From the November 1974 issue of the Socialist Standard
The evils of capitalism are inherent, so that no matter whether it is run by avowed capitalists or alleged socialists, the leopard always has the same nasty spots. One perennial result is that when leftists get into power, they do the dirty work they spent their pseudo-socialist time denouncing while in opposition. It could be said that the reverse of the question: who will do the dirty work under Socialism? is: who actually does the dirty work under capitalism? On the one hand, dustmen, miners, and other workers. On the other, the claimants for the rôle are the leftist political swindlers.
It is possible that some of them, being particularly stupid, at first think they can run the system without the dirt. But experience of office soon makes the real position clear. A government has to govern (one of Wilson’s great sayings).
Examples are legion. During the Tories’ "thirteen wasted years", Wilson and Co. went on about the nastiness of Polaris submarines with their murderous missiles. Three Wilson governments later, and not only are the appalling weapons still in Holy Loch — nobody gives a second thought. Least of all the leftist Aldermaston marchers of the great days of yore, who are now members of the Government.
Another prime example is, of course, South Africa. For many years this has seemed a soft option to the leftists. The racialist regime there is gruesome even by capitalist standards (although it could hardly be worse than those in eastern Europe; or in black African countries such as Uganda or the Central African Republic where President Bakasa personally supervises the beating to death of political opponents). So for years we have endured the spectacle of leftist politicians getting publicity out of such world-shattering matters as the admission of a South African cricket team to this country.
But then, the pseudos get into power (plush offices and black limousines). Lo and behold, one of those who screamed loudest about the cricket tour in ’70 and actually threatened to sit on the wicket at Lord’s — such heroism: he might, in our climate, have got rheumatism in his leftist arse — called Frank Judd, actually finds himself the boss of the Royal Navy. Under the orders of the anti-apartheid Judd, our gallant sailors have been in Simonstown taking part in joint exercises with the South African Navy. Does Judd think this is a lesser encouragement to the racialist regime than playing cricket with them at Lord’s? Well no, he doesn’t. The report (in the Observer — and doubtless other papers too) made clear that Judd was most upset. But the interests of British capitalism (which has enormous investments in South Africa — its third biggest customer, too) demand that the British government plays ball in a more serious way than cricket — and if the blacks don’t like it, it seems they have to lump it.
You might say that if Judd’s conscience was so offended, he could throw up his job; perhaps also his seat in Parliament and his membership of the Labour Party. How can you belong to a party which practises the opposite of what it has preached? Perhaps someone can tell me the last time a pseudo-socialist leader, realising that when in power they were doing the same dirty work as all capitalist governments, left his party and denounced it as being fake-socialist. Some hopes!