Powder and Shot

“Startling assertions as to the condition of the workers of Lancashire are made by Dr. Frank Percival, Medical Superintendant of Prestwick Asylum in his annual report to the Lancashire Asylums Board.
“‘The County, says Dr. Percival, has become dominated by a system of Commercialism, by which power and wealth are unevenly distributed and for thousands of persons permission to live was only granted upon conditions of labour compared to which the lot of the old Negro slaves was princely. The greatness of the nation was judged by its imports and exports rather than the happiness and welfare of the people. Children worked in factories and women, to get back to work, neglected the duties of motherhood, for which alone they were created. The inevitable result was the production of a large proportion of candidates for the asylums. He felt convinced, and the conviction had been growing upon him for years, that poverty was the greatest cause of alcoholic intemperance. Suitable convalescent homes on the coast might convert many patients to permanent recoveries insead of swelling the list of recurrences.”—Daily Chronicle, 31.8.09.

The worthy doctor suggests the remedy in stating the cause, and then flops to the obviously inadequate and faint-hearted proposal that closes the quotation.

He, however, is certainly in no worse case than the “spokesmen of labour,” who, after correctly stating the cause of unemployment, proceed to advocate, not the abolition of that cause, but trifling measures that, when adopted, must leave the problem still there.

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“He could assure them that had it not been for an independent Labour party in the House of Commons much of the advanced legislation could not have been passed. Even it he were a Radical he would pray for a strong Labour party, to force the pace in the House.”

Thus Mr. J. Parker, M.P., at Bexley Heath, (Labour Leader, 22.10.09).

It is very good of Mr. Parker to help us in the task of making clear to the workers, that he and the Labour Party are so useful to the Radical Party. This latter, while busy defending the interests of capital, will in all probability, have little need to pray for Mr. Parker’s renewed acceptance, at its hands, of a prospective seat in the next Parliament.

* * *

“It is impossible to deal with the evil of drunkenness so long as the people live in intolerable homes.”

Lord Crowe in the debate upon the second reading of the Town Planning Bill.

Humph ! Wherefore, then, the Licensing Bill of last year and all the I.L.P. support that measure had ? Remarkable, isn’t it, how the cat will sometimes get out of the bag ?

* * *

“Most interesting was the address to the Economic Science and Statistics section (British Association at Winnipeg) by Prof. Chapman who examined the problem of the value of leisure, the bearing of industrial development upon it, and its effectiveness in shaping economic arrangements. The character of much of the world’s work, he said, had changed, and with that change had come a difference in the demands made upon leisure.
These changes all tended to specialisation, to concentration, both in working and in leisure, and to constant demands for the curtailment of the working hours of the day. In the course of long investigation he had found no instance in which an abbreviation of hours had resulted in a proportionate curtailment of output. There was, indeed, every reason to suppose that the production in the shorter, seldom fell short of the production in the longer hours, in some cases the product or its value had been augmented.”—D N , 27.8.09.

Doesn’t look as though the 8-hour day would abolish unemployment, does it ? No, only Socialism will secure a comfortable livelihood to all and such leisure as industrial advance now for the first time makes possible.


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