard the institutions, the history, and the greatness of our country and Empire as if they were odious means of oppression to be repudiated or swept away at the earliest possible moment.
My proposal or policy which you have allowed me to lay before you tonight is simple and plain. I do not seek, as has been suggested, to bring division to the Conservative party. God forbid! It is a reinforcement, not a division. I propose to you that we should return to the arrangement offered to the Conservative party by the National Liberals in the spring of 1922 -and it was also the position in 1886 of the Liberal Unionists -that is to say, a strong and active Conservative party united under its own leaders with a Liberal wing co-operating in whatever may be found most useful and helpful for the national and common interest and honorable principles.
Cooperation means that we should make common causes, that we should stand together, and, laying aside every impediment, that we should fight shoulder to shoulder in the endeavor by every means in our power to secure the defeat of Socialism at the polls.
Such cooperation would also involve the adherence by the Conservative party to the broad progressive platform of public policy such as their leaders have now definitely adopted and formally and definitely proclaimed. That is the road to victory, it is the only road to victory of the cause which we have at heart.[Loud cheers]
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