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COR the second time in two months, Professor Harold J. Laski, Jewish chairman of the British. Labour Party, has become the central figure in a major political stir.

A short time ago he was unknown

to the man-in-the-street in Britain. Even at Transport House, the H.Q. of the Labour Party, there were no details of him save the cold record contained in half a column of Who's Who.

Then in June of this year Professor Laski attracted much attention by his references to the role that Mr. Attlee, then Leader of the Opposition, should play at the Potsdam conference of the Big Three. Mr. Churchill opened a bitter controversy by alleging that the Parliamentary leaders of the Labour Party were subservient to the executive committee, of which Professor Laski was chairman. Mr. Churchill was accused of making f "red herring" of Laski and the Manchester Guardian commented that the Prime Minister's "big bad wolf" was really a "very tame professor." Now Professor Laski has again attracted attention with his reference in a radio broadcast to th~ proposed nationalisation of the Bank of England. Supported Winston Churchill

A curious fact to be found in Laski's biography is that his first political speech, made at the age of 13, was in support of Winston Churchill, then a Liberal candidate. The future Labour leader showed sound judgment, however, for he predicted that the Liberal candidate would one day be Prime Minister.

Of medium height and slim build, spectacled, and with dark brown hair plastered down from a centre parting, Laski comes from a family of Jewish-Hungarian origin which settled in Manchester several generations ago. He looks less like a Labour leader than an intellectual teacher—which he really is.

Educated at Manchester Grammar School and New College, Oxford, he went to Canada to teach at McGill University, thence to Harvard, Yale and Amherst in the United States. He returned across the Atlantic to Trinity College, Dublin, and Cambridge University. In 1926 he was appointed professor of Political Science at London University. In 1929, when back in the United States as visiting professor of political science and law at Yale, he was summoned., home by Ramsay Mac Donald, the Labour Premier, to take part in an investigation of the administrative machinery of British government. He has Written numerous books on political subjects, and many leader-page articles in the Daily Herald, Manchester Guardian and American publications. Wit But Little Humour It has been said of Laski that he has little humour but a great deal of wit; his witticisms being polished epigrams and never spontaneous. In conversation he is careful never to be snobbish but occasionally creates an air of patronage. In the same way, speaking on the platform, lie gives the impression of a don explaining to a not over-bright body of undergraduates the elements of political science. Of Professor Laski the American magazine Time has said:—-"His stormy visits to the United States, his bitter criticisms of Republican administrations, his standing as art authority on America in Britain and oil Britain in America, the force with which he states definitely views that other state planners express obliquely, give him and his works a consequence that his opponents cannot ignore."

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Bibliographic details

PROFESSOR LASKI, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

Word Count

PROFESSOR LASKI Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945

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