A Remembrance of Ross Douglas

Fred Harrison

[Reprinted from Land & Liberty , September-October, 1980]

LORD DOUGLAS of Barloch, KCMG, died on March 31, at the age of 90.

Boss Douglas (as he was then known) was a solicitor and accountant who entered the House of Commons in 1940, representing Battersea North for Labour. At the time, he was a member of the United Committee for the Taxation of Land Values: he resigned when he took his seat in Parliament.

In 1946 he was appointed Governor of Malta, a position he held until 1949. He later became a member of the House of Lords and in 1962 was appointed Deputy Speaker.

Before the second World War, Douglas wrote regularly for Land & Liberty, of which he was assistant editor. He was author of many pamphlets on the land question and other aspects of the Henry George philosophy. His book Land Value Rating was published in two editions. His paper, "Karl Marx's Theory of Surplus Value and Land Rent", has been reprinted many times.

In the field of site-value rating he was the acknowledged expert. and as chairman of the finance committee of the former London County Council he did much to popularize this reform, pressing with vigour for its adoption.

Among his other interests to which he devoted his energies in writing and speaking were soil fertility and nutrition; he was also a strong opponent of the fluoridation of water supplies.

Lord Douglas was a reticent man, always courteous and always precise. While not a colourful speaker, he expressed himself with notable clarity with his excellent diction, impeccable logic and mastery of the English language.