1900s >> 1907 >> no-37-september-1907

A Look Round

The spread of civilisation, as it is called, in India, is bringing with it other things besides political agitation, the boycott, and the factory system. In the train of the latter is coming also the strong drink habit.
Daily Chronicle, Aug. 2nd.

* * * *

Reformers, particularly “temperance” ones, should note the sequence—civilisation—factory system—strong drink habit.

* * * *

In this connection it is well to recall the words of the Bishop of London, uttered at the Mansion House in November, 1905. “Wherever British Commerce” he said “came into contact with native races it inflicted upon them the most terrible injury it was possible for human agency to inflict.”

* * * *

The effect of the factory system upon the people of Lancashire and Yorkshire was ably described by Mr. Redgrave, Inspector of Factories, in 1875. He traced the development of textile manufactures and showed how the factory hands degenerated “from the sturdy labourer and operative in the valleys and on the hill-aides of Lancashire and Yorkshire to the wasted and down-trodden operative of the purely manufacturing town . . . until the factory population appeared to have become a distinct race, that was known at a glance, so defined were the effects of overwork and unhealthy dwellings upon the physical appearance and condition of the people.”

* * * *

And in the same year Dr. Leach, of Heywood, certifying surgeon to the district, dealt with the evil effects on the operatives of “transitions from the mills and the irregular temperature to their own dwellings; diet and drinks adapted to a heated employment, and stimulants to soothe an excited nervous tension.” And he regretted that drink stimulants and mental excitement were resorted to, but what else could be expected.

* * * *

Remember! the majority of the Factory Owners were Liberals and the Liberal Party opposed all the factory acts designed to improve the lot of the operative.

* * * *

The people of Lancashire and Yorkshire are still suffering from the effects of the factory system. Anemic and excitable, they still fly to stimulants, and according to Dr. Davy, an indulging in that most harmful practice—excessive tea drinking.

* * * *

Speaking at a breakfast given at Exeter on August 1st by the National Temperance League, Dr. Davy, president of the British Medical Association, said that teetotal advocates talked most unscientific twaddle. Evidence before a Royal Commission showed that in large towns like Manchester tea soaked on the hob was producing physical deterioration of the worst form. In his opinion, a meal of cheese, bread and light beer was infinitely more scientific than a meal of brand, tea, and jam.

* * * *

Mr. Arnold Lupton, MP., a vice-president of the Land Nationalisation Society, wrote to the Daily Express on July 30th protesting against being dubbed a Socialist. “I advocate,” be said, “nationalisation of the land as the beat way of resisting Socialism, and there are many others who agree with me. We think nationalisation, carried out in a reasonable manner, is the best means of dealing with those admitted defects in our social system which are used by Socialists as their chief arguments in favour of Socialism.”

* * * *

This is lovely ! Have we not time after time pointed out that the opponents of Socialism will back any reform that will head back the Socialist movement. And yet professing Socialists continue to fall into the trap so adroitly set for them.

* * * *

“The people are hungering far live truths; they will not be content with the bloodless futility of the Bells, Maddisons, and Fenwicks.”
F. H. Rose in Clarion, July 26tb, 1907.

* * * *

It is stated that arrangements are almost completed for joint action between the Labour members and the Liberal Labour members in the House of Commons. Several joint meetings have been held and all questions of principle settled. There remain one or two matters of detail to be further discussed!

* * * *

So the people who are “hungering for live truths” are to be given the “bloodless futility of the Bells, Maddisons and Fenwicks ” diluted with the ditto of the MacDonalds, Thornes and Shackletons !

* * * *

Some of us were inclined to think that when , Mr. Curran became M.P. for Jarrow be would, at any rate, make a fight of some sort in the “House.” But it’s best not to expect anything. Hardly was he elected when he appeared at Edmonton apologising for the barren results of the Labour Party’s activities

* * * *

At Canning Town on August 9th he told how on the previous day he received four wires asking him to do something in reference to the strike at Belfast. He went to the Speaker and told him he would move the adjournment of the House. The Speaker said it would be against the rules to do so. He did not say anything then but went outside the House and said “Damn the rules. ”

* * * *

This bravery reminds me of that other Irishman who told his friend that he had had an awful row with the boss but had got the best of it. “I called him all the damned thieves, and blackguards, and liars, and humbugs I could think of.” “And what did he say ? ” said his friend. “ Oh,” replied the first, “ he didn’t hear me.”

* * * *

“For sensibility, adaptability, and respectability,” said the president of the last Conference, “the Labour Party in the House of Commons stands first” Evidently Mr. Curran doesn’t wish to give any capitalist politicians the opportunity of saying that he is lee* respectable than the others.

* * * *

The capitalist Press has recently been devoting much space to Socialism, which, of course, it has interpreted to suit its own purposes. Amongst the most amusing contributions were those in the Referee for August 4th, wherein several correspondents drew gloomy pictures of what would happen should the “shy bird” Capital take fright and withdraw to foreign climes.

* * * *

One writer, “Frank Alwin” set out to state “The Case for Capital” and proved himself a most amusing fellow. He said : “Consider of what our enormous capital consists. In their relative order of size, the items are approximately as follows: Houses, land, foreign loans and investments, furniture and clothing, railways and canals, roads and public buildings, merchandise, hay, corn, & c., factories, shipping, gas and water works, live stock, navy (docks and fortifications), coin and bullion.” And he added, “ It may surprise some people to know that one quarter of our capital consists of houses, and gold and silver coin constitutes only one-hundredth part of it.”

* * * *

It is generally admitted that the money in the United Kingdom amounts to about £100,000,000 only. It is, therefore, quite easy to understand what a financial crisis would result if the Poet Office and Trustee Savings Bank Depositors, to say nothing of Shareholders in Co-operative Societies and the like, all wished to withdraw their deposits at one time! On December 31st, 1906, the amount due to depositors in the Poet Office Savings Bank alone was £155,996,446.

* * * *

A perusal of Mr. Alwin’s list will show to what extent this “capital” could be removed. Perhaps the working class would enjoy more sleep at nights if the portion owned by them (the “live stock”) were taken, say, to the North Pole!

* * * *

It is not often that the method by which Capitalism creates the unemployed is so openly admitted as was the case in the prospectus recently issued by Champion & Slee, Ltd., Vinegar Brewers. Two of the directors, H. H. Slee and John Wright, signed a Report under data May 15th, in which they said: “In view of the amalgamation of the businesses of Messrs. Champion & Co. and Messrs. Slee, Slee, & Co. Ltd., at one factory and under one management, and of the combined, demand being met by one set of workmen and one staff, we are of opinion that the expenses of manufacture and supply to the trade will, on a conservative estimate, be reduced to the following extent, namely: Wages and Salaries, £4,250; Stables, £750; Advertising, £597; Insurance, £58; Trade Expenses, £438; and Purchases, £1,000; making a total of £7,093 per annum; and that, on the same volume of trade, the profits should be increased by this sum.

* * * *

So that out of a total estimated saving of £7,093, labour saved would amount to £4,250. And this would not be all, because the other items represent in their turn a saving of labour. Clerical and manual workers will be discharged. In the capitalist order of things these will be the older and less competent. And if some of the discharged, after vainly trying to get employment, drift lower and lower and finally take to drink, the “temperance” wiseacres will point to them as awful examples of the havoc caused by drink.

* * * *

There is no hope for the working-class, employed or unemployed, while Capitalism lasts. Socialism alone will end their misery and free them for ever from the uncertainties of existence incidental to Capitalism.

* * * *

During the British Pharmaceutical Conference last month the members paid a visit to the Warrington Works of Joseph Crosfield & Sons, Ltd. The Daily News young man who accompanied the visitors was enthusiastic when reporting. “Cheerfulness is encouraged” he wrote, “and the hundreds of rosy-cheeked maidens, clad in blue smocks and red sun bonnets, sing gaily at their work.” How lovely! What kind, considerate employers! Eh! What? “The manager tells you it breaks the monotony, and, in a confidential whisper, that it increases the output.” Ours are the italics.

J. Kay