1900s >> 1907 >> no-38-october-1907

A Look Round

The fact that Victor Grayson fought Colne Valley without the sanction of the Labour Party has upset several members of that “sensible, respectable, and adaptable” collection of odds and ends. Writing in the A.S.E. Journal for August, Mr. G. N. Barnes says that “each section should endeavour to fall in line with due regard to the general situation. Otherwise there may be more or less irregular candidatures leading to friction and a breaking up of the solidarity which has so far characterised the Labour Party. If Socialists, for instance, are going to run candidates ‘on their own’ without regard to the feelings of the Trade Unionist section, and, as in this case, without consulting the party as a whole, then Trade Unionists may be disposed to return the compliment.”

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Mr. Barnes’ reference to “solidarity” is amusing. Even the Daily News for September 3rd wrote concerning it: “Its members are but loosely joined together : in its small aggregation it comprehends the extremes of opinion. Today they are often seen walking into different lobbies in Parliament.”

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The following report appeared in the Times of August 27th:—

” The ‘Survivors of the all-night sittings’ of August 19 and 20 dined together at the House of Commons last night, among those present being Mr. Whitely, Mr. J. A. Pease, Mr. Herbert Lewis, the Master of Elibank, Mr. Fuller, Captain Norton, and Mr. Whitley (Liberal Whips), Mr. H. W. Forster and Mr. Pike Pease (Unionist Whips), and Messrs. Burns, Cavendish, Hobhouse, T. W. Russell, Ainsworth, G. Baring, W. Benn, Bowerman, Carr-Gomm, Clough, C. H. Corbett, Courthope, C. Duncan, Dunn, Fenwick, Gill, Goddard, C. L. Harmsworth, Haworth, A. Henderson, Henry, Higham, Illingworth, MacVeagh, Manfield, Markham, Nicholls, John O’Connor, Pearce, C. E. Price, Rainey, T. F. Richards, Silcock, A. Stanley, Whitehead, and W. T. Wilson. The menu for the occasion was something in the nature of a novelty, among the dishes being ‘Consommé Tortue à la Banbury,’ ‘Harengs aux Baleines Ecossais. Sauce Wason,’ ‘Gelée Lloyd-George,’ ‘Harcourts Verts petite culture,’ ‘Grouse de Hampstead Heath (Tué par M. Whiteley et Sir Hood),” ‘Pèches Anglaises sucrées, sans impôot (Garanties par M. Jean Burns),’ ‘Moelles pain dore du Sud Afrique à la Chinois,’ ‘Dessert de 45 héros,’ and ‘Gâteau (Gagne par M. Jeremie McVeagh).’ The wines were described as ‘Moselle Piesporter Cuvée Caisse Fermée Minisère de Finance. Ad Hoc.” ‘Champagne Cuvée Dorsdors’ and ‘ Porte ! Porte ! Dow’s 1878.’ The concluding line on the menu was ‘Prorogation—Le Roi le veult.'”

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Subject to correction, the “Survivors” named Bowerman, Duncan, Gill, Henderson, and T. F. Richards are “Labour” members. Who paid ?

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Lord William Cecil is recording, in the columns of the Times, the impressions of his recent visit to China, where he went with the object of seeing the Christian missions at work in that portion of the Far East. What he has to say is far from reassuring says the Church Time. He found only too convincing proof of the tendency among European residents in China to sink to the lower moral standard of the Orientals. Foreseeing a time when China, like Japan, will enter into close relation and intercourse with the West, he dreads a Yellow Peril no less serious than the peril of aggression, which he believes to be imaginary. The Yellow Peril he fears is that of moral contamination for Europe, through the adoption of Chinese morals and ideas.

To meet this Lord William thinks that every effort should be made to make known the religion of Christ to the Chinese ! But a knowledge of this religion has not prevented the Europeans from falling !

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The correspondence in the Church Times on Socialism was brought to a close on September 15th with a letter from Mr. Harry Phillips, writing from the Church House, Westminster, He “was once a member of the I.L.P., but is not now,” as he “can no longer support Labour when it declares for secular education !”

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In the course of his letter Mr. Phillips says : “Under the rule of a strong Socialist majority on the West Ham Town Council, there was more poverty, more suffering, and greater want of employment, than at any other period during the history of West Ham, and had it not been for the generous subscriptions of strong individualists and capitalists like Mr. Dewar, and others, the suffering would have been a great deal worse ; it was exactly the same at Poplar. I am not now alluding to the bribery and corruption of a few men, none of whom were Labour men, nor am I in any sense attacking any Socialist members of the Town Council, but the administration during the Socialist regime instead of reducing poverty, intensified it. Rates and rent went up enormously, and unemployment and suffering increased.”

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Now, even a Christian Socialist might try to tell the truth sometimes ! There never has been a Socialist majority on the West Ham Town Council, and far from rates and rent going up enormously, it is a well-known fact that in West Ham and in districts further East rents have fallen considerably, although rates have risen. As we have repeatedly shown, a rise in rates is not always followed by a rise in rents, but, on the other hand, rents often fall concurrently with rising rates. The landlords always secure the full amount that competition for house accommodation will permit them to exact, irrespective of rates. And very often high rates mean low assessments, and low rates high assessments.

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In their efforts to capture the working class for Christ the parsons are ably assisted by some of the Labour Misleaders. Mr. G. J. Wardle, M.P., speaking at Brixham Congregational Church on Aug. 25 delivered himself as follows:

“There were thousands of men who had to work hard from week to week, and yet at the end there was nothing for them but the workhouse and a pauper’s grave. Every working-man who was discontented with the present conditions was so because he knew that life to him was not what it ought to be and what it might be. Under a system of industry in, which they could see the Divine hand, he knew that there would not only be security of tenure, but no unreasonably long hours and small wages, whilst he would have those comforts which health demanded.”

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Mr. Wardle, apparently, has no conception of a time when the working man shall cease to be such, as distinguished from the non-working section of the community. No, all that is wanted is “fixity of tenure” (which apparently means that the workman’s nose is to be fixed to the grindstone) and not unreasonably long hours or unreasonably small wages. These of course are very vague terms, suitable to the occasion. And what reason has Mr. Wardle for suggesting that the Divine hand (whatever that may be) is not to be seen in the present system of industry ?

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At the annual demonstration of the Blaina district of the South Wales Miners’ Federation on August 26th dissatisfaction was expressed at the action of Mr. T. Richards, Labour M.P. for West Monmouth, in supporting Liberal candidates. Mr. Richards, in reply, said that he went to support the Liberal candidate at Bristol at the request of a Labour Leader (whom he did not name) and he was not sorry that he had helped to return Mr. Robinson, the Liberal member for Breconshire. Loud cheers greeted his speech, after which Mr. W. Crooks, M.P., addressed the meeting, no doubt on the “solidarity” of the Labour Party.

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At a Primrose League demonstration Lord Londonderry spoke of the great and growing danger of Socialism to the State. He said :

“There is £152,000,000 in the Post Office Savings Bank, the savings of ten million persons, for the Socialists to take. A million and three-quarter persons have put nearly £53,000,000 in trustee savings banks. Some £68,000,000 has been placed by workmen in building societies, and there is some £50,000,000 invested in industrial and provident societies, co-operative and friendly societies, and trade union benefit funds, while small holders hold some £20,000,000 worth of Government stock.
“All these are workmen’s savings, and they are all to be confiscated by the Socialists, all to be shared by the thriftless, all to be looted by the ‘have nots’ at the expense of those who have something.”

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These figures make a total of £343,000,000, and as we showed last month, there is only about £100,000,000 of money in the Kingdom, so that even under Capitalism these “workmen” would be in a bad way if they wanted to withdraw their savings in a hurry. It is unfortunate that his Lordship did not give the numbers of all these various kinds of thrifty workmen. But according to him the depositors in the P.O. and Trustee savings banks number 11,750,000 “workmen.” The Industrial and Provident Societies have about 2,250,000 members and the Trade Unionists number about 2,000,000. Exclusive, then, of the Building Societies, at least 16,000,000 ‘workmen’ have deposited all these savings. But the workers only number about 13,000,000, or, with their dependents, 33,000,000. And of these, according to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, 13,000,000 are always on the verge of hunger !

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The sums mentioned by his Lordship do not represent the savings of the working class. Take the P.O. for example. The commercial and trading class know, what the working class, as a rule, do not, viz., that deposits are unattachable, that is, that in event of a bankruptcy, deed of composition, or any other circumstance, the creditors of a depositor in the P.O. Savings Bank cannot touch his or her deposit. Hence many of these wide-awake folk deposit up to the limit (£200) as a sort of provision against a “rainy day.”

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The working class (S.D.F. resolutions notwithstanding) have nothing to lose but their chains. This also applies to many members of the “respectable classes,” the clerks and shop assistants, and many of their chains are “duds,” as watch snatchers have sometimes found, to their chagrin.

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The S.D.F. is continually passing resolutions, and sending them to various representatives of the master class and the latest is a “stunner.”

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Thus saith the S.D.F. Executive : “That this meeting of the Executive Committee of the S.D.F. enters its emphatic protest against the invitation given by King Edward VII on behalf of the British nation to the German Kaiser, arid declares its intention to make this protest publicly effective upon his visit in London if necessary, seeing that the presence of a reactionary militarist such as the Kaiser is in no wise welcome among a free and self-respecting people.”

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The issue of Justice which contained this resolution contained also “A Practical Suggestion for Socialist Unity” by E. R. Hartley, from which it was apparent that E.R.H. desires “Socialist” Unity in order to send to Parliament “someone who shall speak with confidence and authority.” This “someone” is “H. M. Hyndman.” E.R.H. waxes enthusiastic. “Hyndman, the economist, the educated gentleman, the polished and scholarly traveller, . . . Hyndman, with his sublime capacity for magnificent indiscretions” and so on. Evidently the resolution quoted above is one of Hyndman’s “magnificent indiscretions.”

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Consider the position. In its literature and on its platforms, the S.D.F. declare that the people of this country are slaves. Mr. Hyndman has gone further and has denounced all those who are not class-conscious Socialists as “slaves and curs indeed.” Now, slaves and curs cannot be “free and self-respecting.” The S.D.F. Executive have allowed their jingoism to get the better of their Socialism, and in pursuit of their policy of currying favour with the jingo and “patriotic” section of the master class, of which the advocacy of compulsory military training forms a part, have thrown their Socialism overboard again, and declared what they know is a lie, viz., that the people of this country are “free and self respecting.”

J. KAY

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