The Manchester Guardian (29.11. 09.), quoting from the Standard, gave the number of constituencies in which there will be three-cornered contests as seventy-eight, unless an agreement is reached between the Liberal and Labour parties. It will be interesting to compare the number of constituencies actually contested by the Labour Party with the above figures.

The “revolution” attributed to the action of the Lords in rejecting the Finance Bill is as nothing to the change in number the above three-cornered-fight constituencies will undergo. Just keep your eye on them, gentle reader.

* * *

Mr. Victor Grayson, in the Clarion (20.11.09), issues “A Call to Arms” against any compact being entered into with the Liberals to avoid three-cornered contests. Messrs. Snowden, Henderson, and Keir Hardie have come in for a fair share of his wrath.

But the position of these gentlemen is quite a logical one for a party of reform mongers, and it is Mr. Grayson who is illogical. In order to catch votes he plastered his election address well over with reforms (eleven in number), and having got in, he is, in justice to his constituents, bound to work for the reforms he had advocated.

As the Liberal party is best able to pass those measures, then Mr. Grayson’s business as a reformer is to help them in every way to do so. Of course, were he elected as a Socialist, his present stand might be more correct ; but neither he nor any other M.P. (not excepting Mr. Will Thorne) has been elected under those conditions upon which alone a Socialist can take his seat.

Let Mr. Grayson, therefore, pull himself together, and do a little mental stock-taking.

* * *

The S.D.P. sometimes say Socialism is the only hope of the workers, but in their official organ, Justice (27.11.09) they have the brazen effrontery to say that “the present crisis might justify an arrangement with the Liberals which would ensure that none of their seats should be endangered in the election by triangular contests, and that there should be whole-hearted co-opertion with them against the Lords, if only it was to be a real fight.”

In 1900 they decided to “support all anti-war candidates, whatever their political colour.”

So it seems we may conclude that the class war which is to be carried on by the workers organising themselves (vide S.D.P. programme) can be, nay, is, suspended from time to time. The paragraph in which the quotation given above occurs is headed “Triangular Contests and a Sham Fight.” THE sham fight (in this instance) is the one the S.D.P. engage in with capitalism. If that was a real fight there could be no talk of “whole-hearted co-operation” with either Liberal or Tory capitalist.

* * *

The American ambassador at a Thanks-giving Day Banquet held in London on November 25th said, “his countrymen had a thanksgiving proclamation ready made, if they studied their manufacturing, telephone, telegraph and mining returns.” The “returns” from these concerns which fall to the workers’ share are such as, on the an average, will barely maintain themselves and their families. Those persons who find cause for thanksgiving in such returns are of the minority of the quoted speaker’s countrymen, not the majority.

Colorado strikes, Homestead riots, McKee’s Rocks horrors, militia and impartial law at Bridgeport. —these are the things the majority of the people of the United States have cause to give thanks for. But they’ll have no banquet, we may be sure.

The Ambassador went on : “Look at the princely gifts for the relief of suffering, and the promotion of science, and the diffusion of education.”

Yes, look at them closely and you will find that despite the spread of education and growth of scientific discovery, the amount of suffering to be relieved also grows.

* * *

The Executive of the Labour Party have no control over the local Labour Parties and to say they can order the withdrawal of Labour candidates in certain constituencies is false. What happens is this—the E.C. of the Labour Party point out to candidates and local organisations the undesirability of contesting so many triangular fights. The local associations are free to pursue the candidature or not as they wish. They usually do not think it advisable to do so, because clause IV., sec. 3 of the Labour Party’s constitution contains the following :

“Before a candidate can be regarded as adopted for a constituency, his candidature must be sanctioned by the National Executive.” and further because the object of the Parliamentary Fund is —

“To assist in paying the election expenses of Candidates adopted in accordance with this Constitution, in maintaining them when elected ; and to provide the salary of a National Party Agent.”

Therefore, to say the E.C. of the Labour Party can cause the withdrawal of candidates is equal to calling a spade a spade when it is not—everyone knows it is an agricultural implement.

* * *

At the meeting of the Horden Collieries, Ltd, held at Darlington on November 26th, Sir Hugh Bell in his presidential address said, “It should be borne in mind that many people went into business not merely to obtain wealth, but to assist in developing the country and improve the welfare of their fellow men.”

Reading this, I thought I had at last found a gentleman who engaged in business for the pleasure of doing good to his fellows. But no, Sir Hugh did not come up to my expectations. For on reading further I learned that “The profit and loss account, he was sorry to say, showed £45,393 profit, as against £87,983 last year.” I was disappointed too : not in the profit, but in my hopes having been falsely raised in imagining I had found a philanthropist “in business for the pleasure” of doing good to others.


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