This issue of the Review is taken up mainly with domestic themes, with topics related—directly or indirectly—to the Labour Party and the prospects for the next Labour Government. It differs in this from what has been the prevailing pattern of nlr, leaning as it has done towards a preoccupation with International and Third World problems.
In this fact, and in the varying approaches of the particular items, the reader will find an indication of what nlr wants to be and to do. There are two functions it has to fulfil. In the first place, that of a forum of Left socialist opinion of a sort which the Left needs but has not possessed so far. That is, a forum open especially to longer, more serious and theoretical contributions bearing on the problems of the Left and of socialism in general. In this issue, for instance, John Hughes discusses and expounds a possible economic policy for the next Labour Government. His article merits the most attentive study by socialists. It is the most cogent Left-wing economic plan so far produced to meet the needs of the situation in which a Wilson Government will probably find itself, and to fit realistically with the outlook of the Labour Party. It should be kept, debated, and referred to by everyone on the Left. Dorothy Wedderburn’s article on Pensions belongs to the same category, and deserves the same serious consideration. Barbara Castle’s discussion of French Planning is of more theoretical interest to socialists, but also bears by implication on the problem of what kind of planning Labour should introduce—that is, on a key practical topic.
At the same time nlr has its own approach and its own theoretical contribution to the (too limited) fund of Left ideas. The larger-scale historical analysis begun in our last number by Perry Anderson’s article on ‘The Origins of the Present Crisis’ is continued in this one with Tom Nairn’s ‘The English Working Class’. As well as in articles signed by members of the Editorial Committee, the opinion and point of view of nlr will be found in many of the comments in the ‘Scanner’.
Every number from now onwards will express and develop this point of view in both sections of the Review.
What do you think about the new Review? We know that readers like the new format, on the whole. We would like to know what they think about the Review’s contents, both about what nlr publishes and what it says. We would like suggestions about what it ought to contain. All serious comments are read and discussed by the Editorial Committee. Far more articles are now coming into the Review, a sign that more people have something to say and see nlr as the place to say it—we hope the stream of articles will go on increasing. If, as we think, a journal like nlr is really needed on the British Left, the need is going to be greater than ever during the years of a Labour Government. The lack of a real socialist press open to and read by all the different areas of Left opinion has been a major handicap to socialism in the past. Can you help nlr satisfy this need?