Debate on the Address

Part of Orders of the Day — King's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th September 1948.

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Photo of Mr William Gallacher Mr William Gallacher , Fife Western 12:00 am, 15th September 1948

But Marx and Lenin would not receive a welcome in this freedom-loving country today. Marx and Lenin would not receive a visa for America. America imposes on this country the same conditions which apply over there. Any Fascist from Eastern or Western Europe can come in here, but let the Communists try to come in. The times have changed from the healthy days of capitalism when it felt is was master of the world. Now capitalism is decrepit. It is on crutches, American dollar crutches, and because it is on crutches it so fears what may happen if the working classes arise that every conception of liberty which obtained in the days to which the hon. Member referred are being shut down.

I want to make reference to the remarks of the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Eden). They talked to us about our interests in Malaya. How does that sound in the ears of Labour Members of Parliament? Where is there a Labour Member of Parliament who has not, time and again, sneered at that phrase when it was used by the Tories? Where is there a Labour Member of Parliament who has not told the workers, and told them truly, that it was not their interests which were at stake in the Colonies but the interests of the monopolists, the robbers and the ruling classes? How is it that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition can tell us that we used to get 240 million dollars from Malaya? What did the Malayans get? Did he tell us what they get? Every member of the Labour Party has in the past courageously faced this question of Empire and of who was interested in getting profits out of Colonial territory. Who is getting profits out of tin and rubber in Malaya? Not the Malayan people. I say here that the Malayan people are as much entitled to fight for freedom and independence and the ownership of their industries as the people of this country are. How can the Labour Party claim the right to take over the steel industry and other industries in the name of the people and deny the people in Malaya the right to do the same on their own behalf?

I appeal to Labour Members of Parliament and I appeal to the Members of the Government, some of whom are old colleagues of mine. I remember the days when the Foreign Secretary was a Left-Winger and a Marxist. I remember, and I want the Government and the Labour Party to remember, the pledges they have given, and to stand solid for freedom for the Colonial people, and not death for the Colonial people, and above all to have concern for the people of this country. I say to the Leader of the House and to the other Members of the Government, cut down the Armed Forces, cut down profits, reduce prices and rents, and give the best available to the workers. That is the policy which should be followed by those who are faithful to the people. They should end dependence on America. I tell the Leader of the House and others that Britain can never get out of the crisis whilst she is dependent on America. I challenge any of them to show the people of this country how it will ever be possible to balance our trade and get out of the crisis while we are taking goods from America and America refuses to take goods from us. We should end the dependence on America and build up friendship and trade with the Soviet Union and the Socialist countries of Eastern Europe. That way is the way of economic independence for Britain. It is the way of prosperity for the British people.