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Coal Mines (Nationalisation).

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech. – in the House of Commons on 11th February 1920.

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Photo of Mr David Lloyd George Mr David Lloyd George , Caernarvon District of Boroughs

Certainly, I will read it. It is a speech delivered at the Third Russian Congress of Soviets of National Economy. "Comrade Rikoff" was followed by "Comrade Trotsky"—surely a sufficiently high authority—and this is what the latter said: We shall succeed if qualified and trained workers take part in productive labour. They must all be registered and provided with workbooks. Trade Unions must register qualified workmen in the villages. Only in those localities where trade union methods are inadequate other methods must be introduced, in particular that of compulsion, because labour conscription gives the State the right to toll the qualified workman who is employed on some unimportant work in his village, 'You are obliged to leave your present employment and go to Sormovo or Kolomna because there your work is required.' Labour conscription means that the qualified workmen who leave the army must take their workbooks and proceed to places where they are required, where their presence is necessary to the economic system of the country. Labour conscription gives the Labour State the right to order a workman to leave the village industry in which he is engaged and to work in State enterprises which require his services. He is good enough to end up by saying, "We must feed these workmen "—what a benevolent autocracy!—"and guarantee them the minimum food ration." That is nationalisation in practice. That is the one great experiment in nationalisation which has been made. In less than two years it has to be corrected by labour conscription.