Nods to the Blind . . . .

On the 15th of the present month that famous scientific scheme of exploitation known as the National Insurance Act will come into operation. Most of its objections having been “overcome,” it only remains to apply the “technical adjustments,” then will the much-to-be-envied working class enjoy the fruits of “one of the greatest Socialistic measures that has ever been placed before the House,” as one Labour faker has it.

As to who will ultimately benefit by this “Socialistic” measure, it needs very little analysing to show. It will be the employing class and not the workers. In fact this is admitted, as one will find on reading the daily papers. Here is an instance. At the annual meeting of Messrs. Wilkins, fruit growers and preservers, Tiptree Heath, Essex, held in April, the announcement was made that the firm had decided to pay the whole of the contributions of the workpeople under the National Insurance Act. It was stated that this action would cost the firm £300 a year, but the directors considered they would be well repaid by the increased efficiency of their employees !

Both the I.L.P. and the Labour Party claim credit for having forced this “Socialistic” piece of legislation. If these parties are anxious to take the credit for having helped to impose a fraudulent Act upon the working class, then, I say, by all means let ’em have it !

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At the time of writing these notes the transport workers’ strike is in a very precarious condition. As one followed the various phases one conld not help being struck by the pitiful helplessness of the whole thing. The sudden order to “down tools” ; the hasty joining together of forces ; the procession of 100,000 men to demonstrate the “omnipotent power” of the workers ; the impassioned harangues of the “leaders” ; the negotiation that led to nothing ; the intervention of the Government; the stinging rebuff by the masters ; the final surrender of the strike leaders by offering to provide a monetary guarantee of their good behaviour if only they were permitted to return to work: all these go to show the utter futility of the versatile tactics of Tillett & Co. So long as the workers both inside and outside of the unions are led by the nose from one position to another and back again, so long will it spell disaster for them. Having regard to the increasing strength of the employers’ combinations, it follows that the workers will have to take a clearer and more comprehensive view of their position.

* * *

Sir E. Clarke was compelled to admit during the course of the negotiations that, whereas the men had broken agreements on two points—apparently through a misunderstanding—the masters had deliberately broken agreements on five points, and made a profit out of it !

He might have added that the masters will continue to make agreements, and break them as fast as they are made.

* * *

The hostility of the master class is directed against trade unionism, not because of its present ineffective policy, but because of the ultimate possibility of it becoming politically enlightened through the permeation in its ranks of class-conscious, revolutionary Socialism. The master class are already class conscious—that is, conscious of the interest of their class—and they will resist to the utmost any encroachment upon their privileges. Hence their fierce endeavour to crush all attempts at working-class organisation. Such attitude is exemplified in a speech, made by Dr. Harrison, J.P., at Garstang (5.6.12). In dealing with the Transport Workers strike he is reported to have said :

“I would use the police to the utmost limit and if they were not enough I would employ the armed forces of the Crown to shoot down the peaceful picketers like dogs ” !

There is a brutal frankness about it which should not be lost upon the workers. It is not surprising as it is typical of the class whose representative and mouthpiece he is. All the same it is useful in that it helps to point out what the S.P.G.B. has consistently pointed out for years,—that there can be no compromise or conciliation between the two classes—that it is war to the death.

* * *

Replying to Mr. H. G. Wells apropos of his article on “What Labour Wants” (quoted “Daily News” 5.6.12.), Mr. John Ward, MP remarks: “I am tound to say that I have never in all my experience met with any evidence of jealousy on the part of the working classes in reference to the employment (!) of the wealthy. All the elaborate pictures of envy, hatred, and uncharitableness are practically the outcome of the imagination. In their special way the working people get as much pleasure out of life as the wealthier classes.”

Of course they do ! The pleasure is all theirs, John. And believe me, they haven’t a bit of thought for the rich. Look what ingratitude they show when the rich come along and offer to share their profits with them, or take them into partnership. It really isn’t good enough John, and I’m glad you’ve had the courage to speak your mind. Look at the fun they’ve been having just lately—going on strike, fighting inoffensive bobbies, upsetting the equilibrium of trade, in fact, playing the very devil generally. Of course, it’s all a part of their pleasure “in their special way.” When they are not having fun of this description I suppose they are busy with motor-cars, their yachting trips and their racing stables, which they quite overlook the cares and responsibilities that the unfortunate rich are compelled to undergo. You see, John, the question of what to do with their income is such a serious one, they haven’t time to spare a thought for anyone but themselves. Selfishness, of course. But the time is coming, John, when the rich will be relieved of their “employment” and its consequent anxieties and responsibilities, and given a rest. In fact, I believe the need for them will be abolished altogether. So you can console yourself, John, with the thought that their woes will soon be over. I can assure you they’ll get all that’s coming to them.

* * *

An amusing feature of the recent bye-election in the Holmfirth Division was the similarity of the election addresses of the Liberal and the Labour candidates—both standing for practically the same thing. Amusement gives way to disgust, however, when we reflect that the Labour candidate was ostensibly there in the interest of the working class. But experience of this type of political representation only shows that it is the Liberals that they really represent and whose interests they serve.

Some of the items included in the programs were Home Rule, Free Trade, Welsh Disestablishment, no taxes on foodstuffs, Adult Suffrage and Nationalisation of Mines—none of which can affect the worker’s position, except, perhaps, to make it worse.

Unfortunately it is still possible to capture a large portion of the working-class vote by the dissemination of this labour-faking rubbish. Spread the light !

* * *

Owing to the monopoly by about two companies of the petrol supply of this country the price of petrol has risen 50 per cent. in twelve months, with the result that the small dealers and consumers are in a state of “unrest.” Various schemes have been suggested in order to prevent the big robbers from taking too much plunder. The “Autocar” suggests the question of petrol production “is now a matter of national importance and should therefore be undertaken by the nation.” The “Daily Mail” (11.6.12) says : “Even if it meant going into production, refining, transport, and distribution is not the great body of motorists rich enough to do this for its own profit ?”

The chameleon like “Daily Herald” refers to it editorially as “the latest trend towards Socialism,” but to me it seems only to show that when the interests of one section of the buccaneering class are threatened by another, they are prepared to adopt co-operation, nationalisation, or any other proposition providing only that it pays.

* * *

In the biography of the late King Edward by Sir Sidney See, just issued, there occurs the following passage:

“King Edward cannot be credited with the greatness that comes of Statesmanship and makes for the moulding of history. Neither the Constitutional checks on his power nor his discursive tastes and training left him much opportunity for influencing political affairs. No originating faculty can be assigned to him. For the most part he stood with Constitutional correctness aloof from the political arena at home. On questions involving large principles he held no very definite views. He preferred things to remain as they were. … A man of the world he lacked the intellectual equipment of a thinker, and showed on occasion an unwillingness to exert his mental powers.”

Yet this is the person whom Blatchford—on the occasion of his eulogy of King Eward VII. (“Clarion” 20.5.10)—had in mind when he said the nation needed a man !

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At the recent conference of the Church Socialist League at Bristol a delegate defined Socialism as “the economics of God” ! Shade of Marx ! I always did think their policy was of the “Ignis fatuus” order !

Father Bernard Vaughan laments that under Socialism “there wouldn’t be enough money to go round.” The inference, of course, being that under the present beautiful system there is enough to go round. Well, I daresay there is, but it doesn’t go round. It doesn’t get the chance. The robbers are there first. Hence the priests and other parasites.

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F. E. Smith, K.G., in the June number of the “Oxford and Cambridge Review,” bluntly admits that he has never believed that Tariff Reform would remedy present day evils. Neither have we.


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