21 MAY 1948, Page 4


THE Labour Party has suffered little in the loss of Mr. Platts- Mills. It suffers much in the loss of Mr. Alfred Edwards, whose expulsion from the party looks like an ostentatious demonstration of impartiality ; a victim on the Left having been sacrificed, the sacrifice of a victim on the Right is rather welcome. But the difference is that while Mr. Plans-Mills is a doctrinaire extremist Mr. Edwards is a practical business man. As a consumer of steel he knows how disastrous the nationalisation of the industry would inevitably be— the Coal Board provides a sufficiently chastening warning—and knowing that, he is perfectly right to say so. As far as I know, he has opposed no Government measure ; he has only underlined the dangers of a measure which has not been, and may never be, introduced. In his comments on the action of the Parliamentary Executive there is one sentence that is likely to provide the text for a good many speeches and articles in the near future : " There is not one man in the Government today who ever had to earn his living running a business." On that it may be observed with justice that to run a large trade union or conduct the affairs of the Co-operative Wholesale is pretty good proof of administrative ability. But Mr. Edwards's assertion provides considerable food for reflection none the less. Incidentally, how many members of the Conservative Front Bench have earned a living running a business ? But that doesn't seem to be necessary in men who run the nation's business.

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