Editorial: Pills for Earthquakes

The President of the Local Governmen Board has mde his long promised and (by some) eagerly anticipated statement upon unemployment and what the great democratic, progressive, etc., etc., etc. Liberal Government proposed as a solution for that vexatious problem. The introductory speech was, we understand, masterly. Probably. But it would require a speech a thousand times more masterly than the President is capable of, to obscure to even a poorly equipped mind, the real nature of the proposal made. The Liberal Party desire to burke discussion of the problem of unemployment. The Liberal Party will not because they cannot (although they must not, of course, admit that) take any more adequate steps in the matter than their predecessors in office. But the Liberal Party desire political kudos, because the Liberal Party require the support of the working class. Therefore, the Liberal Party must make a show ol doing something so that the people may be deceived. That is where the President of the Local Government Board comes in. He has been hired to help make the show and deceive the people. That is his speciality ; his forte. Nobody with any political knowledge worth talking about questions that to-day. So the President makes a masterly speech. The Conservative Government were no use. They could not deal with the unemployed problem. They passed a stupid bill on the subject, which had been practically useless. Now, the Liberal Government of which I, the President, am a not unimportant member (loud “Labour” cheers) are up a different street. They know how to deal with the unemployed problem. But they do not propose dealing with it yet. They have not sufficient data to work upon. It would be highly dangerous if by any ill-advised step, the outcome of undoubted and overpowering sympathy with the genuine unemployed, the sturdy independence of the working man were sapped or Labour was rendered less instead of, as it should be, more fluid. Of course the Government recognised how hard was the struggle against starvation, and it was therefore proposed to make a great grant of money from the national exchequer, in order that the useless act of the Conservative Government might have a better chance of showing how really useless it is, while the Liberal Government are collecting more information upon which presently they will be able to proceed with certainty. The grant will be distributed under my own presidential direction, and I will guarantee that nothing will be wasted. This, aided by working-class thrift and temperance—especially temperance (Hear hear, from Mr. Crooks) should enable the unemployed to tide over next winter (sotto voce—or die in the attempt). The amount of the great grant would be £200,000 (Ministerial shrieks of delight) although I trust it will not be necessary to spend all that sum—and so on.

£200,000 to tide the unemployed over the winter ! Was ever such a palpable fraud perpetuated by any government ? Could any government have succeeded in foisting it upon a starving people without the assistance of a decoy like the President of the Local Government Board ? Indeed, the President is earning his salary well. He is giving good value for money. £200,000 to tide the unemployed over the winter ! All of them ! And Mr. Lansbury says a larger sum could easily be consumed in Poplar ! And the “Labour” group in Parliament puts up Mr. J. Ramsay MacDonald to welcome the proposals, while Mr. Crooks is absolutely delighted, and says so. A fraud ! a palpable, bare-faced fraud ! Just the sort of fraud we expected. The Liberal Party can do nothing, but they must make a demonstration of doing something to save their face. And this is the something—this pill for an earthquake—expressly and obviously designed to put the whole matter off for a year. A fraud connived at by a “Labour” minister and condoned by a “Labour” Party. The working class have been gulled often in the past. It seems well-nigh incredible that they can be gulled this time.

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