THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Labour Party ‘care less for the Empire than they do for Bolshevist Russia’

From the News Letter, November 12, 1920

Thursday, 12th November 2020, 6:00 am
Westminster Bridge pictured here in 1928, it extends from the Houses of Parliament on the North side of the River to St. Thomas's Hospital on the Surrey side, and was built in 1869 at an approximate cost of £1,000,000. Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Westminster Bridge pictured here in 1928, it extends from the Houses of Parliament on the North side of the River to St. Thomas's Hospital on the Surrey side, and was built in 1869 at an approximate cost of £1,000,000. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

“The House of Commons read the Home Rule Bill a third time yesterday, and it now goes to the House Lords. Its rejection was moved Mr Adamson, the leader of the Labour Party, whose alternative policy to withdraw the Army from Ireland, deprive law-abiding subjects all protection, and allow the Sinn Feiners to set a republic if they like,” declared the News Letter on this day in 1920.

The News Letter’s editorial continued: “Anarchy and civil war in Ireland, and a standing menace to Great Britain are the remedies which he advocates. Is it any wonder that the Party to which belongs is making progress in the constituencies? He and his friends, encouraging the majority the Irish people to reject the large measure of self-government which is offered them, are doing them and the Empire the greatest disservice in their power. The majority of them, however, care less for the Empire than they do for Bolshevist Russia.”

The News Letter that there has been some conciliatory comments from former liberal Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith.

Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, KG, PC, KC, FRS (12 September 1852 – 15 February 1928), generally known as H H Asquith, was a British statesman and Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 191

The editorial commented: “Mr Asquith’s speech in opposition to the Bill was conciliatory in tone, but not otherwise helpful. What we have said about encouraging the rebels applies to him even more than it does to the Labour Party.”

But yet the News Letter was scathing of Asquith and his time as Prime Minister

The News Letter continued: “He appealed the House Commons to make declaration that would convince the majority of the Irish people that they could have absolute self-government in regard to their own internal affairs, provided that is consistent with the strategic defence the Empire and the protection minorities, but the proviso, in their eyes, destroys the offer.

“They are not concerned about the defence of Empire which they hate, the protection of a minority which they are determined oppress.

“Mr Asquith denied that he was talking vague generalities, hut what else was he doing? He gave indication of the protection which would give minorities, and he has said in previous speeches that would trust the defence the Empire to a promise by the Sinn Feiners to allow the British warships free access to Irish harbours.”

The News Letter’s editorial concluded: “All loyal subjects, whether they live in Groat Britain Ireland, agree with him in desiring harmony between the two islands, but many of them cannot share his hope that they will see it.”