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By V.G. Kiernan

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20 4 This was more than Lenin could bring himself to admit. Nor was he willing to think of the 'crumbs of imperialism' being partaken of (and magnified in their imagination, very likely) by all workers at least in special industries, such as armaments, steel mills supplying rails, cotton-mills exporting to India. Instead he preferred to spread them over the top layer of the working class at large. What precisely constituted this top layer is not made entirely clear. At one moment he seems to cast the net very wide, by including the bulk of membership of cooperative societies and trade unions and chapels, all he remarks citizens with votes 20S-but all Englishmen had votes.

Down to I 940 the imperial idea was drooping: no new 'crusader' came forward to revive it (p. 203). (Poor Lord Beaverbrook! ) Then it was splendidly revived by national crisis. Was it? After 1945 the Middle East was the only big stage left for a resuscitated Pax Britannica. Thornton thinks it had to be protected against Russian meddling (pp. R. left it ~lone for an astonishingly long time, and only began 'meddling' m self-defence when hostile capitalist manoeuvring there on the Russian doorstep, had gone on for years.

IO I). The 'proconsular idea' (p. 135) may indeed have gone out of fashion with the public, but the taste for high colonial dividends was very far from having evaporated. Thornton writes cxccllcn~ly of the betrayal of the Africans in 1906 when South Afnca was handed over to Boer management (pp. ). he docs so only in terms of political justice, and the antithesis of good government against self-government; not in terms of the partnership that was being struck up, and that has subsisted ever since, between London capitalists and white settlers acting as their overscerild and policemen.

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