Editorial: Justice or Jaundice

Our respected contemporary the organ of the S.D.F. has replied to a correspondent thus :— “We have neither the space nor the inclination to reply to the slanders of insignificant creatures who only maintain a temporary and parasitical vitality by venomous attacks on the S.D.F. Such attacks are usually absurd and always beneath notice. The statement in question is absolutely untrue. Lady Warwick has never been to a meeting in Battersea nor been invited to a meeting there, nor sent a telegram to any meeting there.”

Not being in the confidence of the Editor we cannot, of course, say definitely who these slanderers are who maintain a parasitic vitality upon the S.D.F., although there is good evidence for supposing that they are leading members of the I.L.P. who, we notice, are rather given to expressing themselves in terms intended to be hurtful to the feelings of leading S.D.F. men. But if this is to maintain a parasitic vitality on the S.D.F., the l.L.P. may fairly retort that the vitality of the S.D.F. (assuming its existence) has been derived parasitically from the I.L.P., seeing how readily S.D.F. leaders and the S.D.F. organ (which isn’t the S.D.F.’s) fall to giving forcible tongue to their detestation of the I.L.P. But however this may be, and whoever may be the slanderers in question, we suggest in all friendliness that the Justice writer should endeavour to prevent his anger (even the artificially stimulated variety) betraying him into venomous attacks—particularly upon insignificant creatures. Vulgar abuse is no argument, and the slandered one does not strengthen his position by reducing himself to the level of the slanderer. As it is, the language of the paragraph, common as we are afraid we must say it is in our contemporary, impels the idea that there is some peculiar quality in the literary atmosphere of Clerkenwell Green which prevents a man expressing himself—upon certain subjects at any rate in any other than cultured Billingsgate. We confess we know of no other spot in the British Isles so apparently provocative of adjectival splenetics excepting always, of course, Edinburgh !

Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, we have considerable sympathy with Justice in its protest against misrepresentation and abuse the more because we are ourselves heavy sufferers from the same cause. Throughout the whole course of our short history we have been made the subject of as much villification, misrepresentation, and all the other “ations” of contemptuous and vituperative reference, as any party ever was, or, probably ever will be, with results which must have been detrimental to our progress as a Party seeing that, we are in the nature of things, unable to overtake in order to effectively combat, as we can, every product of the tongue and pen of malice, envy, and uncharitableness. Nevertheless, we can say as Justice with honesty cannot, that we have within the limits of our opportunities, dealt with our slanderers and shown them to be such unmistakably. Justice, on the other hand, has preferred we have observed, to complain of slander without attempting to show wherein the slander consisted. This is, of course, by far the safer method when the alleged slander embodies the inconvenient truth ; but unless Justice can succeed in fooling all its readers all the time, it is a method that will, sooner or later bring the grey hairs of Justice. in sorrow to the grave. However,

“While the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return.

And there is still the chance that Justice will repent.

For the present, as it has been represented to us that the statement respecting Lady Warwick may be regarded as in the nature of a reply to the note on the same matter which appeared in the June number of this journal, we will content ourselves with pointing out,—

(1.) that we never said Lady Warwick was invited to attend a meeting at Battersea:
(2.) that we never said Lady Warwick attended a meeting there : but we did say that
(3.) Lady Warwick sent a telegram to John Burns’ meeting there regretting her inability to be present and we gave our evidence for the statement—evidence that Justice will have to meet if it wants to deal with the point at all.

So that (assuming that the reference was, as suggested, to our statement) Justice has missed three chances of stating the truth upon this particular matter and only escaped missing a fourth by the fact that a fourth was never presented to it !

Still we make no doubt that presently we shall have it laid to our charge that we did deliberately and of malice aforethought malign Our Lady of Warwick and other comrades “who have borne the heat and burden of the day”(!) by bearing false witness against them in this connection.

(Editorial, Socialist Standard, November 1906)

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