Orders of the Day — Compulsory Control of Incomes

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th February 1969.

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Earl of Dalkeith:

Apart from the moment when the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Roy Hughes) described his reactions to our Motion as being nauseating, unlike his right hon. Friend, who said that she was fascinated, I found myself in agreement with a great deal of what he said, although I do not go the whole way with him on the matter of a wealth tax.

The hon. Member appeared to be complaining about us stirring things up in connection with the Government's incomes policy, but I do not think he should criticise us on that. If we feel that something is basically wrong, basically un-British and bad for the country, it is right that we should stir it up to the greatest extremes.

One cannot comment on the Government's particular brand of incomes policy without examining their justification for having such a policy. With the wisdom of hindsight such an examination is very revealing, and what it reveals is fairly horrifying. There are few items of Labour Party policy which testify quite so eloquently to the ruination of our country which is taking place. Having inherited what was a temporarily mediocre economic situation, of perfectly soluble proportions, the actions of the then Chancellor, now Home Secretary, succeeded in making matters infinitely worse.

Since then, the change to a new Chancellor, who was a slave to the same philosophy, has merely and predictably compounded our state of grief. All the time, in the background, there has been the real architect of disaster, the Prime Minister himself, a man who has exposed himself as being plainly dedicated more to the promotion of Socialism than to the well-being of our population. He is the real villain of the piece, the creator of the state of perpetual crisis which gives him the necessary pretext for running a system which involves State control of the private pocket in the individual. That is what this control of incomes is.

The right hon. Gentleman is the master-mind who has brought our country so far along the road towards economic ruin. I further charge him with having done this deliberately. Because the whole justification for having such tyrannical control over the individual is our economic plight, it is important that we should be absolutely clear how we have arrived in such a state. If we are to find the quickest way of getting out of it we must know how we arrived there.

The charge I make it a grave one and I shall seek to substantiate it. No one would question that the Prime Minister is a clever man. He has available to him the best economic advice which one could find anywhere. It is stretching the imagination too far to suppose that we have sunk to the present depths by accident or incompetence. It is all part of the purpose of the "gritty and purposeful government" which he promised us. We know now that a little more oil might have been more appropriate than grit, but that is a minor matter compared with what is involved in the general purpose aspect. This purpose is becoming all the more plain to those not too naive to see it. It is the pursuit of Socialism at all costs and to hell with the rest.

What is the evidence for saying this? First, we have the contracting out of our world rôle—the betrayal of our friends, allies and dependants whose combined strength was the shield of the Western nations and the free world. So, having at the start of his reign determined to turn his back on the world on the ground that we could not afford it, he has taken every step to try to ensure that we cannot afford it. Secondly, there is the deliberate creation of crisis after crisis in recognition of the fact that only when we are in dire straits are the people prepared to swallow almost any remedy that is served to them. With every remedy consisting of a further dose of Socialism and a further shift to the Left, he achieves his ruinous purpose. Why else should he look so cock-a-hoop, when the nation is crumbling around his ankles, when any normal man would be grovelling in abject apology? I was glad to hear the right hon. Lady, for the first time for many months, saying she regretted she did something wrong.