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New Left Review I/3, May-June 1960

NLR Editorials

Winds of Change

the debate about Clause 4 is a debate which never really happened. Or rather, it would be truer to say that a phony debate, purposefully raised by Mr. Gaitskell and his close compatriots in order to strangle the subject of common ownership once and for all, and conducted by them in the most doctrinal manner possible, has come to an end without a clear decision having been declared one way or another. The Economist, throughout, prepared a sturdy ramp for the leadership, and The Spectator nobly fended off Michael Foot and the ‘rebels’ in its editorial columns. But despite the much-publicised National Executive meetings, and the calculated (and uncalculated) leaks to the press, and the passing of drafts in Swiss Cottage, the debate at the top failed to connect: it neither settled the question of ‘means’ and ‘ends’, nor did it envisage anything like a political timetable for the Labour Movement. While the National Executive laboured and travailed over words, the electorate yawned.

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