“I understand that about twenty of the lasters recently discharged from the Wheatsheaf Works through the introduction of new labour-saving machinery, have this week each been handed a solatium of £10 by the Committee of the Wholesale Co operative Society.”—”Shoe and Leather Record.”

* * *

Lucky dogs ! I don’t know which they ought to be most thankful for—Co-operation, or the fact that they are lasters. Now I’ll tell you what I should do if I were a laster displaced by machinery, but with a solatium (blesssd word) of £10 in my pocket.

I’d just let the machine do the work, and I’d last out on stout and oysters and rest till the old-age pension came along. Of course, one would have to be a pretty good laster to do it, but then what is the good of being a laster if you can’t last ?

* * *

Ireland is not the only subject of injustice. Mr. Douglas Hall, M.P., has discovered that the ‘armless (ask the Manchester carters), necessary copper is unjustly put upon on occasion, and he has taken up the cudgels on his behalf. He has entered into wordy warfare with Mr. Winston Churchill on the subject of the policemen’s Coronation medals, for he thinks it a burning shame that the police force in the Isle of Wight should not have medals to commemorate the fact that they have done some work—of a kind.

The hon. member felt so strongly on the matter, and the pure flame of chivalry blazed up so strongly within him, that he was moved to get up a petition, and “in less than an hour” (says he in a letter to Mr. Churchill, (which he also took the opportunity to get inserted in that excellent advertising medium, the “Isle of Wight County Times”) he obtained 100 signatures of Members of Parliament to the appeal.

* * *

Since it was discovered at Belfast that police cannot be relied upon to “bash” strikers while they have grievances of their own to brood over, quite a lot has been done to make “buttons” lie more comfortably. The policemen’s Sunday rest, is a case in point. It would be a pity to spoil all this for the sake of a few medals.

But I was forgetting—it may interest some of the workers who were lately bashed on the head by policemen at Tonypandy, Hull, Manchester and other places, to learn that among the M.P.’s who signed the petition are those prominent members of the Labour Party, Mr. George N. Barnes and Mr. Philip Snowden.

Couldn’t either of these gentlemen be induced to get up a petition for the recognition of the extremely valuable services of the police who were sent to South Wales in connection with the colliery dispute ? I am sure he could get the signature of every colliery-owner in Wales.

* * *

“The reason of the strength of Socialism was that it was so strenuous and uncompromising.”

Thus the “Daily Chronicle” (13. 7.11) reports Lord Selborne. It is very well said. Socialism must be uncompromising iu order to be Socialism ; it must be strenuous in order to be strong. It seems the I.LP.-er and S.D.P.-er may learn something from a lord—I had thought they were incapable of learning anything from anybody.

If Lord Selborne will watch us and read the SOCIALIST STANDARD in the future as he has evidently done in the past, he will discover that there are other sources of Socialist strength.

* * *

The hopelessness of the workers’ fight for anything else than Socialism (though, of course, the struggle must be kept up) is finely illustrated in the columns of the “Manchester Daily Despatch” (10.7.11), wherein it is pointed out that owing to the carters’ strike in that city there has been an unprecedented demand for motor lorries and waggons. The result has been that many firms have found these vehicles so economical, speedy and convenient that they are adopting them as rapidly as their demands can be met. It is claimed, and probably upon fair grounds, that when the carters’ strike is finished, many of the men will have no work to return to.

The tragedy of the workers’ position under capitalism is that their struggles, and still more their victories, handicap them against their pitiless competitor, machinery. Though it does not justify resigning the fight, it is, nevertheless, a never-to be forgotten fact that the lower wages are the slower machinery advances.

There is but one escape from this—Socialism. I am not going to adorn the tale with a moral.

* * *

Mr. Lloyd George, speaking at the Welsh Baptist Chapel, Castle Street, London, on June 25, is reported to have said :

“No reform was ever brought about by the people who suffered only, but always through the help of those who profited nothing.”

As it stands the statement is sheer nonsense, for it is just those who “suffer only” who gain nothing from reforms. However, ascribing this to temporary aberration (perhaps on the part of the printer), and reading the true meaning into the words (i.e., that reforms are never brought about solely by those who are to gain by them, but always with the help of those they will not profit), it seems to me that the statement is very near the truth.

I am not well up in the matter of reforms, but as far as my observations go they bear out the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I cannot call to mind any reform that has not solely benefited the ruling class, but to get which they have not sought and obtained the assistance of the gullible section of the working class.

* * *

Mr. Lloyd George also said upon the same auspicious occasion : “All the poverty of London was really at the door of religion.”

How redolent of truth he was that fine summer afternoon. Some little correction, possibly, is needed, as with all general truths ; but in the sense that religion is one of the chief pillars of the present system of robbery, the pronouncement is substantially correct—though the parson must think it is like the politician’s darn’d cheek to go into the chapel and say so.

* * *

One more little selection from the same candid chin-wag. There was no stopping him when he got on the straight and narrow path of truth. You see he had escaped from the House of Commons, where only good, honest, downright lying is permissible, and he felt something of the wild exultation of the converted cannibal who has the good fortune to drop into a hut where they are boiling the missionary for supper. He spake unto the multitude thus :

“There is nothing between the people and tyranny but the spirit of the Christian Church.”

That’s just it—the vacuous, ethereal, ghostly, spirituous, spiritual spirit of the Christian Church—an intangible obfuscation of the foggy order that romps the land with a collection bag—a something just solid enough to hide the tyrant and his methods, but no sort of a foil against his mailed fist.

Yes, it is quite true that the spirit of the Christian Church is all that stands between the workers and tyranny, and that is one of the reasons the former cannot see who is hitting them

* * *

The “Evening News” of July 15 has the following on the action of the Labour Party in voting for the Financial resolution of the Insurance Bill after protesting against it.

“It was a Labour Party—
The ‘Independent’ sort—
Its manner bluff and hearty,
Its temper sometimes short.
It was its chiefest glory
Its manly breast to thump
And say for Rad. or Tory
It didn’t care a dump.

“It had its fixed convictions,
Its views on what to do ;
And knowing no restrictions,
It meant to see them through.
If, thinking these were novel
(And 0, his lights were dim)
The Premier didn’t grovel,
Well, all the worse for him.

“Amendments most extensive
It cheerfully designed ;
Its manner was offensive,
But O, its heart was kind !
And when its speeches sprightly
The Chancellor had chid,
It touched its hat politely
And voted as he bid !—C. E. B.”

So doth genius put the whole thing in a nutshell.


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