1900s >> 1908 >> no-42-february-1908

Here and There

On Sunday, January 12th, the Hyde I.L.P. and Labour Church held two meetings in the Theatre Royal, Corporation Street. Councillor John Lachlan said they would find, if they considered his practical work, that Christ believed absolutely in the collective ownership of the means of life. Nineteen hundred years ago, he said, Christ founded the creed of Socialism.

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One can quite understand the North Cheshire Herald’s reporter’s statement that this Councillor gave a humorous speech !

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At the same meeting Mr. J. A. Seddon, M.P., was asked about the Labour Party’s Unemployed Bill and the penal clause. He replied that he was not there to defend the Bill nor to say it was a step in the right direction. He did not claim to know the solution of the unemployed problem, and if they were to wait until the remedy was brought about he thought the questioner was a greater enemy to the unemployed than to anyone else.

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If this report is correct what a tower of strength to the Labour Party Mr. Seddon must be.

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According to the “Trenchant Manifesto” issued by the Trade Union and Labour Officials Temperance Fellowship, one of the reasons why the liquor traffic is an enemy of the working-class movement is because “it lessens the industrial efficiency of the worker.”

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In so far as it does this, of course, it tends to relieve the pressure of the unemployed problem. New and improved machinery, better organisation of industry, more healthful conditions of employment, increase the efficiency of the worker and increase the unemployed.

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It is rather cool of the T.U. and L.O.T.F. to accuse the liquor trade of “a sinister avowal that it sets its own trade interests above the welfare of the nation” because its motto is “Our trade our politics,” when it is remembered that existing trade unions set the welfare of their own members not only against that of workers outside but in many cases against members of other trade unions. As a rule, too, by their high fees and other restrictions the unions limit their “benefits” to the privileged few who are permitted to join.

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“On the whole, there is nothing to lead one to suppose that there will be any irreconcilable differences between the Labour Party and the Government when the House of Commons is invited to discuss Mr. Asquith’s scheme (of old age pensions).—Daily Chronicle, Jan. 20th.

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At the Labour Party Conference on Unemployment, Mr. Will Thorne, the S.D.F. M.P., declared “bluntly” that the Party’s Unemployed Bill only played with the question. And yet, as the astute, and far from blunt, Ramsay MacDonald pointed out, Mr. Thorne has backed this very bill.

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Out of his own mouth, therefore, is the member for South West Ham condemned. He has put his name to a bill that is a fraud, and must support it in the House of Commons.

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At the same meeting Mr. Thorne asked why, if those present believed that Socialism is the only remedy, they did not say so ?

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This is pot and kettle with a vengeance, seeing that Mr. Thorne, on his own confession, sunk his Socialism and ran as a “Labour” candidate only at the General Election, and also supported Mr. Percy Alden, the Liberal candidate for Tottenham, S.D.F. rules and L.R.C. Constitution notwithstanding.

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Mr. Theodore C. Taylor, M.P., recently visited Japan and China and, as a result of his investigations, lie urges that if we (i.e., British capitalists) are to retain our hold upon the world’s markets, our aim must be better work and more work in the time, to correspond with the shorter hours we now work. As yet, he says, it is mainly in coarse counts that China and Japan compete with Lancashire, but he sees nothing to prevent their spinning finer counts as well. One company whose works he saw had eleven policemen of their own and in the manager’s office was a row of twenty-four rifles for use in case of need. (Of course, there is no class war: capital and labour are brothers !) The company had also provided a Roman Catholic church, a school, and a free dispensary as equipment of the “village” they have built for their workfolks. How kind !

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If the schoolmaster can’t educate the Chinamen as to the advantage of being wage-slaves, and if the priest cannot chloroform them—well, let’s try the cops and the rifles. It is astonishing how effective is the fear of man when the love of God fails !

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By their Gas Act of 1875 the Widnes Corporation are compelled to devote all profits arising from the gasworks to either extension or to reduction of price, but they have now inserted a clause in the Bill they are bringing before Parliament to empower them to devote the profits to the relief of the rates. The landlords are supporting the proposal and the big chemical and soap magnates are opposing it.

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If it were true that rents rise or fall because rates rise or fall, the change would make no difference to the landlords, and they would not therefore be opposing the manufacturers on the point.

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Mr. H. Quelch, of the Social Democratic Federation, was present at the Hull Labour Party Conference, disguised as a Trade Union delegate.

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He asked the Conference to declare itself, and let them know absolutely where they were.

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We can understand his desire to find out where he was and what he was doing, in view of the S.D.F. refusal to again affiliate with the Labour Party, because it is not a Socialist party.

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He also said that he objected to a Labour Party which was a non-Socialist party in England and a Socialist party on the Continent.

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It is no doubt because he objects to it that he was supporting it at its National Conference.

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Mr. Bruce Glasier did not wish to impose Socialism upon those who were not prepared to declare for it.

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And, he might have added, he was not prepared to declare for it whilst it was more profitable, politically and financially, to hide it.

J.B.

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