This is the third time since this Government was formed that we have had an Independent Labour Party Amendment. In 1940 we had a complaint that we failed to propose a conference to bring the war to an early conclusion and establish a new social order…. Last year… there was no proposal for a conference to end the war. There was a proposal for the ending of the present economic system of financial and commercial rivalry and exploitation… and laying down the basis of a Socialist Charter, which would serve as an incentive to the German and other European workers to overthrow Nazi rule and free the populations in the occupied territories…. This time we… are asked to regret the absence of concrete proposals for the future peace and welfare of the peoples of the world and for removing the causes of war and of any prospect of a new order for the common people…. Gone are those suggestions that peace can be had now by calling a conference. What has happened to that conference? What is the Hon. Member's alternative? Gone is… the suggestion that if only we would adopt the Hon. Member's policy we could arouse the nations of Europe to do the job that the Hon. Member and his friends are not joining in doing; that is, ridding Europe of the Nazi menace….
I am concerned about the peoples who are at the present time in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Norway, and all those places…. These people are… not seeking their future peace and welfare in these nice phrases. They are looking to the valour and the skill of their fellow men who are fighting. They know, if the Hon. Member and his friends do not know it, that the first need of all is the destruction of Nazism. The fighters in North Africa and the fighters of Stalingrad and the victors of El Alamein are making concrete proposals, not just theoretical proposals…. I ask the Hon. Members below the Gangway what contribution they are making?…. All the other Amendments are put forward by people who say, "We want these things but we recognise that to get these things we must win this war and overturn Nazi tyranny." That is absolutely absent from the Hon. Member's Amendment….
Who would be pleased if the Hon. Member got some people into the Lobby? The only people who would be pleased would be our enemies, the Nazis. They would put across, "Growing strength of the I.L.P. against the war." The hon. Member has so drafted his Amendment that it would suit Dr. Goebbels very well. Last year he talked of a new social order. This time he talked, in the very phrases of Hitler, of a new order for European people. What scope for enemy propaganda that they should be able to say that so many have followed the Hon. Member in his new order. The Hon. Member must be more careful in his drafting….
There were people—of course, not the Hon. Member—who did not understand that for complicated campaigns in war it takes a long time to prepare…. [P]roposals for peace and reconstruction also take a considerable time to prepare…. [I]t was stressed in the Amendment yesterday how necessary it was that we should get at once into contact with other countries, particularly the United States and Russia. Those contacts are already being made….
My Hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), in his admirable speech, dealt with the economic foundations of peace and pointed out that we must repair the broken fabric of world economy…. I can assure him he is preaching to the converted. The Government are resolved that we shall not go back to a scarcity economy…. An internationalist is not an emigré, because he is at home in all countries. The International Labour Office was no more specially at home in Geneva than it is in Ottawa. The International Labour Office is one of those pieces of international machinery, set up after the last war, that has lived on and will continue to live after this war, and we intend to use it to the full….
In these reconstruction problems you come to a certain point at which you reach the stage of decision and action. Hon. Members say that we ought to have acted earlier. We would like to have acted earlier, just as we would have liked to make some of these attacks earlier, but we have to consider what the position is. It is very easy to think that now, when things are going all right, but things have not been too easy. Industrialists have not had time yet to think very much about the reconstruction of industry. We are only just completing the phase of turning over our great industrial machine from a peace economy to a war economy; it will be a tremendous work to bring it back to a peace economy and put it on a new basis of economy. It is the same with all the other items. Therefore, I say to Hon. Members that if they listened to the review given by the Paymaster-General they will know that not one of these matters is being neglected, but that it is quite impossible for anyone to come to the House and say from this bench, in a quarter of an hour, "Here is my answer to the whole problem"…