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New Times Survey


July 2006


THE MAN FROM RUNNYMEDE

In Memoriam - Eric Dudley Butler 1916-2006

There were deep ruts in that long, layabout
Drive of yours, Eric, that led up in a graceful
Sweep of joy to the relaxed homestead on the crest;
And deep ruts in that long life of yours as well!

The Christmas parties on the lawn displayed a glimpse
Of festive British folk in Empire days, unknowing
Then of how the wheel would turn with a paid jerk
And tip our people out into the chill waves of today!

Your tale was destined for the autumn phase of what
Four centuries can testify were most imperial days;
But now a winter blown from the world's stock exchanges
Calls on our indomitable Ice Age racial memory!

You recalled often with wit and a dry, acerbic tone
The ancient grandeur of ancestral British law
And named your farm in its idyllic, rural setting
After the great charter Langton well bestowed.

How your enemies railed and seethed at your temerity!
Even a skunk's odour would take second place
To the hellish rankness of their shrill, venomous
Excretions, and Satan bow to far superior deceivers!

Ah well, they were just another kind of Lilliputians,
Tying down a great traveller, as they fancied,
With their sticky cobwebs of defamations and muck.
What a howl of rage when they find you've eluded them!

Your mind adventured across a Europe scarred and torn
By terrible blasts of revolutions, wars and hate,
To find and advertise the heroes, great and small,
Who stood with dignity and cultured gallantry.

Will they greet you now in halls beyond our sight?
Ramsay and Domvile, Douglas with lively eye,
The fair Nesta Webster back from Burma roads
And Corneliu Codreanu with his creased neck!

Your presence passes on; your words remain
And the rich hoard of understanding that you built.
We confront great glaciers of opposition
And much that once stood has fallen beyond repair.

You began as a boy on a bicycle riding,
Sanguine and sure, to save your threatened folk.
The threat grew larger every decade,
but you kept Firm grip on the handlebars of your special task.

Now it is time to rest, out of the sun, at last.
Know well that the sturdy British blood still flows.
Others will come, clearer because you taught
Tactics and strategies to keep our cherished ways.

Under a waxing moon you quietly moved on.
The race well run, you stepped out of our sight
Into some otherwhere, a morning at 'Runnymede'
Again with the dew a-dazzle in the joy of air.

Nigel Jackson, 15th June 2006

 

ERIC DUDLEY BUTLER

AVE ATQUE VALE

Jeremy Lee

Mr. Jeremy Lee travelled from Queensland to pay his respects to his old friend and colleague Eric Dudley Butler, who passed away on the 7th June 2006. Jeremy gave the following eulogy on behalf of all those present who had gathered in the Main Hall, Panton Hill, Victoria to pay their respects to the great man. Archbishop John Hepworth of the Continuing Anglo-Catholic Church of Australia officiated at the ceremony.

"Those assembled here today in honour of Eric Butler are part of an extended family-gathering reaching into every State of Australia, as well as New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the British Isles.

Every so often - probably once a century on average ~ a man or woman comes along whose wisdom, integrity and talents are so pronounced as to affect the times in which they live. Such a one is the man we honour today. Each of us has been privileged to have met Eric, regularly or only briefly. Our lives have been changed and affected by his efforts.

Born in Benalla
Eric Butler was born to an already well-established Australian family in the middle of World War I, in 1916, so he was 90 at the time of his death. The Benalla district was his home, and his father was a successful teacher and headmaster. From early childhood Eric was imbued with a love of history, particularly the rich heritage of the English-speaking peoples. is ancestry was both Welsh and Irish. He was also prominent on the sports field, and was one of the most proficient country cricketers in Victoria, known and feared as an opening batsman.

Life Change
In 1935, at the height of the Great Depression, came the experience which was to change and focus his life. In one afternoon he read C.H. Douglas's book, Economic Democracy, which was the first foundation stone of the Social Credit movement He left his farm on foot the next morning and reported to the small city office of a group, headed by the Catholic writer and editor T.J. Moore, and said, "I am reporting for duty, and prepared to give the rest of my life". And so he did.
Then began a period of constant traveling and speaking throughout Victoria, at the same time writing for The New Times, at that time edited by T.J. Moore.
The only transport was either bicycle or Shank's pony. A friend and supporter, the late Norm Rolls, traveled ahead and put up signs in country towns and cities that Eric Butler, the "Boy Wonder" would shortly be appearing. The speaking platform was a soap-box on a street corner. The only finance was a cap on the ground for donations.

Sharpened Wits
Eric once said, "We went through one period of three days without a donation and hence without a thing to eat. It sharpened our passion and speaking ability to a remarkable degree! On the fourth day we received enough so that Norm and I could have a four-square meal. We ate as prodigiously as only young, famished men can! Bicycling to our next engagement was a painful experience!"
By 1939 the Social Credit movement had grown enormously, mainly in Victoria and the Riverina area of New South Wales. At one time there were over 200 weekly Social Credit study groups in the City of Sydney. They suffered from a lack of experienced teachers and made many mistakes, including the main one of starting a Social Credit political party, as also occurred in Queensland. This despite the warnings of C.H. Douglas, who had visited Australia in 1934.

Publications
There were two major papers devoted to Social Credit at this time - one, The New Era, edited by a newspaper genius, Barclay Smith, a one-time editor of The Queensland Country Life. Its articles and cartoons were brilliant - incisive, witty and pointed. At its height, The New Era had over 35,000 paid subscribers, and remember, this was at the height of the Depression. But The New Era lent itself, albeit indirectly, to the idea that Social Credit could only be attained through control of government.
The other paper, published in Victoria, was The New Times, edited by the Catholic writer Tom Moore, and later by Eric himself for over half a century. It still appears monthly under the title The New Times Survey, having merged with the League of Rights' other monthly, The Intelligence Survey.
While not as scintillating as The New Era, The New Times had a greater philosophical depth, and had grasped that Social Credit could never be imposed by the State upon the people, any more than the Christian faith itself could be imposed by hierarchical structures.

Resistance to Party Politics
Eric, the main Social Credit leader in Victoria, strenuously resisted the power approach of party politics, and was in touch with Douglas by letter, although he never met him personally. His longer-term approach was to bear fruit after World War II. To his credit, Barclay Smith subsequently conceded that Eric's approach had been the correct one shortly after the war.
It is interesting to look back at pre-war copies of both papers with the advantage of hindsight. Both were produced in the days of 'hot-lead' printing; but the clarity and quality of articles and cartoons compare favourably with the coloured computer papers of today, with their monotonous media-correctness that conceals, rather than reveals, true news.

Quiet Achiever
Through the dedication of one "quiet achiever" - Mrs Daphne Maurer of Queensland, it is now possible for this and future generations to re-read history, as she scans and puts on CD all the League and New Times journals since the Great Depression, as it happened - a mammoth task that has taken years of effort.
Looking back, a whole gamut of experiences and conditions were covered. There were regular articles on organic gardening and farming, long before the 'greenies' made their more strident appearance. Pioneers like Sir Albert Howard and Lady Eve Balfour gave the first warnings of the dangers inherent in chemical fertilizers and monoculture.
There were parables, short stories and satire of a pungency which only occurs among free people; and, of course, an extraordinary exploration of the substance of Social Credit, which took painstaking effort. It was easy enough to grasp the revelation that "banks create credit" and thus by debt forge the chains of bondage.
Monetary reformers abounded, who stopped short at the concept that all that was necessary was the nationlisation of the banks. Few noticed that Karl Marx was preaching the same form of centralized monopoly.

Brilliant Disciples
But Douglas left in his wake a small number of brilliant disciples who saw in his revelation a way forward to a peaceful world in which the human spirit was emancipated from the herd instinct of the totalitarians.
Concepts like the 'increment of association' which, mustered on the quest for Truth, made sublime the human life, produced individuals who left the mundane behind them. Even church leaders saw new visions. Bishop Moyes in Australia and the engineer Dr Hewlett Johnson in England - who baulked at the last jump and joined the Communists, becoming the "Red Dean of Canterbury"; authors and poets, great and small, grew into a throng following the threads of Social Credit.

False Inquiry
The outbreak of war shelved the active growth of Social Credit, but not before it had seriously alarmed some politicians - notably the Labor leader Dr H.V. Evatt.
Evatt first tried to woo Social Crediters, and met with a number in Sydney, expressing his interest and agreement. But he was a politician!
When he found no chink to exploit for political purposes, he shamefully tried to destroy Social Credit leaders, including Eric, by forcing an inquiry into what he called "anti-war activities".

Distinguished Service
Eric Butler had immediately enlisted, and was to serve in the Islands and later as an officer training instructor. He trained young soldiers at the famous Canungra jungle training centre, and later at an officer training centre in Victoria.
In 1942 he received notification from his father that Evatt was arranging an inquiry into a Tasmanian, Mr Deane, which would include Eric Butler as one of those required to give evidence. In his spare time on leave, Eric had continued to lecture, his theme being the need for Australia to avoid international debt to pay for the war.
His theme was highly embarrassing to the banks, although the - at that time - Commonwealth Bank had been used constructively in World War I under its chairman, Sir Denison Miller. Warned in time, and able to marshal sufficient evidence, Eric Butler was never condemned in the Deane Inquiry, but was commended by the Commissioner for his public spirit and patriotism. But this did not deter his detractors from claiming, in the post-war period, that he had been the subject of an inquiry into 'pro-Nazi activities'.

Back on the Trail
Even when on active service in war conditions, Eric was to be found, while his fellow servicemen were relaxing with a beer, sitting typing articles by hurricane lamp late into the night for The New Times, cleared by the censors and edited by his wife Elma. No sooner was he honourably discharged from wartime duties, than Eric was back on the Social Credit trail.
By 1946, with a handful of faithful friends, Eric had put down the foundations of the League of Rights, which was subsequently to appear in Britain, New Zealand and Canada. It was never to be a power movement; it was not to be a church denominational movement. It was to defend constitutional limits to government and the rule of law, defend the monarchy as head of a "commonwealth of nations" and preserve individual rights. Running through all activities was Social Credit, or the Policy of Christianity. The vision, while never ostentatiously trumpeted was, nevertheless an approaching Kingdom of Peace on earth.

Bank Nationalisation
By 1948 Eric was involved in the battle to forestall Chifley's attempt to nationalize the banks. He had written a series of brilliant articles, Steps Towards the Monopoly State, being published weekly by an old established Melbourne paper, The Argus.
As a description of the threat to Australia's freedom by centralized power from a variety of sources - revolutionary, bureaucratic and corporate - his material was prescient. Before his final articles appeared, The Argus had changed hands and Eric's message was stopped in its tracks. They are all currently available in booklet form.
But he was already well enough known for the traditional enemy, the Trading Banks, to approach Eric and ask him to train their staff to effectively fight nationalization. It must have been an invidious choice. But he knew that a "State Monopoly of Credit" - as outlined in Karl Marx's famous "ten steps" in the Communist Manifesto, was an even worse alternative to the world-wide power of private banking.
For the bank nationalization battle the gloves were temporarily laid down, to be picked up as that particular skirmish was over. A small number of branch bank managers became supporters of Eric Butler.

Relentless Campaigns
He was also involved in campaigning in the Victorian seat of Murray for the election to the Federal Parliament of an able young returned man, John McEwen, who understood the nature of the battle against finance.
McEwen was duly elected, and subsequently became the leader of the Country Party (now the Nationals) and Deputy Prime Minister. But within six months of election McEwen had forgotten all about money reform and Social Credit - both inimical to a successful parliamentary career.
Eric Butler became an internationally known speaker, making many friends and contacts in high places. Of him it could truthfully be said that he could "walk with kings, nor lose the common touch".
The then Australian-owned BHP financially donated to the League, as well as the equally well-known Cottees. Both, sadly, are now foreign-owned. The Graziers' Association of Queensland sent an annual cheque. Old Australian families such as the Manifold's in Victoria and the Barnard's in north Queensland, quietly supported Eric's work.

Britain
In 1962, accompanied by James Killen, later to become Australia's Defence Minister, Eric spoke on a packed tour of Britain, warning of the long-term dangers to the British Monarchy and the nation's constitutional sovereignty, inherent in the European Common Market, now a fully centralized European Union.
His warnings to Britons became the first foundations of a movement which, years later, became a well organized tide of resistance to Europe which predominates in England today. A former industrial advocate who was earlier Queensland Director of the League under Eric - Donald Martin - has played a major role in the British resurgence.
He was projected onto world news after the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, forced economic sanctions on the Ian Smith government in Rhodesia for its Unilateral Declaration of Independence when he presented a tanker-full of petrol to the beleaguered Smith government in Salisbury, paid for by thousands of donations from British people round the world. Rhodesian troops had fought alongside Australians in the Malayan campaign.
Smith himself and most of his small Cabinet, had served with distinction in World War II. Eric was attacked in Parliament by the Whitlam government, but became admired by a growing number of Australians.

Out of the Frying Pan ...
As the three years of almost revolutionary Whitlam politics neared their end, Eric was privately solicited by another power aspirant, Malcolm Fraser, to see what support the League might add to his ambitions. After a private meeting, however, Eric concluded that Fraser offered no constructive alternative, and said so through a special issue of The Intelligence Survey that received nation-wide coverage.
Even a number of less well-informed League supporters, thoroughly alarmed at the behaviour of the Whitlam government, were shocked at Eric's exposure of the dangers Fraser presented. But Eric was right.
Even the first Human Rights Commission, which Whitlam and his Attorney-General Lionel Murphy had failed to get through the Senate, was implemented by the new Fraser regime. One of Fraser's legacies is Robert Mugabe in the new ruins of Zimbabwe.

Constant Speaking
There was no rest between Eric's international forays. No sooner was he back in Australia than he was on the road, usually in battered old cars, with cases of books, speaking from one end of the nation to the other. There were few country halls which did not feature
Eric at one time or another, from north of Cairns to remote regions north of Geraldton in West Australia. Anyone attempting to follow in his footsteps could not but marvel at his extensive number of friends and contacts.
There was always an air of excitement when Eric Butler was scheduled to speak. In my 35 years association with Eric as a gauche and brash budding speaker, I learned much from him. I was destined to follow in his footsteps, not only speaking round Australia, but also in Britain, Canada and New Zealand. I always marveled at how wide his influence was, and how much pioneering work he had done. He was an inspiring task-master, but exacting too.

Punctuality
I still tremble when I recall him sitting in the car at Runnymede, after warning Elma he was leaving in precisely five minutes. Elma was one minute late. I was awestruck as I watched her running down the drive, trying to pull on her stockings as she ran, as Eric drove off. I knew that he was no Sensitive New Age Guy.
On another occasion, in 1969, my first League car was a battered Chrysler Royal, that looked like a battle tank in the desert! It cost $49 from a supporter in Kingaroy who was otherwise consigning it to the dump. Eric was quite complimentary as we drove towards St George, even though he could see the road flashing past through the rust holes between his feet. All that changed when the door flew open as we were going round an island, and Eric found himself hanging on with his nose about three inches from the bitumen!
When he had pulled himself back from an encounter with death, he told me that economy was one thing, but normal precaution quite another! The time had come to upgrade our vehicles. And so we did, to an ancient Toyota Crown station wagon, which rattled and wheezed - but whose doors never flew open!

Achilles Heel
Eric was fearless - except for one occasion when, after an annual New Times Seminar in Melbourne a car load of us, including Eric, arrived home to find that Elma had been left standing on the pavement in Little Collins Street. Luckily, another late supporter had driven her the hour's drive home. It's not too much to say that Eric was too scared to open the door when they arrived! Her anger was terrible to behold!
I wondered whether I should deal with the multitude of personal attacks on Eric which dragged on year after year. A lesser man could never have withstood the barrage.
Even as news of his death broke, the nasty, mean-spirited, lying attack was repeated. The journalists did not check the accuracy of their material. They simply regurgitated the half digested carrion of the previous attacks. Eric was a fascist! They'd never read his material - it was so much easier to use the mud of the past. He had been investigated for "pro-Nazi activities" during the war. Nobody bothered to check the real truth.

Parliamentary Privilege
He was regularly attacked from the safety of parliamentary privilege. A hateful booklet was written by a former communist, and large sums of money spent on its anonymous circulation. One journalist who couldn't lick Eric's boots, wrote a sensational article in a national paper titled "TOXIC SLUDGE". It was all designed to forestall if possible Eric's influence, and frighten those who might otherwise take a stand.
One member of Parliament, who accepted a League invitation to speak on the Constitution, was so unnerved by the subsequent criticism that he said in parliament he "didn't know where he was at the time". His recantation enabled him to become a Cabinet Minister in the Howard government. But his memory, judging by recent events in the Wheat Board scandal, has deteriorated further.
The attack was so sustained, so shrill and so vicious that it almost became a back-handed compliment. Eric, to his eternal credit, ploughed on. His cowardly detractors ran out of ideas of what to do next. And, indeed, each successive attack brought the League new supporters and a few financial donations.

Legacy
In the legacy he has left us, perhaps Eric's greatest contribution has been the series of small booklets, each a gem in its own right, on aspects of Christian freedom; with titles like The Root of All Evil, The Essential Christian Heritage, Is the Word Enough? Releasing Reality and many more, each containing almost lost gems of truth that will be cherished more and more in the years ahead.
Following in Eric's footsteps in administering the League of Rights is a task from which most mere mortals might quail. But he would approve the work that has continued what he started.
There will, inevitably, be an explosion of re-interest in Social Credit. A firm base has been laid to meet the coming demand. Eric's work has not been lost.
How, then, can we view his passing? With tears, regrets and reminiscences, certainly. With gratitude that we knew him - yes indeed. But we should also see ourselves as one half of "the friends of Eric Butler" attending this moment.
Eric often expressed his admiration of the British natural economist and philosopher William Cobbett. Cobbett was a short man. But when faced with critics, friends or enemies, he was wont to (quote) 'draw myself to my full height, so that they might see what manner of man I am!'
I see Eric setting his shoulders and stepping forth from this sphere to the next, 'drawing himself to his full height, so that they might see what manner of man he is'.
Besides the angels, there will be a host of old friends who have gone before. I can see his wife Elma. I can see dear old Frank Bawden and equally dear Jim Marsh.
I can see Norm Rolls and his bicycle; 'Johnno' Johnson and Alec McPherson will be there, as will the pickwickian character Bill Clarke from Wangaratta; that genius Ivor Benson, and that saintly Albertan beekeeper Eric Boswell; the old reprobate Patrick Walsh and, of course, Ron Gostick, who stood shoulder to shoulder with Eric more than once.
And they in turn will sigh when the greatest Hand of all touches Eric's shoulder, and His voice says, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!'"


A Time of Turning

Reflections on the Passing of Eric Butler

by Nigel Jackson

Monday 19th June in Melbourne was an exquisitely still and sunny winter's day, a very jewel of days. And that was the day that the Lord chose for the funeral of one of Australia's unacknowledged heroes, Eric Dudley Butler, founder of the Australian League of Rights.

His enemies had done what they could to blot out his name and his deeds from the record, but they could not prevent the Almighty from delivering that royal day. Around one hundred and fifty mourners gathered in the Panton Hill Hall, about 40k north-east of the centre of Melbourne; and many of them journeyed out to the nearby cemetery to see his body laid to rest beside that of his devoted wife Elma.

On Thursday 8th June I had been telephoned by Terry Brady on behalf of League national director Don Auchterlonie to ask if I would write an obituary and send it to the newspapers. 'They might publish something - you never know!' Terry remarked.
The next day was the last day of second term at our school, but I managed to send off an appropriately structured obituary to The Australian, faxed at the suggestion of its Melbourne office to the letters editor, one Elliott Taylor.

I also composed an opinion article on Butler and emailed it to Ray Cassin, opinion editor of The Age. Thirdly, I wrote a brief letter to the editor for The Australian, commenting on a seemingly malicious as well as unjust news report of Butler's death by D. McNicoll, published that morning.
That letter did not appear in The Australian's letter columns; nor did any other letter commenting on McNicoll's report. My obituary was not published and receipt of it was not acknowledged.

A few days later an 'obituary' written by professional obituary writer Phillip Jones was published by The Australian. It contained errors, distortions and important omissions.
It was unmistakably hostile to Butler and in some respects was more an opinion article than an obituary. The two Melbourne newspapers, The Age and the Herald Sun, totally ignored Butler's death, even though he had been a political figure of national significance for over fifty years and commented on in innumerable books and articles.

Ray Cassin did not even acknowledge receipt of my opinion article which, like the obituary I had written and which later appeared in the League's journal Heritage, was written coolly and objectively and acknowledged the hostile views of Butler held by his political opponents. Cassin had acknowledged, though not accepted for publication, two opinion articles on other topics I had submitted to him in the preceding couple of months.

Meanness of spirit a revealing phenomenon
This media treatment of Eric Butler has to be compared to that afforded a number of Australian communists who died in the last decade or so. They were allowed genuine obituaries in the newspapers, usually written by their friends or associates, and no attempt was made to stigmatise them with hostility.
Such a meanness of spirit as has been shown by these three newspapers to Butler, his family and his friends, is a revealing phenomenon. It is the sure and certain indicator of a very serious corruption of public affairs in Australia - and also of the intense painfulness of the sting of truth in the hearts of those who have given themselves over to that corruption.


Australians did protest

Judging by the many, many messages we have received protesting the disgraceful reports and hostile obituary published in The Australian newspaper at the passing of Eric Butler, we believe Australians by the thousands must have expressed their outrage to the editor of The Australian newspaper. There can be no doubt the newspaper must have received many, many thousands of letters in protest….ed.

© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159