1900s >> 1908 >> no-51-november-1908

The pillory

Mr. John Burns at Tynemouth, 14.10.08 (Daily News report) said in reference to the Tariff Reformer’s allegation that under Free Trade England was a country of vanishing trades, “If that was true (which he denied) it was unpatriotic to allege it.” Burns’s conception of patriotism is, then, a readiness to lie with all the heart, and soul, and strength, when circumstances require it. Burns is a patriot—for £2,000 a year !

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David Cummings, of the Boilermakers, has gone the way of Isaac Mitchell, of the General Federation. They both have jobs under the Board of Trade, and the capitalist class will doubtless find them eager to justify their salaries. It is better so. In the ranks of the workers they were worse than useless. The workers know now where they are—and why. George Barnes is said to be in the runnig for a similar job. He also will be better there—if he goes. At present he denies it. But these denials are generally to be taken cum grano salis. If George doesn’t go it will probably be due to the fact that he hasn’t a biblical name. Men with biblical names seem in much greater request, witness John, Isaac, and David. Now if George had been named Barrabas——

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A. S. Headingly, of the S.D.P., is advertised in the St. Louis Labor (3.10.08) as open to speak in the large cities of America at 15 dollars a time. It is not stated whether his address will consist of exhortations to the workers to keep their finger-nails clean and see that the crease in their pants is always in perfect alignment, or whether he will take as his subject “the application of soap below the collar line and its relation to the Revolution.” These grave questions will doubtless be duly considered as usual, notwithstanding that the lecturer’s fee is so low.

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We have been requested to announce that “on Oct. 12th the Rev. Ernest J. B. Kirtlan, B.A., B.D., late chaplain of H.M. Prison, Wormwood Scrubs, member of Fabian Society, and lecturer for the S.D.P., will speak in connection with the anniversary of the South London Wesleyan Mission. Subject: ‘Fag-Ends.'” The combination of qualifications and the occasion, not less than the importance of the subject, have impelled us to comply. We are sorry that the address will have been delivered some weeks before we can publish the news to the world, but we have done what we could.

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Act 1. Mr. W. Thorne, M.P., introduces a Bill to provide for a citizen army.
Act 2. The S.D.P. issue a pamphlet explaining what Mr. Thorne means. (This was laudable and eminently necessary.)
Act 3. Has not yet been constructed. It might properly take the form of an explanatory pamphlet on the S.D.P. explanation of Mr. Thorne’s Bill.

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Mr. A. E. Wachter is, I understand, a well-known Clarion Scout in his own neighbourhood. He writes to the Sunday Chronicle to enlighten a “middle-class father of eight,” who seems to have alleged that the working “classes” do not pay rates. Mr. Wachter says the working “classes” do pay rates. Mr. Wachter should read THE SOCIALIST STANDARD regularly. It would save him making exhibitions of ignorance. The working class does not pay rates; and there is only one working class. To refer to working classes is absurd.

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“He did not care tuppence ior the abstract opinion of any man who did not come into his trade union and plant down his little bit of money and do his little bit of work.” (G. N. Barnes, M.P., Salford, 4.9.08.) The value of a man’s views is in proportion to the regularity with which he planks down his little bit of money in the union. Mr. Barnes is refreshingly frank.

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At the Sanitary Inspectors’ Conference at Liverpool on the 9th, Sir J. Crichton-Browne said that if Mrs. Hemans were alive she would have to add another verse to her well-known poem in eulogy of tenement buildings. It would probably run, he said, thus—

The tenements of England, piled tier on tier on high.
Stand not by brooks, in verdant nooks, that rest and glad the eye,
But they rest fair, in sun and air, are clean and free from croup,
And safely there the weary sleep, and the sickly cease to droop.

If this is humour it is of the type that requires labelling. If it is not perhaps the least unkind remark one could make would be that Sir J. C.Browne’s poetry is at least as good as his facts; to which might be added that while the poet may properly claim licence for his fanciful figments, the scientist must make his appeal on more solid ground.

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