Mr. Henderson and the Labor Movement


IN the vast disquietudes that afflict England at this time, there are few more disturbing than the loss of confidence in leadership. In no sphere of activity have our resources in personality proved adequate. Whether we turn to the Army, to the Navy, or to politics, there is the same sense of impoverishment. There is abundant capacity, but it is diffused, conflicting, incoherent, lacking that individual force which can gather it into a single flame of purpose and give it motive and direction. The greatest force, unhappily, has made not for solidarity, but for disruption. The nation is beginning at last to understand the part which the Northcliffe press has had in impairing its strength; and in its judgment on that subject it includes both Mr. Asquith and Mr. George — the former for his failure to deal with the menace firmly when its character became apparent, and the latter for his association with it.

The wisest and most stable minds in the nation have been driven out of the direction of affairs by the appeal of an unbalanced mind to the momentary instincts and passions of the mob. The mere record of the names of the men who have been displaced, and of the men who have displaced them, supplies the key to many misfortunes alike in military policy and statesmanship. The large sanity and judgment of Mr. Asquith, the incomparable qualities of character of Viscount Grey, the knowledge of Lord Haldane, the genius of Lord Fisher, the unrivaled seamanship of Lord Jellicoe, the tenacity and fundamental wisdom of Sir William Robertson — these are among the grand assets of the nation which have been lost to it in the hour of its most desperate necessity.

In the general discredit that has fallen upon leadership, the Labor Party has not escaped. Its contribution to the intellectual and moral forces of the nation has been negligible, and its failure to present the country with a reasoned and coherent policy has been one of the most regrettable deficiencies from which we have suffered. When the war came, the superficial solidarity of the party vanished. It collapsed under the shock into fragments. The most intellectual section — the Independent Labor Party — became separated at once, not only from the general current of the nation, but from the overwhelming body of the working classes themselves. Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, Mr. Snowden, and Mr. Jowett adopted from the beginning a definitely hostile attitude to the war, and concentrating on the admitted evils of secret diplomacy and of cosmopolitan armament rings, cultivated the impression that the war was not so much a clean-cut issue between military despotism and democracy, as bet ween rival capitalist designs.

At the other extreme, there was a breakaway of artless persons — like Mr. Hodge, Mr. Will Thorne, and Mr. O’Grady — into the primitive emotions of the war and the jargon of ‘Huns’ and ‘Knock-out-Blows,’and eternal ostracism. In these quarters, the war was just an old-fashioned racial dogfight and was not seen to be a struggle between rival systems of human governance for the possession of the world.

Between these extremes there were many shades of difference. Mr. John Burns, who had left the government on the outbreak of the war, maintained an unbroken silence. Mr. W. C. Anderson, who had been Chairman of the I. L. P., assumed an attitude of his own, critical on details, but neither supporting the war, nor conveying the impression that he was definitely hostile to it. The Old Guard of labor, men like the miners, Mr. Thomas Burt and Mr. Fenwick, belonging to the pure trade-union tradition of the past, were indistinguishable from the normal type of Liberal, supporting the war, but supporting it without venom and in the spirit of the fine ideals and moral fervor of their school.

In the midst of all these sections into which labor was dissipated, there was a small group of men, affiliated with the modern industrial movement, who, while in full sympathy with British intervention, were sufficiently free from the tribal impulse to see the war in the larger perspective. The most representative figures of this group were Mr. Arthur Henderson, Mr. J. H. Thomas, and Mr. Clynes. Of these, the last-named was a member of the I. L. P., but he became detached in spirit from the general body of the party and even took office in Mr. Lloyd George’s government. It is the highest tribute to his character that his reputation in the labor world has survived the fact. Alone among the Labor members of the goverr merit, he may be looked upon as a man with a future. Mr. Thomas, although invited more than once to join the government, declined to do so. Air. Henderson, who took office in the Asquith Coalition, and went into the War Cabinet when Mr. Lloyd George’s coup came off, resigned over the Russian policy. All three men have the gift of clear thought and lucid speech, are at once firm and moderate in opinion, and are of unquestioned probity and public spirit.


In this group, which undoubtedly represents the main current of industrial opinion in regard to the war, the most conspicuous figure is that of Mr. Henderson. It may be said that he was made great by his fall. No man in public life certainly ever grew more sensibly in stature as the result of resignation. The Russian episode converted him from a commonplace figure on the political stage into a man of capital significance.

His previous career had made no deep impression on the public mind. He had come to the front by a series of stages which, creditable enough in themselves, did not suggest outstanding potentialities. An iron-founder by trade, he had begun his political career as a Liberal, and his first connection with public affairs was in the capacity of agent to the Liberal Association of the Barnard Castle Division. When the modern labor movement began to take form, he joined it, and created some sensation in 1904 by becoming the Labor candidate at a bye-election in the constituency in which he had acted as Liberal agent. He was opposed by a Liberal, but won the seat, and became one of the first representatives of Labor in its organized divorce from the stream of Liberalism on which the earlier trade-unionists had been content to float. But though associated with the new movement, he retained his original character, with little change. He did not join the left wing of the I. L. P., and manifested no inclination toward its doctrinairism. A man of plain, direct mind, little attracted by theories, bearing the impress of the moral restraints of a puritan tradition, with the gift of clear energetic speech acquired in his early association with the lay ministry of the Wesleyan body, frank and cordial in bearing and formidable in encounter with unruly gatherings, he made no appeal to extremism or to mob popularity. In the organization and development of the Parliamentary Labor Party, he at once assumed a definite authority between the theoretical left and the rather amorphous and nondescript right. He became the secretary of the party, and for one period was elected its chairman; and when Mr. Asquith formed his Coalition Ministry, his admission to office followed as a matter of course upon his representative character, his practical capacity, and his attitude toward the war.

But while he had won respect, and, in office, had proved his administrative capacity, it cannot be said that he had made any profound impression on the public mind. He had gone far with plain, everyday abilities, but there had been no evidence of exceptional qualities of leadership and courage in great affairs; and when, after the fall of the Coalition Ministry, he agreed to go into Mr. George’s War Cabinet, there was a feeling that his hold over Labor was passing. There was no impropriety in the action, of course. He was wholly in favor of the prosecution of the war, and represented the feeling of the working classes as truly as anyone in public life. The government had to be carried on, and Mr. George’s anxiety to secure the support of Labor enabled Mr. Henderson to insist on a much larger share in the administration for his party, and on an undertaking that the party should have an important rôle in the peace negotiations. But, in spite of all this, it is undeniable that he suffered in prestige from his association with a government generated from squalid intrigues against his old chief. The fact, no doubt, did injustice to his motives, to the sense of the superior demands of the national interest in competition with private sentiment; but the fact remained.

It was the Russian incident which revealed the mind and measure of the man. From the beginning, the Russian Revolution had been nervously and unfortunately handled. Lord Milner, who had been sent by the War Cabinet to Russia on the eve of the Revolution, did not understand the momentous development that was imminent, and created a bad impression in Liberal circles by his attitude to the government. It may be that in the circumstances that existed no other attitude was possible; but in the circumstances that existed Lord Milner was the last person who should have been sent; and, following his commendation of the autocracy at the moment when, an object of universal shame and execration, it was falling to the dust, the principal Liberal journal in Moscow expressed this view quite bluntly.

When the Revolution came, it found the Allies wholly unprepared to meet it with a considered and courageous policy. They were perplexed by its meaning and numbed by its vague possibilities. In Liberal circles there was a feeling that a great shadow had been lifted from the world, and gratitude that the cause of the Allies was no longer compromised by association with the most corrupt and detestable despotism in Europe. But when the first emotion of astonishment and satisfaction had passed, powerful countercurrents became visible. The MorningPost, the organ of the high Tories,1 adopted an attitude of definite hostility to the Revolution, and it was not long before it was publishing from its Petrograd correspondent messages declaring that the prayer of Russia was for an Ivan the Terrible. The Northcliffe press adopted a hardly less disastrous tone, and unhappily it was the utterances of this press which, in the critical early days, were chiefly sent back to Russia as representing the opinion of democratic England.

Almost alone among the English correspondents in Russia, Mr. Arthur Ransome, of the Daily News, supported the Revolution with unequivocal enthusiasm, and the representatives of the Russian papers in England did their best to counter the fatal impression of English opinion prevailing in Russia by emphasizing the attitude of the Daily News, Manchester Guardian, and Westminster Gazette. But the mischief was done, and the feeling that free England was out of sympathy with free Russia grew and did its fatal work.

Unhappily the policy of the government did nothing to remove this impression. Mr. Bonar Law’s speech in the House of Commons on the Revolution was sympathetic enough in its general purport, but it contained a panegyric of the Tsardom, and it was this panegyric of the fallen despotism and not his sympathy with the Revolution that struck the mind of Russia as representing the official view. With the failure of the Prince Lvoff régime to control the current of the Revolution, and the passing of power to Kerensky and the Soviets, the divorce between England and Russia became more marked, and the reactionary forces in the English press openly supported the conspiracies in favor of a counter-revolution and a military dictatorship. They hoped, by destroying Kerensky, to make the Right masters of the situation, just as in Ireland they hoped, by destroying the Nationalists, to make the Unionists masters of the situation. And just as, in Ireland, the result of their policy was to substitute Sinn Fein for Nationalism, so the result of their manœuvres in regard to Russia was to help to substitute Lenine for Kerensky.

The key to the tragic failure was lack of faith in the Revolution and lack of understanding of the military condition of Russia. It was not realized that, as an instrument of war, the autocracy had left Russia bankrupt, and that the passionate appeals for a statement of war-aims, an Allied conference, and a movement toward a general peace issued, not from indifference to the Allied cause, but from the hard facts of the Russian position. It was necessary to Kerensky, if he was to keep the Bolsheviks at bay, to convince the Russian democracy that the war was not being prolonged owing to imperialist ambitions on the part of the Allies. That suspicion was propagated by the German agents, encouraged by the extremists, and apparently justified by the secret agreements. If it was to be dissipated, the secret agreements must be repudiated, the waraims be put on a moral plane, and the democratic purpose of the Allies be demonstrated in some tangible way.

No more immediate means was at hand than the dispatch to Russia of British Labor representatives, whose opinions were known and whose presence would be a proof of the good faith of the Allies and an assurance that the British government was in sympathy with the Revolution. Two such delegates were sent, in the persons of Mr. O’Grady and Mr. Will Thorne — excellent men, undeniable workingmen, but quite unhelpful for the purpose Kerensky had in view. As propagandists to Russia, they were comparable to the later selection of Sir F. E Smith, Lord Northcliffe, and Mr. Appleton as the authentic voice of England in America. They did nothing, and could do nothing, to check the suspicion that prevailed in Russia in regard to the motives and outlook of the British people.


On the obvious failure of this mission, the government decided to send Mr. Henderson, as a member of the War Cabinet, to Petrograd, with large powers of initiative. Mr. Henderson had been opposed to the idea of the Stockholm Conference, and his record in the government had not suggested that he was the man to take a bold and independent line in such a novel and perplexing situation as that into which he was suddenly plunged. The result was a surprise to his friends and his critics alike. It led to his fall from the government, but it established him as a first-class personal force in English affairs. He went straight to the heart of the Russian situation, with the directness of a fearless mind in contact with obstinate facts. He saw that the situation was desperate and needed desperate remedies. If the current of the Revolution was to be kept within reasonable bounds, the Kerensky régime must have unequivocal backing against the Bolshevist attacks, and an assurance that the Allies were no longer bound by the secret arrangements made with the Tsardom. Russia had surrendered the imperialist claim to Constantinople, and looked for equivalent action by Russia’s allies. Mr. Henderson determined to bring his government into line with the policy which was dictated by the necessities of the Russian situation. He saw that it was hopeless to expect Russia to fight for objects which it had passionately renounced, and which were never consistent with the ostensible policy of the Allies. He indorsed the programme of ‘no annexations and no [punitive] indemnities,’and urged with all his force the acceptance of the Stockholm Conference, in which he saw the most convincing instrument for restoring Russian confidence in the democratic purpose of the Allies.

With admirable courage, too, he demanded that a second Labor mission, to include Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, should be dispatched to Russia. He knew that such a mission would be an invaluable demonstration of England’s democratic sympathies, and that Mr. Macdonald’s attitude to the war in the past would not prejudice his judgment in regard to the new non-imperialist basis which now seemed about to be established. His urgency in regard to Mr. Macdonald, supported by the British Ambassador in Petrograd, apparently prevailed with the government, but was defeated by the action of the Seamen’s Union, which, under the inspiration of Mr. Havelock Wilson, refused to navigate any ship that carried Mr. Macdonald, and put the same embargo on the Stockholm proposal.

This unprecedented challenge by the syndicalist idea to the authority of government was permitted to prevail. For the first time in history, a tradeunion had imposed its veto on governmental action in a matter of high policy. It is probable that the Cabinet were not unwilling that their decision should be overruled, for, as we now know, this was the period when the Emperor Karl’s peace proposal was under consideration, and the French opposition to Stockholm is explained by the position taken by the French government in regard to the Austrian offer. The same fact sheds light on the whole attitude toward Kerensky. It shows why the secret treaties were not repudiated, and why the appeal for an Allied conference on war-aims was ignored.

But Mr. Henderson, far away in Petrograd, knew nothing of all this. He saw that his mission was ending in failure, that his proposals foundered on hidden rocks of which he knew nothing, and that his colleagues at home were apparently powerless to prevent their intentions being torpedoed by Mr. Havelock Wilson. Satisfied that he could do no more service in Russia, he returned to England to see if he could get the engine to work at that end. He found the atmosphere changed and obscure, and all sympathy with the Stockholm idea gone. But, convinced that the drift in Russia could he stayed only by some decisive demonstration, he set himself to revive the movement, and, as a preliminary, went on his own initiative to Paris, to secure agreement between the British Labor Party and the French Socialists on the subject.

This proceeding, and his subsequent speech on the matter to the Labor Conference in London, led to an open rupture between him and Mr. Lloyd George, who charged him with withholding from the Conference a message from Kerensky on the Stockholm idea, and with his characteristic swiftness for getting the first public hearing in a controversy, issued a letter to the press, attacking his colleague for failure to fulfil his obligation in this respect.

Mr. Henderson, of course, resigned his seat in the War Cabinet, and at the next sitting of the House made a formidable attack on Mr. George, whom he charged with manipulating the press against him and with gross discourtesy toward him since his return from Russia, alleging that he had kept him on the door-mat in his secretary’s office while the War Cabinet, of which he was still a member, was considering what course should be taken in respect to matters on which he had been the plenipotentiary of the War Cabinet.

Into the merits of the controversy, and the causes of the significant change which had unquestionably taken place in regard to Russia between Mr. Henderson’s departure for Petrograd and his return to London, it is not necessary to enter here; but the essential fact in regard to Mr. Henderson is that, in the estimate of the Labor world, his fall was his fortune. He had always been respected, but for the first time he appealed to the imagination of the industrial world with a new and indisputable authority. On a matter touching the deepest issues of democracy, he had shown that he could act with fearless, self-sacrificing courage, and that, having come to certain conclusions, he was made of the stuff that would not yield, no matter what the cost.

Mr. Henderson was not slow to take advantage of the opportunity which this confidence and approval had provided. The Labor movement had fallen into a confused and distracted condition. In Parliament it had never recovered from the shock of the war, and the Parliamentary Party had ceased to act with anything like corporate unity. Mr. Henderson saw that it was impossible to rebuild the movement within the House. If Labor was to be rehabilitated as a political force, it must receive a new form and a new spirit in the country. He decided to apply himself to this task. It was not an easy one, for the fissiparous tendencies visible in Parliament were reflected and aggravated in the country. The overwhelming body of the industrial classes was of course favorable to the war; but there was a formidable measure of hostility, chiefly among the engineers, and particularly among the engineers on the Clyde. The discontent was in some degree due to real trade grievances, and in some degree to the mistaken methods adopted toward them by Mr. Lloyd George, who, essentially an agrarian agitator, has never understood or had any affection for trade-unionism. But it was due in a large degree also to the ferment of the spirit of syndicalism, which had begun to work in advanced Labor circles before the war. The disposition to look to the trade as a self-contained unit of political power, and to distrust the activities and good faith of Parliament, passed easily into suspicions of the origins of the war, and a conviction that it was the outcome of capitalist rivalries, secret diplomacy, and all the paraphernalia of a corrupt and outworn society.

With this attitude of mind Mr. Henderson had no sympathy. He had supported the war from the outset, and was one of the first British ministers to lose a son on the battlefield. But though he was remote from the temper and thought of the Clyde, he was no less separated from the mere jingo sentiment of the other extreme; and his mixture of firmness of purpose and moderation of view, together with the prestige of the Russian incident, gave him precisely the authority which was necessary to bring the scattered forces of Labor together.

There was another fact which added to the significance. No Labor minister before had filled anything like the same place in the machine of government that he had done. John Burns had been in the Cabinet before him, but that was in normal times and offered no parallel to the experience of Mr. Henderson. He had been in two cabinets in circumstances of unprecedented strain and danger; he had shared the burden of government when the ship of state was plunging through uncharted seas; he had taken his place in the inner Cabinet, which controlled the gravest issues of the war; and his separation from the government, so far from discrediting him, had enhanced his reputation more than any other incident in his career. Putting aside his duties in Parliament, he decided to apply the influence and freedom of which he found himself possessed to the reorganization of the Labor Party in the country.


Broadly speaking, there are three great embodiments of industrial activity — the Labor Party, the TradeUnion Congress, and the Coöperative Movement. The functions of these organizations are entirely distinct, and their control unrelated. The Labor Party is exclusively concerned with the political and Parliamentary field, the Trade-Union Congress with the organization and interests of the worker in relation to his industry, the Coöperative Movement with the collective ownership and control of trade.

The Labor Party was the youngest of the three institutions. It had received its intellectual impetus from the Independent Labor Party and the Fabian Society, and was largely dominated by the advanced Socialistic doctrine of those energetic propagandists. Its strength as a political force, in regard both to voting power and to money, however, was due to the backing it had received from the trade-unions, most of which had, in the course of years, become affiliated with the political organization. There was for a time a good deal of opposition from the old school of trade-unionists to association with an exclusively political body; and the miners, who were the first industrial group to send trade-union representatives to Parliament, were the last to recognize the Labor Party as a distinct entity. But though in the end that party had come to represent politically the whole body of the industrial world, there was no real consolidation of the movement, and the war had found out all its weaknesses and had for practical parliamentary purposes completely scrapped it.

The key to the reorganization of the party in the country, as Mr, Henderson saw, was to define more precisely the functions of the Labor Party and the Trade-Union Congress, to strengthen their relationship, and at the same time to open the doors of the Labor Party to individual and unorganized workers, and especially to brain-workers. It is in carrying through this difficult and very complicated scheme that he has shown a high quality of statesmanship and a real gift for affairs. The conception of labor merely as an expression of the unions of organized manual workers gravely limited its intellectual resources and its political outlook. It meant that, apart from the I. L. P, element, there was little reflection in the movement of new ideas, like guild socialism, which were in some measure complementary to, and in some measures subversive of, traditional Socialist theory.

In making the Labor Party accessible to what, for lack of a better word, we may call the intellectuals, Mr. Henderson has given an extraordinary impetus to the movement. He has provided a political shelter for men of advanced views, who found themselves outside all the existing political systems at a time when a definite sphere of cooperative activity was urgently needed. Clergymen, journalists, social workers of all sorts, professional men, and business men who had found themselves aloof from the old political organizations, have flocked to the new standard.

The palsy that has befallen the Liberal Party as the result of the party truce during the war has added to the volume. For four years Liberalism has been paralyzed, and all the ideas for which it has stood in the past have been trodden under the iron heel of the war. Without an appeal to the electorate, a Liberal government returned in 1910 has been replaced, first by a Coalition government, and next by a government in which the Liberal element is only a shadow, the labor element little more, and all the power is in the hands of men of the Milner, Curzon, and Balfour school, with the incalculable empiricism of Mr. Lloyd George at the helm. The Old Guard of the Liberal Party, led by Mr. Asquith, muzzled by the war, chafes under the sense of restraint and futility, and in the country the inaction is breeding an impatience which is emphasizing the drift to the newly opened door of the Labor Party. A new alignment of forces is taking shape, with the interests on the one side, in possession of the machine of government and drawing to themselves all the predatory elements of society, and with the reconstructed Labor Party on the other, with a wider platform and a more comprehensive appeal, absorbing, not only the legions of the organized industrial army but all the scattered forces of democracy. Between the two the Liberal Party, condemned to a sterile inaction, is in danger of being gravely squeezed.

If Mr. Lloyd George’s political strategy has been the principal cause of this new grouping, Mr. Henderson has been the engineer of the counteroffensive. The effects of his astute and far-sighted policy are becoming apparent in a multitude of ways. He has consolidated the movement and energized it, made it both more instructed and more intense, strengthened its brain at the centre and decentralized its activities in the country. He has brought the intellectuals of the Labor movement — such men as Mr. Sidney Webb, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, and Mr. G. D. H. Cole, under his spacious umbrella, and with some measure of common policy. Using these resources with skillful generalship, he has succeeded in giving the Labor Party an authoritative policy, in regard both to war-aims and to post-war reconstruction. He has formulated a great electoral campaign in the country on a basis which, while securing the dominant authority of the trade-unions in the selection of candidates, provides for a large infusion of detached social reformers, who will bring into the movement the breath of ideas and equip it with exact knowledge in all the spheres of government.

The third element in Mr. Henderson’s calculation is one on which his influence can be exercised only indirectly and with great delicacy. The Coöperative Movement has hitherto been entirely outside the world of political activity. It is a movement of vast proportions and the most widespread extension. It has a turn-over of hundreds of millions of money, and conducts business on an imperial scale; but it has stood aloof from the field of public controversy. The experiences of the war, however, with the sweeping changes they have involved in the relationship of the state to trade, have stimulated tendencies which were latent before the war. They have enlarged the vision of the movement, and have endowed it with a new conception of its functions in the state. Its immediate interests, apart from any other consideration, have compelled its legislators to enter the political field. The control of the food-supply, for example, led the Coöperative Society, as the greatest producer and distributor of food, to find a new and very practical concern in the ownership and control of the source of food and of the means of distribution.

In his conception of the new political mobilization of the democratic forces, Mr. Henderson has not omitted this important development, but he has wisely refrained from any attempt at a formal alliance between the Coöperative Movement and Labor. If the former, as seems likely, decides that it must formally enter the political field, it must be left to enter it in its own way. It is not likely that it would succeed on independent lines, for the feeling of the electorate is against sectional representation; but if it decides that its interests are broadly represented by Labor, and that it can best serve those interests by acting with Labor, the initiative must come from itself. In the meantime, Mr. Henderson has stimulated a friendly coöperation with the movement on specific issues in regard to which immediate action has been necessary, and the interests of Labor and Coöperation have been clearly the same.

It would be useless to indulge in predictions in regard to Mr. Henderson’s achievement. The result will depend on too many incalculable factors. But there are certain obvious and predicable considerations. The first is that Mr. Lloyd George’s combination starts with the enormous advantage of the possession of office and of an appeal to interests which, formidable at any time, will be peculiarly formidable in the social disruption brought about by the war. It will be manipulated by the most agile political mind that has ever played a part in British politics — a mind of astonishing fertility of device, of unrivaled ingenuity in playing off this interest against that, of entire freedom from fixed principles, swift, impulsive, plastic, daring, subtle, and unscrupulous, with incomparable powers of appeal and of adaptation to the mood of the moment. He has laid his plans far ahead, is sure of the Tory following, has detached a considerable Liberal element from Mr. Asquith, can rely on the more jingo section of the Labor Party, has a wonderfully drilled press, and the support of the moneyed interest. The defeat of the alternative vote removes a great obstacle from his path. It leaves the Liberal Party and the Labor Party with little hope of compromise, and with the immediate prospect of entering the same field and destroying each other, thus leaving the prize to the candidate of Mr. George’s selection.

In normal circumstances, the electoral prophet would have no doubt as to the triumph of such a combination of forces. But the present circumstances are not normal. The course of the war may in a moment upset all the calculations of political strategy, and a change of government prior to the election would create an entirely new situation.

Moreover, there is the supremely incalculable factor of the soldier. No election is conceivable which does not register his vote; and in the trenches he has been passing through a school which is likely profoundly to affect his political judgment. So far as the evidence goes, there is reason to look for a landslide on the side of Labor. In a hospital ward the other day, a friend of mine discussed politics with twelve soldiers, five of whom in pre-war days had been Conservatives, five Liberals, and two Socialists. All twelve said that they would cast their votes for Labor. This may be exceptional, but it represents the present drift of thought, which seems disposed to cut the painter with the past, and to wish to find expression in some new embodiment of democratic action.

But whatever the result of the electoral conflict, it is safe to say that Mr. Henderson has given a new orientation to politics in England. It wras perhaps an inevitable development of events, but it wfas he who saw how that, development might be shaped, and with large statesmanship brought about an accommodation of diverse and conflicting forces, and provided the channel for them to flow in. He has yet to show whether he has the gift of using the machine he has done so much to fashion; whether, in the manipulation of a Parliamentary situation, he has the swiftness and elasticity that can adjust the mind to rapidly changing conditions. He has directness and force, a strong grip of essentials, and considerable capacity of bringing hostile minds into association. There are few men in the Labor world who can control a tumultuous assembly with a firmer hand, or bring it through the rapids of debate with a cooler head and a more dominating judgment than he. He has none of the bewildering agility of Mr. Lloyd George, but he has the plainer virtues in abundance, knows how to state a policy and stick to it, has the confidence of men if he has not the admiration of men, and is wise enough to regard himself as the instrument of a movement and not its autocrat, as the focus of ideas rather than their inspiration. It remains to be seen whether or not these robust and wholesome qualities are the efficient elements of leadership in the new political world that is coming to birth.

  1. It is interesting to compare Colonel Repington’s view of this same journal. See page 240 of this issue. &emdash; THE EDITOR.