Morgan Philips Price

Morgan Philips Price

Morgan Philips Price was born in Taynton, Gloucestershire, on 29th January, 1885. The son of William Edwin Price, MP for Tewkesbury, he was educated at Harrow. He later recalled: "When I was fourteen I went to Harrow. My father had been to Eton, but my Trevelyan uncle and cousins had all been to Harrow, so my mother found it easier to get my name down for a house. I was very glad she made that choice. I owe much to Harrow and in all my later life have looked back on the old School with veneration, love and respect."

Price then went to Trinity College. In 1906 he inherited a 2000-acre estate. A member of the Liberal Party, Price became prospective party candidate for Gloucester in 1911. He was on the left of the party and soon after his selection he argued: "What in general we have to realize is that the State has to compromise between private and public interests. Private interests, enterprise and initiative must be allowed free play up to a point, but the great Liberal principle is that wherever private interests can be shown to be in antagonism to public interests, then the public interests must prevail. One of the best ways of preventing abuse of private monopoly and privilege is by the free exercise of economic laws or, in other words, by free trade. I look also with great sympathy on the movement of organized labour, because I maintain that if it is properly guided it can be of the greatest progressive force in this country and I am sure that in time the Labour movement will become an international movement and the only great force that will secure international peace."

Price was against Britain's participation in the First World War. In his memoirs he recalled discussing the issue with Charles Trevelyan, E. D. Morel, Bertrand Russell, Arthur Ponsonby and Ramsay MacDonald: "All these doubts about the circumstances under which we had become involved in the First World War were welling up in my mind in the latter part of 1914. In London, I went to see my cousin, Sir Charles Trevelyan, who held the same views as I did, and together we went to see Bertrand Russell, E. D. Morel, Arthur Ponsonby, Lowes Dickinson and Ramsay Macdonald, who had made a very courageous speech in the House on the declaration of War." The men decided to form the Union of Democratic Control, the most important of all the anti-war organizations in Britain. Price's major contribution was the publication of The Diplomatic History of the War (1914).

Price spoke Russian and he was recruited by C.P. Scott to report the war on the Eastern Front for the Manchester Guardian. "He (C. P. Scott) asked me to lunch at his house in Fallowfield and there we arranged something that was to become one of the turning points of my life. It turned out that Scott had been thinking just as I had. He scouted the whole idea that Tsarist Russia was going to change as the result of being allied to us and France; rather he feared the reverse might happen. He wanted someone to go to Russia for the Manchester Guardian and keep him informed about what was happening there. He might not be able to publish everything that was sent for reasons connected with the War, but at least he wanted to be informed."

Price was sent to Petrograd and reported on the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II. On 8th July, 1917, Alexander Kerensky became the new leader of the Provisional Government. In the Duma he had been leader of the moderate socialists and had been seen as the champion of the working-class. However, Kerensky, like his predecessor, George Lvov, was unwilling to end the war. In fact, soon after taking office, he announced a new summer offensive.

The Bolsheviks grew in strength and Price watched their leaders, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, very closely during this period. "Lenin struck me as being a man who, in spite of the revolutionary jargon that he used, was aware of the obstacles facing him and his party. There was no doubt that Lenin was the driving force behind the Bolshevik Party... He was the brains and the planner, but not the orator or the rabble-rouser. That function fell to Trotsky. I watched the latter, several times that evening, rouse the Congress delegates, who were becoming listless, probably through long hours of excitement and waiting. He was always the man who could say the right thing at the right moment. I could see that there was beginning now that fruitful partnership between him and Lenin that did so much to carry the Revolution through the critical periods that were coming."

Price explained in the Manchester Guardian on 19th November, 1917, why the government of Alexander Kerensky fell: "The Government of Kerensky fell before the Bolshevik insurgents because it had no supporters in the country. The bourgeois parties and the generals and the staff disliked it because it would not establish a military dictatorship. The Revolutionary Democracy lost faith in it because after eight months it had neither given land to the peasants nor established State control of industries, nor advanced the cause of the Russian peace programme. Instead it brought off the July advance without any guarantee that the Allies had agreed to reconsider war aims. The Bolsheviks thus acquired great support all over the country. In my journey in the provinces in September and October I noticed that every local Soviet had been captured by them."

Price was initially sympathetic to the leaders of the Russian Revolution. However, he disapproved of the Constituent Assemby being closed down and the banning political parties such as the Cadets, Mensheviks and the Socialist Revolutionaries. Price reported on those Bolsheviks who disapproved of these tactics. This included interviewing Rosa Luxemburg in while in prison in Berlin. He later reported: "She asked me if the Soviets were working entirely satisfactorily. I replied, with some surprise, that of course they were. She looked at me for a moment, and I remember an indication of slight doubt on her face, but she said nothing more. Then we talked about something else and soon after that I left. Though at the moment when she asked me that question I was a little taken aback, I soon forgot about it. I was still so dedicated to the Russian Revolution, which I had been defending against the Western Allies' war of intervention, that I had had no time for anything else."

On his return to England, Price published My Reminiscences of the Russian Revolution (1921). In the book he criticised Lenin's Bolshevik government and instead supported the views put forward by Rosa Luxemburg: "She did not like the Russian Communist Party monopolizing all power in the Soviets and expelling anyone who disagreed with it. She feared that Lenin's policy had brought about, not the dictatorship of the working classes over the middle classes, which she approved of but the dictatorship of the Communist Party over the working classes. The dictatorship of a class - yes, she said, but not the dictatorship of a party over a class."

Price worked for the Daily Herald in Germany (1919-23) and after joining the Labour Party, was its unsuccessful candidate for Gloucester in three successive elections (1922, 1923 and 1924). He was elected to represent Whitehaven in the 1929 General Election and was appointed by Ramsay MacDonald as Private Secretary to Charles Trevelyan, president of the Board of Education.

In March 1931 MacDonald asked Sir George May, to form a committee to look into Britain's economic problems. The committee included two members that had been nominated from the three main political parties. At the same time, John Maynard Keynes, the chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, published his report on the causes and remedies for the depression. This included an increase in public spending and by curtailing British investment overseas.

Philip Snowden rejected these ideas and this was followed by the resignation of Price's uncle, Charles Trevelyan, the Minister of Education. "For some time I have realised that I am very much out of sympathy with the general method of Government policy. In the present disastrous condition of trade it seems to me that the crisis requires big Socialist measures. We ought to be demonstrating to the country the alternatives to economy and protection. Our value as a Government today should be to make people realise that Socialism is that alternative."

When the May Committee produced its report in July, 1931, it forecast a huge budget deficit of £120 million and recommended that the government should reduce its expenditure by £97,000,000, including a £67,000,000 cut in unemployment benefits. The two Labour Party nominees on the committee, Arthur Pugh and Charles Latham, refused to endorse the report. As David W. Howell has pointed out: "A committee majority of actuaries, accountants, and bankers produced a report urging drastic economies; Latham and Pugh wrote a minority report that largely reflected the thinking of the TUC and its research department. Although they accepted the majority's contentious estimate of the budget deficit as £120 million and endorsed some economies, they considered the underlying economic difficulties not to be the result of excessive public expenditure, but of post-war deflation, the return to the gold standard, and the fall in world prices. An equitable solution should include taxation of holders of fixed-interest securities who had benefited from the fall in prices."

The cabinet decided to form a committee consisting of Ramsay MacDonald, Philip Snowden, Arthur Henderson, Jimmy Thomas and William Graham to consider the report. On 5th August, John Maynard Keynes wrote to MacDonald, describing the May Report as "the most foolish document I ever had the misfortune to read." He argued that the committee's recommendations clearly represented "an effort to make the existing deflation effective by bringing incomes down to the level of prices" and if adopted in isolation, they would result in "a most gross perversion of social justice". Keynes suggested that the best way to deal with the crisis was to leave the Gold Standard and devalue sterling. Two days later, Sir Ernest Harvey, the deputy governor of the Bank of England, wrote to Snowden to say that in the last four weeks the Bank had lost more than £60 million in gold and foreign exchange, in defending sterling. He added that there was almost no foreign exchange left.

The cabinet met on 19th August but they were unable to agree on Snowden's proposals. He warned that balancing the budget was the only way to restore confidence in sterling. Snowden argued that if his recommendations were not accepted, sterling would collapse. He added "that if sterling went the whole international financial structure would collapse, and there would be no comparison between the present depression and the chaos and ruin that would face us."

Ramsay MacDonald went to see George V about the economic crisis on 23rd August. He warned the King that several Cabinet ministers were likely to resign if he tried to cut unemployment benefit. MacDonald wrote in his diary: "King most friendly and expressed thanks and confidence. I then reported situation and at end I told him that after tonight I might be of no further use, and should resign with the whole Cabinet.... He said that he believed I was the only person who could carry the country through."

On 24th August 1931 MacDonald returned to the palace and told the King that he had the Cabinet's resignation in his pocket. The King replied that he hoped that MacDonald "would help in the formation of a National Government." He added that by "remaining at his post, his position and reputation would be much more enhanced than if he surrendered the Government of the country at such a crisis." Eventually, he agreed to form a National Government.

MacDonald returned to 10 Downing Street and called his final Labour Cabinet. He told them that he had changed his mind about resigning and that he agreed to form a National Government. Sidney Webb recorded in his diary: "He announced this very well, with great feeling, saying that he knew the cost, but could not refuse the King's request, that he would doubtless be denounced and ostracized, but could do no other." When the meeting was over, he asked Philip Snowden, Jimmy Thomas and John Sankey to stay behind and invited them to join the new government. All three agreed and they kept their old jobs. Other appointments included Stanley Baldwin (Lord President of the Council), Neville Chamberlain (Health), Samuel Hoare (Secretary of State for India), Herbert Samuel (Home Office), Philip Cunliffe-Lister (Board of Trade) and Lord Reading (Foreign Office).

Morgan Philips Price commented: "I found Members delighted that Ramsay Macdonald, Philip Snowden and J. H. Thomas had severed themselves from us by their action. We had got rid of the Right Wing without any effort on our part. No one trusted Mr Thomas and Philip Snowden was recognized to be a nineteenth-century Liberal with no longer any place amongst us. State action to remedy the economic crisis was anathema to him. As for Ramsay Macdonald, he was obviously losing his grip on affairs. He had no background of knowledge of economic and financial questions and was hopelessly at sea in a crisis like this. But many, if not most, of the Labour M.P.s thought that at an election we should win hands down."

The 1931 General Election was held on 27th October, 1931. MacDonald led an anti-Labour alliance made up of Conservatives and National Liberals. It was a disaster for the Labour Party with only 46 members winning their seats. Several leading Labour figures, including Morgan Philips Price, Arthur Henderson, John R. Clynes, Arthur Greenwood, Hastings Lees-Smith, Herbert Morrison, William Graham, Tom Shaw, Emanuel Shinwell, Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, Hugh Dalton, Susan Lawrence, William Wedgwood Benn, Albert Alexander, Margaret Bondfield and Frederick Roberts, lost their seats.

Price became the Labour Party candidate for the Forest of Dean and won the seat in the 1935 General Election. He held the seat until the 1950 General Election when he switched to Gloucestershire West. He retired from the House of Commons in 1959. His memoirs, My Three Revolutions, was published in 1969.

Morgan Philips Price died on 23rd September, 1973.

Primary Sources

(1) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

When I was fourteen I went to Harrow. My father had been to Eton, but my Trevelyan uncle and cousins had all been to Harrow, so my mother found it easier to get my name down for a house. I was very glad she made that choice. I owe much to Harrow and in all my later life have looked back on the old School with veneration, love and respect. The object of a gentleman's education in those days was not to teach him to work, but rather to enjoy his leisure, to join one of the armed forces or the Church, and to be a pillar of society. The land-owning aristocracy still had a big influence, especially in a school like Harrow. But it had already been considerably tempered by the coming of the middle classes throughout the last part of the nineteenth century; and to be in successful business and well-to-do was considered quite commendable when I was at Harrow. In spite of certain barriers of aristocratic privilege which could still be felt at the School, these barriers were breaking down. New forces were springing up from below. The School was, in fact, a microcosm of what was going on in the rest of the country and change was slowly coming even then at the end of the Victorian era.

(2) Morgan Philips Price, speech as prospective Liberal Party candidate in Gloucester (1911)

What in general we have to realize is that the State has to compromise between private and public interests. Private interests, enterprise and initiative must be allowed free play up to a point, but the great Liberal principle is that wherever private interests can be shown to be in antagonism to public interests, then the public interests must prevail. One of the best ways of preventing abuse of private monopoly and privilege is by the free exercise of economic laws or, in other words, by free trade. I look also with great sympathy on the movement of organized labour, because I maintain that if it is properly guided it can be of the greatest progressive force in this country and I am sure that in time the Labour movement will become an international movement and the only great force that will secure international peace.

(3) Morgan Philips Price, Union of Democratic Control, (July, 1917)

I have been appalled at the abominable behaviour of the Northcliffe Press in England, especially of its correspondent, Wilton, in Petrograd, whom, by the way, I know quite well, for spreading the provocative reports about the Union of Soldiers and Workers, and trying to discredit them in Western Europe. I only hope the Russian people will turn the Times correspondent out of Petrograd.

(4) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

All these doubts about the circumstances under which we had become involved in the First World War were welling up in my mind in the latter part of 1914. In London, I went to see my cousin, Sir Charles Trevelyan, who held the same views as I did, and together we went to see Bertrand Russell, E. D. Morel, Arthur Ponsonby, Lowes Dickinson and Ramsay Macdonald, who had made a very courageous speech in the House on the declaration of War. I became one of the founder members of the Union of Democratic Control: at that time we thought that the best way to expose the European anarchy that had caused the War was to form a society of this kind to which people who had not lost their heads could belong. Also I sat down and wrote a book which was entitled The Diplomatic History of the War. This aimed to show that all the European Powers were in some way responsible for the disaster. Messrs George Alien & Unwin displayed considerable courage in publishing the book, which was heavily attacked by most reviewers, as war fever was rapidly rising. Nevertheless, the book sold like hot cakes and soon went to a second edition.

(5) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

All this confirmed me in the view that I might be able to play some part in helping to inform public opinion about Russia more accurately. I had been to the country and spoke the language and I thought at once of Mr C. P. Scott, the famous editor of the Manchester Guardian, for whom I had already done some work during my journeys in Turkey and the Middle East in the previous two years. So when I went up to Manchester, as I regularly did, to see my aunt at the Philips' family home near Prestwich, I went also to see C. P. Scott. He asked me to lunch at his house in Fallowfield and there we arranged something that was to become one of the turning points of my life. It turned out that Scott had been thinking just as I had. He scouted the whole idea that Tsarist Russia was going to change as the result of being allied to us and France; rather he feared the reverse might happen. He wanted someone to go to Russia for the Manchester Guardian and keep him informed about what was happening there. He might not be able to publish everything that was sent for reasons connected with the War, but at least he wanted to be informed. So it was fixed up that I should go out to Russia as correspondent to the Manchester Guardian at least for the coming winter and for longer if it proved desirable. While I was still with him, Scott wrote, in immaculate French, a letter to all concerned appointing me his correspondent in Russia.

(6) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

Lenin struck me as being a man who, in spite of the revolutionary jargon that he used, was aware of the obstacles facing him and his party. There was no doubt that Lenin was the driving force behind the Bolshevik Party and so of this second Russian Revolution. He was the brains and the planner, but not the orator or the rabble-rouser. That function fell to Trotsky. I watched the latter, several times that evening, rouse the Congress delegates, who were becoming listless, probably through long hours of excitement and waiting. He was always the man who could say the right thing at the right moment. I could see that there was beginning now that fruitful partnership between him and Lenin that did so much to carry the Revolution through the critical periods that were coming. What would have happened if they had not been there, particularly Lenin, is one of the riddles of history. Probably there would have been the same result in the end, but only after long periods of chaos and distress. There was to be plenty of that anyway, but without Lenin there would have been much more of it. This fact clearly disproves the Marxist theory that objective conditions alone determine the course of history. The personalities of Lenin and Trotsky and their respective roles in the Revolution shows that that is not so.

(7) In his book, My Reminiscences of the Russian Revolution, Morgan Philips Price described the demonstrations that took place in Russia on 1st May, 1917.

I do not think I ever saw a more impressive spectacle than on this occasion. It was not merely a labour demonstration, although every socialist party and workmen's union in Russia was represented there, from anarcho-syndicalists to the most moderate of the middle-class democrats. It was not merely an international demonstration, although every nationality of what had been the Russian Empire was represented there with its flag and inscription in some rare, strange tongue, from the Baltic Finns to the Tunguses of Siberia. The First of May celebration, 1917, in Petrograd and throughout the length and breadth of Russia was really a great religious festival, in which the whole human race was invited to commemorate the brotherhood of man. Revolutionary Russia had a message to the world, and was telling it across the roar of the cannons and the din of battle.

(8) Morgan Philips Price, Manchester Guardian (17th July, 1917)

There then rose upon the tribune a man whose name has been on all lips for many weeks past - Lenin. He is a short man with a round head, small pig-like eyes, and close-cropped hair. The words poured from his mouth, overwhelming all in a flood of oratory. One sat spellbound at his command of language and the passion of his denunciation. But when it was all over one felt inclined to scratch one's head and ask what it was all about.

(9) Morgan Philips Price, Manchester Guardian (17th July, 1917)

In a large house in the main street I found the headquarters of the Kronstadt Soviet. With some little misgiving I passed by the sentries and asked to see the President. I was taken into a room, where I saw a young man with a red badge on his coat looking through some papers, who appeared to be a student. He had long hair and dreamy eyes, with a far-off look of an idealist. This was the elected President of the Kronstadt Workers', Soldiers' and Sailors Soviet.

"Be seated," he said. "I suppose you have come down here from Petrograd to see if all the stories about our terror are true. You will probably have observed that there is nothing extraordinary going on here; we are simply putting this place into order after the tyranny and chaos of the late Tsarist regime. The workmen, soldiers and sailors here find that they can do this job better by themselves than by leaving it to people who call themselves democrats, but are really friends of the old regime. That is why we have declared the Konstadt Soviet the supreme authority in the island."

"The soldiers and sailors were treated on this island like dogs. They were worked from early morning till late at night. They were not allowed any recreations for fear that they would associate for political purposes. Nowhere could you study the slavery system of capitalist imperialism better than here. For the smallest misdemeanor a man was put in chains, and if he was found with a Socialist pamphlet in his possession he was shot."

I was taken to a prison on the south side of the island, where were kept the former military police, gendarmes, police spies and provocateurs of fallen Tsarism. The quarters were very bad, and many of the cells had no windows at all.

I met a Major-General, formerly in command of the fortress artillery of Kronstadt. He stood in his shirt-sleeves - no medalled tunic decorated his breast any more. His red-striped trousers of Prussian blue bore signs of three months' wear in confinement. Sheepishly he looked at me, as if uncertain whether it was dignified for him to tell his troubles to a stray foreigner.

"I wish they would bring some indictment against us," he said at length, "for to sit here for three months and not to know what our fate is to be is rather hard." "And I sat here, not three months, but three years," broke in the sailor guard who was taking us round, "and I didn't know what was going to happen to me, although my only offence was that I had been distributing a pamphlet on the life of Karl Marx."

I pointed out to the sailor that the prison accommodation was unfit for a human being. He answered, "Well, I sat here all that time because of these gentlemen, and I think that if they had known they were going to sit here they would have made better prisons!"

(10) Morgan Philips Price, wrote a memorandum about the Bolsheviks on 28th October, 1917.

The soldiers in the garrison towns in the rear follow the Bolsheviks to a man; and small wonder; for what interest have they to leave the towns and go to sit in trenches to fight about something that is of no interest to them, especially when they know that at the front they will get neither food to eat nor proper clothes against the winter cold? The workers in the factories are also strongly inclined to go with the Bolsheviks, because they know that only the end of the war will give them the food, for the lack of which they are half-starving.

(11) In his book My Reminiscences of the Russian Revolution, Morgan Philips Price, described a speech made by Irakli Tsereteli when the Bolsheviks were threatening to close down the Constituent Assembly.

In this swan-song apology for the history of the previous eight months, Tsereteli was the same as ever - thoughtful, unemotional, philosophic, calm, like some Zeus from Olympus, contemplating the conflicts of the lesser gods. "The Constituent Assembly," he said, "elected democratically by the whole country, should be the highest authority in the land. If this is so, then why should an ultimatum be sent to it by the Central Soviet Executive? Such an ultimatum can only mean the intensification of civil war. Will this help to realize Socialism?" On the contrary, it will only assist the German militarists to divide the revolutionary front. The break-up of the Constituent Assembly will only serve the interests of the bourgeoisie, whom you (the Bolsheviks) profess to be fighting. The Assembly alone can save the Revolution.

(12) Morgan Philips Price, Manchester Guardian (19th November 1917)

The Government of Kerensky fell before the Bolshevik insurgents because it had no supporters in the country. The bourgeois parties and the generals and the staff disliked it because it would not establish a military dictatorship. The Revolutionary Democracy lost faith in it because after eight months it had neither given land to the peasants nor established State control of industries, nor advanced the cause of the Russian peace programme. Instead it brought off the July advance without any guarantee that the Allies had agreed to reconsider war aims. The Bolsheviks thus acquired great support all over the country. In my journey in the provinces in September and October I noticed that every local Soviet had been captured by them. The Executive Committee of the All-Russia Council of Workers' and Soldiers' Delegates elected last summer clearly did not represent the feelings of the revolutionary masses in October. The Bolsheviks, therefore, insisted on a re-election and the summoning of a second All-Russia Soviet Congress, only the Right Wing of the Socialist parties opposing this. After the statement of Mr Bonar Law that the Paris Conference was only for military purposes, they seemed to have decided on armed rebellion.

(13) Manchester Guardian (8th January 1918)

Our Petrograd correspondent, in his interesting and candid analysis of the Bolshevik policy, tells us that the Germans are anxious to hurry negotiations in order to show results, whereas the Russians, knowing the internal conditions in Germany, want rather to gain time in order that the inner meaning of the crisis may sink into the minds of the German people. They hope to produce a dangerous political crisis in Germany and even disaffection among the German troops.

Our Petrograd correspondent is also very frank about the difficulties of the Bolsheviks. Some of them seem to be saying that, if the Allies do not accept their principles and join in the negotiations, that will relieve them from insisting on the principle of self-determination elsewhere. That, of course, is a threat. When will the English people understand that in questions of international policy, they are not in the position of school-masters awarding marks for good conduct and moral excellence! We are not called upon to pronounce an opinion on the Bolsheviks, but to defend the interests of our own country and (though here the responsibility is divided with others) of humanity at large. We know of no way of helping British interests except through the Bolsheviks. Whether they are potentially wise or not is not the question. Did we ask that question when the Tsar was in power, when we concluded our arrangements with Russia with regard to Asia?

(14) Manchester Guardian (31st January 1918)

The Allied Imperialists accuse us of being the agents of Germany. The German Imperialists accuse us of being the agents of the Allies. The combined accusations, neutralizing each other, prove the hypocrisy of both and our honesty. Hindenburg knows he cannot break the West Front and hopes to strengthen the Prussian oligarchy at the expense of revolutionary Russia. Their psychology is such that they think that since Russia wants peace at any cost, and they want peace at Russia's cost, the more they demand the more they will get. This is not a national and territorial but a class struggle, for the Prussian oligarchy wants to save the German aristocracy in the Baltic provinces from ruin at the hands of the Russian Revolution. How cynical and hypocritical are the Allied Imperialists who seem ready to agree to a compromise and an annexationist's peace at the expense of Russia. What else did Lloyd-George mean when he said Russia should make her own terms with Germany?

(15) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

Karl Radek had furnished me in Moscow with introductions to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, the famous Spartakist leaders in Germany. So I began to search for them and, after a while, I found the headquarters of the Spartakusbund, the most revolutionary of all the German Left parties. After my credentials had been carefully inspected, I was taken to see Rosa Luxemburg.

A slight little woman, she showed at once a powerful intellect and a quiet grasp of any given situation. She had heard about me and of the fact that I had taken up a strong stand against the Allied intervention in Russia. She proceeded to question me about the situation in Russia. I told her how the White Counter-Revolution had been beaten on the Volga and thrown back to Siberia, but that Lenin had spoken to me not long before with some apprehension of the possibility of Allied military support for the Russian Whites in South Russia, now that the Dardanelles and Black Sea were open to British and French warships. Then she asked me a question, the significance of which I did not appreciate at the time. She asked me if the Soviets were working entirely satisfactorily. I replied, with some surprise, that of course they were. She looked at me for a moment, and I remember an indication of slight doubt on her face, but she said nothing more. Then we talked about something else and soon after that I left.

Though at the moment when she asked me that question I was a little taken aback, I soon forgot about it. I was still so dedicated to the Russian Revolution, which I had been defending against the Western Allies' war of intervention, that I had had no time for anything else. But a week or two later I began to hear that Rosa Luxemburg differed from Lenin on several matters of revolutionary policy, and especially about the role of the Communist Party in the Workers' and Peasants' Councils, or Soviets. She did not like the Russian Communist Party monopolizing all power in the Soviets and expelling anyone who disagreed with it. She feared that Lenin's policy had brought about, not the dictatorship of the working classes over the middle classes, which she approved of but the dictatorship of the Communist Party over the working classes. The dictatorship of a class - yes, she said, but not the dictatorship of a party over a class. Later, I began to see that Luxemburg had much wisdom in her attitude, though it was not apparent to me at the time. Looking back, it seems that she was not so critical of Lenin's tactics for Russia. She did not want them applied to Germany. Alas, she never lived to use her influence on her colleagues in the Spartakusbund for more than a few weeks after I saw her.

(16) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

I found that the cost of upkeep of the farms was swallowing up the whole of the estate rents and more. Inflation of costs and prices had made deficits on landed estates inevitable. So I finally decided to sell half the farms on the Tibberton estate and use the money for the upkeep and improvement of the remaining farms and for house-building. Meanwhile, I gave a considerable sum, which had accumulated as dividends from the timber business, to the Daily Herald. For George Lansbury then required help to build the paper up and, being a paper of the Left, it had a hard struggle to make good in a country where the newspaper industry was commercialized. So I gave my brother Power of Attorney to pay to George Lansbury £15,000 to help the Daily Herald.

(17) Morgan Philips Price, My Three Revolutions (1969)

Early in the summer vacation (August 21st) the Labour Government resigned and each Labour M.P. received a letter from the Prime Minister informing him that he had felt constrained to form a National Government and had secured the support of Mr Baldwin, the leader of the Opposition. Some Conservative Members would be taken into the Government. Mr Snowden and Mr J. H. Thomas had agreed to continue in their offices and it was hoped that the Parliamentary Labour Party would agree with what had been done. At the same time a message arrived summoning all Labour M.P.s to attend a meeting of the Parliamentary Party in London. Incredibly, I was playing cricket when it arrived. I rushed up to

London at once. I found Members delighted that Ramsay Macdonald, Philip Snowden and J. H. Thomas had severed themselves from us by their action. We had got rid of the Right Wing without any effort on our part. No one trusted Mr Thomas and Philip Snowden was recognized to be a nineteenth-century Liberal with no longer any place amongst us. State action to remedy the economic crisis was anathema to him. As for Ramsay Macdonald, he was obviously losing his grip on affairs. He had no background of knowledge of economic and financial questions and was hopelessly at sea in a crisis like this. But many, if not most, of the Labour M.P.s thought that at an election we should win hands down. I was not so optimistic and wrote in a memorandum which I published in a local paper in my constituency at the time. "The country is thoroughly frightened and our Party has not proved that it has an alternative policy or the courage to put one through if it had one."