Standing for Justice is an account of a man who did just that – to understand the man would be to understand the potency of his message, a message that is all too relevant to the problems of the present age.
Andrew MacLaren grew up in late Victorian Glasgow in the vicinity of the poverty-stricken Gorbals. His was not a privileged beginning - far from it, but the grinding poverty that he witnessed spurred him on to seek the cause, the reason why men lived in want when, clearly, there was plenty. Two men dominated radical thinking in his youth: one was Karl Marx, the other Henry George. Few today remember the latter, but he was a major influence on the reforming Liberal government swept to power in 1906 and on the emerging Labour Party.
MacLaren entered parliament in 1922 as a Labour member, supporting the Georgist approach, which was successfully introduced in Philip Snowden's 1931 budget. The collapse of the Labour government soon afterwards led to its suspension and repeal.
Thereafter Labour became more socialist in outlook, relying on welfare and income redistribution to alleviate poverty, but MacLaren would not compromise: as poverty had a discernible cause, it could be eradicated without diminishing the liberty and sturdy independence of the individual through means testing and taxation. It was to keeping alive this knowledge that he devoted the rest of his life.