Keir Hardie, M.P., told a Peterborough audience recently that “Socialism is the embodiment of the ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount.”
Mr. Hardie must have been speaking with his tongue in his cheek. If we are to “resist not evil,” why do sentimentalists like J. Keir Hardie pretend to engage in combatting the evil conditions surrounding us to-day ? They should be the meekest of the meek, and turn the other cheek to the smiter. Socialists worthy of the name are not of the “poor in spirit” type of mental slaves who are to “inherit the earth,” nor can they “love their enemies.” These ”ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount” are beyond the shadow of a doubt the vary basis of the I.L.P., in which love of the capitalist enemy is much more manifest than regard for the interest of the working class, and whose leaders about equally divide their energies between teaching the workers to turn the other cheek and imprinting Judas kisses thereon.
Further, a system of society in which no one took any “thought for the morrow” as regards food, clothing, and shelter, would hardly suit the present scribe, who is a little bit diffident when it comes to going “naked and unashamed,” and must confess to an utter inability to turn a deaf ear to the woeful wail of his “Little Mary.” I have a suspicion that Mr. Hardie’s practice (or pretended practice) of endeavouring to better the present material conditions runs counter to the theory (if it has any theory) of the injunction “take no thought for the morrow.” Perhaps did some unlucky chance stop the payment of the salaries of the Labour M.P.s, theory and practice might come to be more in agreement.
But the thought presents itself that this statement of the unimportance of material wealth indicates that the I.L.P. conception of Socialism is a system of society based on a cloud, where the elect “toil not neither do they spin,” yet “Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of them.” A spiritual inheritance of the meek, where the principal diet is a spiritual treacle, and where they take turn and turn about with their good friends the capitalists (LL.P. “Object” —”The nationalisation of capital”) listening at the keyhole to the “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth” in the “outer darkness,” where the “impossibilists,” who always were very devils for the tangible and material, are enjoying the very material brimstone, served hot.
Item—the I.L.P. WAR-CHEST is empty. Comment—Blessed are the peacemakers.
The second reading of the Daylight-Saving Bill brought forward the information that the sum of £92,000 per annum would be saved to the railway companies, in Great Britain alone. The efficiency of the army would also be increased owing to the Territorial Force having more opportunities for daylight shooting practice. From these two points alone we see how vital the passing of the Bill is to the working-class interest, and why D. J. Shackleton, M.P., should be anxious to support the measure. With greater facilities (perhaps) for cultivating allotments there would follow a greater demand for these, which, as a result, would cause land for the purpose to rise in price, to the benefit of the landlord class.
Of course, some readers may say “the workers working the same number of hours as now would not cultivate allotments to any greater extent than at present, because the days work under modern conditions leaves them no energy to do so.” This is also true in the main, but proves nothing beyond the Bill’s futility from a working-class stand-poiat.
Robert Blatchford (Clarion, March 26 ’09) desires a commission of enquiry composed of honest business men to investigate the facts of the naval scare (so largely engineered by Mr. H. M. Hyndman and himself). The honest business man is such a rara avis that there is small hope of finding sufficient of him to form a commission of enquiry. This commission of business and scientific experts is required because “those who pay the bills should have control of the expenditure.” As the capitalist class pay the bills (for armaments, etc.) through their taxes and rates, and their interests are opposed to those of the working class, then Mr. Blatchford, by his advocacy of an extension of municipal and Government ownership of trading concerns, because the rates are lowered by such methods, has been guilty of opposing working-class interests.
In a subsequent article in the same paper (April 2nd) we are told that “the downfall of England would be a disaster to the human race,” and alluding directly to Germany’s preparation for war Mr. Blatchford says “we have either to fight or go under.”
I suppose Mr. Blatchford wants, then, to fight, to preserve, protect, and perpetuate the condition of affairs pictured in his book “Dismal England,”
I rather think Mr. Blatchford might reconsider whether, in the long run, it would be a disaster if we were licked by Germany. The Clarion’s editor should be pleased that the introduction of a regime which has had the following effect in Germany should prevail over here. My figures are from the “Socialist Annual,” 1909, and whilst I, as an S.P.G.B’er, do not consider the votes polled to be Socialist votes, Mr. Blatchford should find no difficulty in accepting them.
|Germany.||England.||“Soc. and Lab.” members||43||32||Total members in Parliament||397||670||Percent, of “Soc. and Lab.” Members of Parliament||10.9||4.7||Total “Soc.andLab.” poll
But I suppose we must overlook the ramblings of Mr. Blatchford because he says he is suffering from severe influenza, and among other symptoms of that dread complaint I read that “co-incident with the fever and catarrh, and perhaps in proportion to the severity of the former, is a peculiar state of the nervous system. There is great depression and loss of spirits . . . The mind is often affected, and the patient may become stupid and delirious.” From which it seems that Mr. Blatchford has been suffering from the malady for quite an extensive period, and that for years past, instead of trying to teach the workers that “every man who owns a spade is a capitalist,” he should have been comfortably tucked up in bed, with “Dangle” and Suthers, as individuals who, having become chronically “stupid and delirious” have nothing more to fear, playing the part of devoted nurses.
Victor Grayson’s worldly wisdom in not placing himself before the electors of Colne Valley after his suspension from Parliament was shown on Saturday, April 3rd, when the District Council election in the Colne Valley Division, resulted in not one “Socialist” candidate being returned. Three so-called Socialist seats at New Mill and Slaithwaite were won by the Unionists and Liberals, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Grayson spoke on behalf of some of the candidates.
The Colne Valley election of 1907 (when Mr. Grayson was elected) was instanced “as showing the power of ideal Socialism to win the hearts of the people.” This was at the Edinburgh I.L.P. Conference on April 10th, 1909, but I make bold to say that Mr. Grayson, from whom the remark emanated, did not produce his election address in order to show the I.L.P. delegates in conference assembled, what constituted “ideal Socialism,” and so give them a treat. If any of the following items which appeared on that election address are Socialistic it would be interesting to know which it is. Here is the list: the Land Question, Free Trade, Free Meals for School Children, Government Reform, House of Lords, Education, Old Age Pensions, Right to Work, and last, though not least prominent on this ”Socialistic” election address, Votes for Women on the same terms as men ! Quite as “Socialistic” as many a Radical election address, is it not ? No wonder Philip Snowden said at the last annual Conference at Huddersfield that “Mr. Grayson made no reference whatever to Socialism in his address except to describe himself as a Socialist and Labour candidate.”
The S.D.P., who are such strong opponents of “Secret Diplomacy,” also held their annual Conference during Easter, and after the Chairman’s address on Good Friday, the remainder of that day and more than two hours of the Saturday sitting were spent with closed doors. Rumour hath it that the occasion was the washing of dirty linen, and one is justified in the suspicion that the doors were closed because the parties concerned were ashamed of the public discovering how very disgustingly foul the linen really was. Anyway, nothing has transpired to lead one to suppose that, as the result of resorting to the methods of Secret Diplo— pardon, I mean a secret washing society, the linen came out of the wash any cleaner than it went in.
Drat that bell ! ‘Scuse me. Hullo ! Yes. Exclusive information ? Never pay for that sort of thing. I can’t help—what’s that? Closed doors ?—know all about that. To consider what ? The report of the Committee to consider the necessity or otherwise of co-ordinating and re-classifying the items in the S.D.P. programme and to suggest any necessary alterations, deletions, and additions. Well, that’s their business, and anyway, that programme of nearly 50 “immediate reforms” wants revising. Moral victory for the “young Turks”? M’perhaps. Good-bye.
The North West Ham branch S.D.P. had the impudence to suggest that Will Thome, M.P., should either resign the Labour Party or his membership of the S.D.P. Have North West Ham, Southwark, and Coventry Branches been comparing S.D.P. Rule 41 and found his position “illogical and harmful to the Party?” Me-thinks it would be more harmful to the Party if Thorne left it.