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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

Singapore's Social Fascism

Singapore's Social Fascism

In itself there is nothing ridiculous in the suggestion that Kirk might follow Lee Kuan Yew in deeming political opponents as superfluous as long hair. What caused Kirk to blush and hide behind his hand was not so much the goal Bennet espoused, but the fact that he should be so unsubtle as to declare it openly.

The point is, of course, that Lee Kuan Yew achieved a one party government and 'industrial harmony' in Singapore not through "democratic socialism' but by fascist methods, locking up political opponents and labour leaders and outlawing strikes.

Kirk and the Parliamentary Labour Party dominated the Conference from beginning to end. If there was even less vitality in the debates than usual it was because delegates were made well aware that Labour's election mandate towered over any directions they might attempt to offer the Parliamentary Party. Throughout the conference numerous speakers referred to the need to 'get on and implement the Election Manifesto", spurning any attempt to fiddle with its provisions. Paradoxically, Labour's victory at the polls, far from opening up new possibilities for the party's rank and file, weighed on them as the most severe restriction on their ability to criticise.