As is discussed in my novel An Ordinary Life when talking about the 1979 election in the UK and the rise of what was known as Militant.
Mike Pearce was saying, " As a manufacturing country, we cannot afford to let the skills and expertise fade away. If we could only truly politicise the working class so that all became active, they would take over the unions and make them do what the true working class want the unions to do. That is push for a socialist society. From a position of strength in the unions, ordinary people could then move into the ward and Constituency Labour Parties. I reckon the only way to save the Labour Party from the disaster of another election defeat is to start putting in place a Marxist agenda. There is a newspaper called Militant which argues this.”
“ That is not the way,” Tom put in softly. “ We have to create wealth. My brand of socialism has always been about how we use the wealth to create equality rather than the state running everything. Like you Mike, I fail to see how anybody can justify earning one hundred times more than the ordinary worker but we have to create wealth before we can embark on a socialist agenda. The rich and more fortunate in society have to be convinced that taxes are a way of encouraging the poor and disadvantaged to better themselves.”
“ In order to create wealth for the whole of society we have to encourage people to take risks and keep a great proportion of their wealth,” Edward shrugged eloquently. “ What is most important, as Tom said, is how we then use the wealth created. There has to be an element of redistribution within the system but more important is that everyone has access to a good health service no matter how rich they are. In addition, the education system should be funded so that every child has a chance to fulfil their potential.”
“ You would say that, Edward Houseman,” Mike almost shouted. “ You have wealth and a high standard of living. You never have to think about where the next penny is coming from. Your wife never has to make choices between whether to feed all the family small portions or whether to go without herself so that her husband and children will get enough. There is a lot of poverty out there which the world does not see. All poor people are not slovenly. Some struggle to put on the best outward appearance they can to the world. It is these people we have to help and letting the stinking rich keep more of their earnings is not going to help these people.”
“ Will it help the poor people of this country if we tax all the rich people to such an extent that they take their wealth and talent abroad and do not pay any taxes at all?” Edward put to Mike bluntly. “ People with wealth spend their money here which helps with employment. We have to stay true to our Labour Party principles while finding a way which allows people to make money while helping those at the bottom of the heap.”
“ Rubbish!” Mike shot back equally bluntly. “ The wealth of this country is made by those who work with their skilled hands. Could your average managing director make something from a block of metal? Could they stand the heat of the shop floor? Militant newspapers says that we should do away with the management classes as they stand and run our factories by workers councils.”