1900s >> 1909 >> no-63-november-1909

Lords and Commons. Tweedledum and Tweedledee

We give below a letter which appeared in the “Morning Leader” for Sept. 24th.

“THE COMMONS’ SUPREMACY.”

TO THE EDITOR OF THE “MORNING LEADER.”
Sir,—It may cause great surprise to your correspondent, Mr. Rees, if I suggest that the strenuous struggle between the “Commons” and the “Lords” is nothing but a sham encounter. But it is obvious that there is an underlying motive in concentrating the attention of the workers upon the landlords, whilst the class that own the machinery of production, i.e., work shops, factories, mines, and railways, etc. (and who are by these means able to extract sufficient wealth from the proceeds of labour to pay the landlords and incidentally to recoup themselves) are left severely alone. Why is this ?
—Yours, etc.,
KARL MARX.
127, Laleham-rd., Catford, 23 Sept.

______________

***We print this letter with pleasure. Our correspondent is probably the only man in the country who, at the present time, believes that the struggle between Lords and Commons is “nothing but a sham encounter.” His letter is a most interesting example of suspicion run mad.—ED. “M.L.”

______________

A member of the S.P.G.B. thereupon sent the following letter to the “Morning Leader.” This was printed in the issue for 29th Sep., though in a greatly mutilated form.

We give his communication in full, and have enclosed in brackets those portions which the “Morning Leader” found it convenient to leave out.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE “MORNING LEADER.”
Sir,—In your footnote to “Karl Marx’s” letter in your issue of 24th inst., you say : “Our correspondent is probably the only man in the country who, at the present time, believes that the struggle between the Lords and Commons is nothing but a sham encounter.”

I am of the same opinion as ” Karl Marx.” [That makes two of us!] Further, I can call to mind at least fifty men in South London alone ,—all known to me personally—who share our belief. [” Suspicion run mad” would seem to be contagious!]

It is obvious to a workman who thinks about the matter at all, that both the “great political parties” are merely traders in the spoils of office. They are out in their own interests, and not in the interests of the working class. If it were otherwise how comes it that after 50 years of Liberal and Tory rule, with Factory Acts, Compensation Acts, etc., all passed for the benefit of the workers, the condition of those workers is, relatively to the vast increase of wealth, gradually getting worse ?
[Every year unemployment alone numbers its victims by hundreds of thousands. This question of unemployment no “statesman” of either party dare tackle seriously. If he were to do so down would come the whole house about his ears; production would be at an end and he— horrible thought—would lose his job ! In fact —to quote William Morris—”The business of a statesman is to balance the greed and fears of the proprietary class against the necessities of the working class. This is a sorry business, and leads to all kinds of trickery and evasion ; so that it is more than doubtful whether a statesman can be a moderately honest man.”]
Yours faithfully, “KARL MARX II.”
Putney, 25th Sept.

______________

Our comrade’s reply to the “Morning Leader’s” criticism resulted in the following curious concoction being furnished by a reader from Eastbourne.

THE COMMONS’ SUPREMACY

TO THE EDITOR OF THE “MORNING LEADER.”
Your correspondent who says that, in spite of many ameliorative Acts of Parliament, “the condition of the workers is, relatively to the vast increase of wealth, gradually getting worse,” omits to furnish any data. I submit that in the last 50 years there has been a distinct improvement in every respect—rate of wages, hours of employment, conditions of work, and general average of comfort and prosperity, measured by any standard that one can adopt.

It may or may not be true that, compared with certain sections of the community, the workers have not made the same relative increase in wealth; but is it not preferable to be absolutely better off rather than relatively worse off ? Percentages can be made to prove anything, as Tariff “Reform” arithmetic has often shown.
Yours, etc., GEORGE E. QUIRK
Eastbourne, 30 Sept.

Those nasty fellows, the members of that perfectly impossible gang, the S.P.G.B., are famed for having the last word, so our comrade weighed in with the letter we print below.

______________

“THE COMMONS’ SUPREMACY”

TO THE EDITOR OF THE “MORNING LEADER.”
Sir,—If Mr. Geo. E. Quirk will read “Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman’s Speech at the Albert Hall in 1906 ;” “Life and Labour of the People,” Vol. II., by Chas. Booth; Mr. Chiozza Money’s “Riches and Poverty,” pp. 28 and 42; Rowntree’s “Poverty;” R. Sherard’s “White Slaves of England,” he will find therein plenty of data in support of my contention that “the condition of the workers is, relatively to the vast increase of wealth, gradually getting worse.” As regards his ” improvements”
(1) Rate of wages. I make him a present of that—but what about the purchasing power of those wages ? Rent, for example ?
(2) Hours of employment. Has your correspondent ever heard of “speeding up,” with its attendant evils ? And for how long a period does employment last ? (This also applies to No. 1.)
(3) If the fact that “in London alone 30 per cent. of the workers are living on or below the poverty line, with earnings not exceeding £1 1s. a week per family” (“Life and Labour of the People,” Booth, Vol. II., pp 20-21), points to an improvement in “general average of comfort and prosperity, measured by any standard that one can adopt,” then it is quite clear that your
correspondent is more easily satisfied than

Yours faithfully, “KARL MARX II.”
Putney, Oct. 2.

Leave a Reply