(John Rawson wrote :-) A slightly different
perspective comes from tke fact that the Social Credit movement at this time
was non-political and tried to influence political parties etc. It
succeeded to some extent with the Labour Party, until the socialist wing
took over and displaced it.
It was because of betrayal in this field that the
movement turned political and founded its own party, in 1953.
Thanks for that. There’s a somewhat parallel history of
Social Credit in British Columbia, John.
Only they weren’t successful in influencing either of the ‘old-line’
Parties, nor the BC equivalent of your “Labour” Party. Though
1930’s Liberal Premier Duff Pattulo
did feign interest at one point. He invited Douglas to address the BC Legislature on his
return trip from your country. And Douglas did just that. Telling the assembled
Legislators that it wasn’t necessary to have a ‘Social Credit’
Party to have ‘social credit’.
Here, the principal
opposition to the two well-established Parties was the CCF (socialist) Party. Which at that time ,
(and right up into the 1970’s), was closer to the ‘communist’
camp, and wanted to ‘nationalize’ industry. Very militant crowd, small in numbers (then), but very well
There were various ‘Social Credit’
efforts to go the political party path here, with different factions each believing
theirs was the ‘true faith’.
Even the group completely opposed to ‘parties’, which was
closest to Douglas in ideology, got into
the act at one point, and ran candidates as the “Union of Electors”. I believe there were three separate ‘Social
Credit’ groups vying for office in that election. None of whom made any more impact on the
voter than your group seems to have made on the Kiwi electorate last time
around. These factions united here in
1949 as the B. C. Social Credit League.
And proudly boasted they’d doubled their overall share of the vote
in the Provincial election that year as a result. They went from 1% to 2%! They were really on a roll!
When the BC
Social Credit League did gain office in 1952, courtesy of a very unique line-up
of fortuitous flukes that could probably never happen again in a million years,
it was far from clear whether they had been given a mandate to try ‘social
credit’. They ‘tied’
the CCF in seats, and the Lieutenant-Governor had to decide which group would
be government. In addition, many of the Socreds running for office, the ones who were the best versed in ‘Douglas’ Social Credit, failed to win election in their ridings. While many of these people were the most
prominent ‘voice’ in the Social Credit Movement here for years, and
did act as somewhat of a ‘force’ that had to be listened to by
those forming the ‘Government’, their influence gradually waned . The expected ‘post-WWII Depression’
never materialized. The post-war boom
slowed a bit, but it kept rolling right along, and the BC Socred
government aided it immensely by a form of ‘Keynesian’
deficit-financing disguised by clever sleight-of-hand
bookkeeping. The boys at Enron were rank
amateurs compared to our WAC Bennett!
Just like what
would happen if your group were to pursue its stated policy of financing ‘infrastructure’
the way you hope to, “inflation” eventually caught up to the BC
Social Credit government, and did it in.
They were a good government, probably the best government in terms of
administrative ability we’ve ever had, but the full promise ‘social
credit’ offered, (and could have offered when ‘inflation’
started to ‘run away’), was never realized.