War Situation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 22nd September 1943.

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Photo of Mr Francis Bowles Mr Francis Bowles , Nuneaton

I, unlike other speakers in many debates that I have heard, shall have pleasure in following the hon. Member who has just spoken. He has made, quite obviously, a perfectly honest speech from the Conservative point of view. He has covered up nothing, he has tried to delude no one, and he has made his position quite clear, and it is about time that we had speeches of that kind showing exactly where the Conservative Party stand. I do not think for a moment that he understands what Fascism is. I do not think he understands what is happening in the war. He does not understand the conflict that is going on all the time between the people on the one hand and property on the other. I will try to make clear to him what the war is really about. In 1922 there was a good deal of industrial upheaval in Italy. That was coincident with an economic crisis. When the employment situation and the trade situation were difficult and the relationship between capital and labour got very difficult property or capital, call it what you like, enforced its rule by adopting a Fascist policy for the enslavement of the people of Italy. The same thing happened in Germany in 1933, which coincided with another economic depression. Every time there is an industrial crisis there is always a tendency for the people who are employers, the people who own capital, those representative of the banking industry and so on, to try by whatever means they can, and as a last resort, Fascism, to enslave the people and make them work for the general good, as they regard it.

I should like to try to make quite clear why there is this fundamental difference between the hon. Member and us. I think he is quite clearly in favour of the recognition of Badoglio's Government. There was an ominous reference by the Prime Minister that either he or the Foreign Secretary would make some statement towards the end of the week. I want to know if they are going to make the statement that His Majesty's Government are going to recognise the Badoglio Government, because that will show the true nature of the way in which the war is being carried on. This is not a war between this country and Italy or between this country and Germany at all. To use an old cliché, it is a class war. It was only when Fascism got dangerous to British commercial interests that many people ceased to praise it. From 1922 onwards people on the Right were praising Mussolini for doing a great number of things. Lots of publicists, politicians and other people of the Right have seen fit.to praise the actions of Mussolini during the last 21 years. They went through the actions of opposing him, but, nevertheless, they supported his war of aggression against the Abyssinians. It is a question whether the people the hon. Member represents are going to dominate this world or whether the people are, and that is what the war is about.