Economic Affairs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th July 1966.

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Photo of Mr Jack Ashley Mr Jack Ashley , Stoke-on-Trent South 12:00 am, 26th July 1966

The post-war record of Conservative Governments is not a proud one, and unemployment under their administration was far worse than it has been under this Government. What the hon. Gentleman hopes may well be the unemployment situation later on is a different matter.

I am talking essentially about the policy of the Conservative Administration while they have been in office for the last 40 years or so, except when we have been there. If hon. Gentlemen opposite seriously deny that they are the party of unemployment, let those who follow me in this debate make out a case which will convince the nation.

To return to the policy of my right hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton, I think that it has to be said that the policy he is pursuing is that of an industrial quack. He is peddling a cure for our economic ills, but the medicine that he is proposing is only one part medicine, and two parts hogwash. If the nation swallows his cure we shall all find ourselves confronted with devaluation. Instead of deflation, we shall have desperation.

My right hon. Friend has attacked the Government in an extravagant manner. He appears in this House as a trade union giant, as a man who represents the trade union movement. I suggest that this is not so, because we should not confuse volume with value, nor should we confuse stridency with sagacity. My right hon. Friend represents the T. & G. W. U. and a few small trade union supporters. Although he controls 1 million votes at the Trades Union Conference, I do not believe that more than 5 per cent. of his members support him when he denigrates the Labour Government while they are struggling to deal with the economic crisis.

I conclude by expressing the hope and belief that the vast majority of trade union members in this country will follow those trade union leaders who are supporting the Government in their efforts to create a fairer and better society than their predecessors were ever able to aspire to.