Saturday, 13 July 2024

The Fighting Programme Of The Social Credit Party – Introduction

MAJOR Clifford Hugh ‘C. H.’ Douglas (1879 – 1952) was a British engineer & economist.  Whilst working at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, in 1916 he noticed that workers were paid (via wages, salaries & dividends) less than the factory was generating costs.  In layman’s terms it meant that people didn’t have enough money to buy the goods they needed.  

To avoid the endless economic cycles of boom & bust, Douglas proposed a that the government should make purchasing power (‘money’) available to the public to match the goods & services available to them.   

The money to be issued would take the form of a ‘National Dividend’ – distributed equally to everyone over & above their earnings.  He also advocated a price adjustment – known as the Just Price – which would reduce retail prices & stop inflation.  The overall idea became known as ‘Social Credit’.  

One man who became attracted to his ideas was the charismatic John Hargrave.  Douglas opposed the entry of the Social Credit movement into parliamentary politics.  But Hargrave didn’t.  In 1935 he formed the Social Credit Party of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – SCP – to fight the forthcoming General Election.  

Four years later Hargrave’s SCP produced The Fighting Programme Of The Social Credit Party.  We’ll be reproducing it over the next few months as we think that Social Credit offers an exciting alternative to the tired old dogmas of capitalism & socialism.  Over 80 years since it was published, we feel that it offers much food for thought  

This Introduction gives a rough idea of what’s to follow.  We find the use of some phrases like liberation ‘from the Dead Hand of Finance’ & the ‘Hidden Government of Finance’ intriguing.   They provide some clue as to whom Hargrave thought was the real enemy of progress.  

It is also important to note that the National Liberal Party is not a Social Credit party per se.  As always, our intention is to promote lively but mature debate.   

Let us know what you think (of Hargrave’s SCP ideas) in the comments section when you see this article on the National Liberal Party’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/NationalLiberalParty – or our National Liberals Facebook page –   https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313  

The NLP would be interested to hear from both supporters & opponents of Social Credit.  We’d particularly like to know from readers if they think that there’s anything in this Fighting Programme that might be useful today.     

 

The Fighting Programme Of The Social Credit Party – Introduction  

Front cover of John Hargrave’s The Fighting Programme Of The Social Credit Party. First published in August 1939, it still offers a radical alternative forward. The Social Credit ideas here offer an exciting alternative to the tired old dogmas of capitalism & socialism.
We regard John Hargrave as a ‘point of reference’ in that he said or did things that we find of great interest. As we’ve mentioned previously (in other articles) that doesn’t mean that we place him, or any other ‘point of reference’ on a pedestal, so to speak.
It is also important to note that the National Liberal Party is not a Social Credit party per se. Our intention here is to provoke a debate as to whether there is anything in this Fighting Programme that might be useful today.

The Fighting Programme Of The Social Credit Party was first produced by the Social Credit Party of Great Britain & Northern Ireland in August 1939 – a month before World War II started in Europe.  A second edition was issued in 1941.  

According to the SCP leader, John Hargave, the programme was ‘proclaimed the basis for action throughout the British Isles at the National Assembly of the Social Credit Party, held in Wynch Bottom, Buckinghamshire, May 28th, 1939.  

However difficult or dangerous the task may be, the Party is determined to fight its way forward, step by step, towards the fulfilment of the 12 Points of this programme – and the leaders of the party themselves never to swerve from this objective’.  

The 12 Points that Hargrave referred to were:  

1.  Finance:  Establish a Sane Economic System  

2.  Government:  Make the Will of the People Effective  

3.  Work:  Abolish Unemployment And Wage Slavery  

4.  Defence:  Create Effective Defence Forces  

5.  Food Supply:  Regenerate the Soil  

6.  Health:  Regenerate the People  

7.  Industry:  Increase Mechanisation  

8.  Building:  Demolish the Slums: Build New Towns and Cities  

9.  Transport:  Reorganise the Transport System  

10.  Education:  Provide Equal Opportunity for All  

11.  Culture:  Make Leisure Available to All  

12.  Foreign Policy:  Abolish War  

The publication was debated, written & produced prior to World War II.  But it must have been absolutely clear was on the horizon, as in another introductory section,  we read that ‘War Demands A Debt-Free Britain!’  

This is followed by a declaration that ‘The British People must have direction and leadership in order to:-  

1.  Break The Stranglehold Of Finance.  

2.  Free The Individual By Establishing A Sane Economic System.  

3.  Regenerate The Nation By Implementing A Definite Programme Of Reconstruction.   

Words are not enough.  We must gather the most vigorous intellects and the most energetic fearless, and unrelenting types from all classes and sections of the community to build up, consolidate, and direct the determination of the British People to liberate themselves from the Dead Hand of Finance, by developing a National Movement which shall bring pressure to bear:-  

1.  Inside Parliament.  

2.  Outside Parliament.  

The Social Credit Party has formulated, and is pledged to put into effect, this Programme of Social Economic Regeneration, immediately power has been wrested from the Hidden Government of Finance.’  

•  IN THE next part of our series we’ll take a look at how Hargrave would have established an economic system. 

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