Editorial: The Lies of Lloyd George

Lawyers are invariably liars, but for downright deception and callous mockery this Welsh lawyer-member of the Government exceeds any.

Here he is at Whitefield Tabernacle telling the toilers that the “three principle causes of poverty and destitution in the homes of the industrial population of the country are ill-health, unemployment, drink.”

Everybody, including the members of this brutal Government of fraud and force, knows that these three things are but the symptom of the poverty stricken condition of the workers. The very fact of Mr. Lloyd George limiting his survey to the “industrial population” shows at once that the ill-health follows directly from the condition under which this section of society works and “lives.”

“Unemployment” may accentuate the poverty in individual cases, but the workers are poor— employed or unemployed. Let Lloyd George ask his fellow Free Trader, Chiozza Money ; or refer to the latest edition of ” Riches and Poverty,” written by this shining light of the capitalist gang.

Even Lloyd George admitted in this speech that the average wage was only 24s. per week.

“Drink,” too!—as though the toilers were poor because some of them drink. Here again, he might have asked his bosom chum, Arthur Sherwell, M.P. for Huddesfield, for an answer to this dirty, lying claim. A reference to Mr. Sherwell’s book on “The Temperance Problem and Social Reform,” will acquaint him with the fact that the rotten economic conditions under which the toilers “live” cause the excessive drinking habits of the submerged.

Dealing with Unemployment Mr. George said the Insurance Bill “makes provision against the distress which follows unemployment in two and a half millions of the homes of this country.”

What a colossal, callous, impudent lie ! A small section of the toilers are to get seven shillings a week for a few weeks provided they have paid for it and that they have not been guilty of “misconduct” and provided they have not left work without “just cause.” Such terms, of course, are to be interpreted by the Bureaucrats of the Labour Exchanges.

Seven whole shillings a week !—just enough to pay the (Tory) landlord, and this humbug of a capitalist “statesman” calls this providing against the distress !

The sickness portion of the Bill, he said,

“will remove to a very large extent the destitution and penury which follow on the heels of sickness in the homes of the people.” Remove it by deducting at least 6½d. per week from two and a half million men and giving the majority of those insured—who Mr. Lloyd George assured us could not keep up their payments to Friendly and Insurance Societies—the chance of drawing out from the Post Office—only what they have paid in, minus deductions for sanitoria, medical aid, administration, etc.
“At the present moment the entire burden of sickness amonst the industrial population falls on the shoulders of Labour. In the future more than half will be shouldered by others.”

Thus the glib orator. Firstly, seeing that the working class are the only class engaged in producing wealth, the “others” live upon “Labour ” all the time, Insurance Bill or no Insurance Bill. Secondly, the employers have been plainly told by Mr. Ure, Lloyd George’s fellow Minister, that they can easily recoup themselves for any charges upon them. Mr. Lloyd George, too, has been busy making concessions to the masters—his friends. That is why, in the words of the wily Welshman, “All parties accept the principle of the Bill”—all parties except the Socialist Party.

We do not support the Bill, because it is a miserable fraud. It claims to deal with poverty and destitution, but does not touch the cause. Nay, it does not even touch the effects—except for the worse. It is a Bill for standardising poverty and penalising the worker. The unemployed worker must register at a Labour Exchange, accept any job offered or be dubbed a “wastrel.” When he is wounded at work the Government pockets the “benefits” he has paid for. When he is ill he is to be examined by the “experts,” and if they are satisfied he gets just about enough to pay the rent for a little while. His family receive no medical or other benefit under the measure.

And the most despicable and heartless fraud during these five years of Liberalism has been, perhaps, the shameful betrayal by Lloyd George & Co. of the workers whose support they got by pledgiug themselves to provide for benefits under the Bill when the breadwinner had gone.

The sinister side of this betrayal is exposed to view by the pressure put on the Government by their supporters who are directors or shareholders of life assurance companies—like Sir Henry Dalziel.

Should the employers lock out their workmen, or goad them into striking, then the latter receive nothing. It is truly a wonderfully ingenious arrangement for the benefit of the landlord on the one hand, and for undermining the position of the worker as a seller of labour-power, on the other.

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