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May Otway

The Tragedy of Middle Age

 The Manchester Guardian of June 8th and 9th, 1937, publishes two articles dealing with the unemployed women in the cotton towns. Socialists are continually being told that Socialism will destroy the sanctity of the home and family life, and the Guardian gives some interesting examples of what capitalism has done. The article commences:

Women's Freedom

 How many of the slaves who sing with swelling breast that "Britons never never” ever give thought to what they mean by freedom. It is a word that is given a different interpretation as many times as it is used. Thus the capitalist free trader desires freedom to sell his goods in every market of the world regardless of the fettered millions who have produced them. Freedom to him means freedom to trade and make profit. The so-called free worker under capitalism finds that his freedom leaves him free to starve when he cannot find a boss. The “down and out” under a recent Act of Parliament is now free to sleep under the stars without incurring the wrath of the powers that be and without the doubtful hospitality of a police cell that used to be free to him. The suffragettes fought for the freedom of the vote so that they could have their say in the laws governing their property.

The Family Allowances Fraud

Since the I.L.P. have adopted family allowances as one of the items in their programme of reforms, it would not be out of place to enquire into it and see whether this particular reform has any lasting benefits to confer upon the working class. Can the scheme be brought into being, and if so with what effects?

For those unacquainted with the scheme, I will state the broad outlines, and must refer them to Eleanor Rathbone's book, "The Disinherited Family," for fuller details.

The scheme was talked of before the War, but nothing definite came of it until the years 1916-18. A Committee then sat, including Mr. H. N. Brailsford, a prominent member of the I.L.P., and enquired into the cost and the method of application. They were inspired by the Government war-time separation allowance scheme, noting the good effects resulting from the working-class mother having a regular, if small, allowance paid to her at stated times.

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