Starved by Old Age Pensions

We are frequently referred by opponents to the “good work” the Liberal party has done for the working class during its tenure of office, and when we inquire what the “good work” consists of we are specially directed to the “blessings” of the Old Age Pensions Act.

Whilst David Lloyd George told us, when booming this rate-saving device, that “by this act of justice we sweeten the bitterest thoughts of the poor and lighten the darkest hours of their existence,” and that “old age is now an anticipation of honourable ease,” the facts are very different.

“Reynolds’s” of May 4 this year, for instance, informed us that “the City Coroner held an in­quiry yesterday into the death of an old woman named Hannah Clay, who was found in an ema­ciated condition . . . and who subsequently succumbed in the workhouse infirmary.”

This, however, is only part of the shocking story which disgraces our civilisation. For we were further told that the Coroner had held an inquest only a few days previously on the bro­ther of the deceased. The report in question proceeded:—

“The couple had occupied one room and both lived under terrible conditions. A relative of the deceased said the couple were in receipt of Old Age Pensions, but he did not think the money was enough to support them. Dr. Kear­ney, City Police divisional surgeon, expressed the view that in some cases the Old Age Pen­sion did more harm than good by keeping people from going into the workhouse.”

Such is the result of Liberal “social reform.” After a life of toil, when there is no more profit to be squeezed out of the worker, his outlook is the workhouse, or, better still for Lloyd George and the class he represents, a portion of the “rare and refreshing fruit” which, if not supple­mented by the charity of some relative or friend, will result in a more or less lingering and tor­turous death.

Is it not time the workers awoke to the facts of their position ? Is it not time they understood that capitalism and its social “reforms” hold out not even the slightest hope for them ? So long as the toilers continue to be the slaves of another class deaths from starvation will be recorded.

T. S. W.

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