Mr Fenner Brockway – Champion of the Oppressed

MT 60 Yrs – 

Our London Letter

Mr Brockway is loved and revered by thousands of Africans and Indians who see him as the champion of the oppressed, fighting against oppression and prejudice wherever he sees them. In 1952 he visited Kenya but was not expected to return alive — not because of the Mau-Mau but because of the occupying powers, the white settlers, who were furious with him and his companion, Leslie Hale, also a Labour M.P. (See Alexander Campbell’s ‘The Heart of Africa’).

During Mr Brockway’s first visit to Kenya he stayed with Chief Koinange. A tea party was given in his honour to which were invited 90 representative Africans. Thirty thousand turned up! and jammed the roads for miles around.

In his new book ‘African Journeys’ (published by Gollancz at 13s 6d.), Mr Brockway suggests reforms vital for peace and prosperity in Kenya. To alleviate land hunger, land must be made available for the Africans. Co-operative farming must be encouraged, and the British Co-operative Movement should help. Trebled wages are essential; also an expansion of a programme of social reforms including health services, new housing, and schools. An internally self-governing Gold Coast has undertaken such a programme, and there is no reason why in Kenya also the economic and social status of the African should not be raised.

Mr Brockway also deals in this book with his visits to French North Africa and the national liberation movements there.

Malta

Back in Malta, the Labour Prime Minister Mr Dom Mintoff addressed a crowd of 20,000 (from all parts of the island) on his talks in London about the proposal to integrate Malta with the U.K.

Sir Anthony Eden, said Mr Mintoff, had told him that he could not have devised a better plan. Also the British Labour Party was 100 per cent behind Malta’s proposal. British officials had raised objections to the proposal, and Mr Mintoff gave his replies:

1. Objection: With a local Parliament and representation at Westminster, Malta would be better off than Wales or Scotland. Reply: As a “new boy” Malta ought to have more favourable treatment.

2. Objection: Northern Ireland is a very special case, not a valid precedent.

Reply: So is Malta a very special case; even more so.

3. Objection: Malta would create a precedent by integration in the U.K.

Reply: Precedents were made to be created; you get no progress if you don’t ever do something unprecedented.

4. Objection: What about conscription if Malta is joined to the U.K.?

Reply: Well, what about it? Northern Ireland is joined to the U.K. and there’s no conscription in Northern Ireland.

Education in the USSR

Lady Simon of Wythenshawe, Labour Member of Manchester Education Committee and wife of a Labour peer, recently visited Russia to see Russian schools and colleges. Returning to England, she has said that the Soviet Government “really believes, and is prepared to pay for the belief, that the true wealth of a nation lies in its children”. This is in striking contrast to Mauritius; and to the perennial cheeseparing of Tory Governments in England on the people’s schools and the education of the people’s children.

Mauritius Times, Friday 5th August 1955

 

* Published in print edition on 31 December 2015

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