En Passant

For members of the working class there is no­thing in the New Year. They still have the monotonous round of work and sleep, sometimes altered so as to give them a glimpse of LIFE, to sleep and work.

For some members of the master class there are great expectations—of peerages and the like. Every year politicians who have given munificent sums to the party coffers, are re-warded with an increased “social status.” Their names and photos appear in newspapers, al­though some organs, having regard to maintain­ing a reputation for being serious journals, do not publish the photos.

These rewards are ironically called honours.

This year is no exception to the rule. The party who so valiantly adopted the attitude of destroyer of the arrogant House of Lords, have made a few more peers. Some evilly-disposed persons might regard the Liberal party as hypo­critical, but to those behind the scenes this “creation” of peers is known as “boring from within,” or “Fabianesque Flapdoodle.” Peers were formerly of the aristocracy ; they are now recruited from the plutocracy and belong to an organised hypocrisy.

There are some simple-minded persons who doubt our connecting these honours with dona­tions to party funds. The following extract from the official Parliamentary reports (Vol 54, No. 61,19 June, 1913) will perhaps imbue them with the courage begotten of knowledge. The speaker is Sir A. Markham, who is a wealthy Liberal and has a title. This may be only a co­incidence, but to say so is to admit that it may not. He said :

“These [party] funds in the main are derived by the sale of honours ; they have largely been contributed to by both parties for this particular purpose by the sale of honours. . . . Both political parties are in the same position.”

So it remains that these belauded honours resemble sausages in that they are bought and paid for. That is the secret of the titles of some of the plutocratic parvenus of the “People’s Party.”

One can imagine a wealthy Liberal (or Tory) dressed as a chivalrous warrior of the Middle Ages addressing the Liberal Party (in the guise of a loving maiden) or the Tory party (gowned as a mediasval Primrose Dame) thus :

“I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not honour(s) more.”

* * *

Land and landlords are “in the air.” By this I do not mean that some fire-breathing Anarchist has been acting upon his “propa­ganda by deed” principle, but merely that the subject, of land and landlords is under discus­sion. Mr. Lloyd George is still acting the part of the sanctimonious saviour who is to rescue the agricultural labourer (and the pheasant) from the pains and penalties of penury.

Some other members of the Liberal party are not so sanguine as our Celtic catchpenny lawyer—witness Mr. W. Young, Liberal M.P. for East Perthshire, who, according to the “Dundee Advertiser” (Liberal) of Nov. 25th, 1913), gave utterance to the following :

“Some of them [the Scottish Liberal M.P.s] were, no doubt, very good Radicals when they visited their constituencies in Scotland, but they sometimes assumed a different attitude when it came to a question in the House of Commons of curtailing the power of the landowner or of interfering with the privileges of vested interests or the landowning monopoly. By that he meant to say that at least half the Scottish members, when it came to the land question—which in his opinion was the true and only test of a real Radical—were not Radicals at all, and were, therefore, though they might not think so, very good allies of the land-owning and monopolist class.”

The followers of Lloyd George as supporters of those “harassing dukes” is a denouement worthy of the finest dramatist.

Again, listen to the testimony of another brother in the—Commons. Baron de Forest, vide “Daily Chronicle” of 30.12.13, sent the following priceless jewel as a Christmas box to his constituents :

“They [the Government’s land proposals] do not in any way break the power of land mono­poly nor do they even attempt to secure for the people, either now or in the future, the enjoy­ment and possession of those land values which they create by their own genius and activities. Landowners and their lawyers will con­tinue to extort from the land users, under one guise or another, the full competitive monopoly value of their land.”

Truth from a Liberal is as rare and as precious as an oasis in a desert. Hence I place the above on record for reference until the Liberal party does something for the workers—that is to say, for ever.

“Deception is always a pretty contemptible vice, but to deceive the poor is the meanest of all.” The Liberal scheme will not abolish the landlords’ monopoly : it will merely regulate it in the interest of our exploiters. Mr. Lloyd George’s words speak louder than his good actions, even though he only whispers. The plan as he outlines it does not mean “temper­ing the wind to the shorn lamb,” or palaces for paupers. The ferocious pheasants can sleep in peace.

* * *

There has been trouble at Kikuyu. In fact, so important has that place become that our leading comic journal, “John Bull,” has asked : “What do you think of Kikuyu ?” It was at this place that certain missionaries took com­munion with members of the Church of Eng­land. They were “brothers in the Lord,” but “accidents will happen in the best regulated families.” The incident makes one wonder whether a Nonconformist vegetarian objects to being saved by the Lamb of God.

Mention of Christ brings a memory of the Church—not that there is any real connection, but merely a mental association. It has often been stated that Christianity and Commercialism are Siamese twins. This extract from the “Daily Chronicle” of 29.12.13 is illuminating. In a news item headed “America’s bid for China’s Trade” it says :

“America’s representatives are forcefully backed up by forceful American Pressmen. The American missionary also plays his part well. He probably works political economy into his evangelistic propaganda more than any mission­ary of any other nationality. Then there is the vast organisation of the Y.M.C.A. in China, worked almost exclusively by Americans, who are absolutely indefatigable in their work in all parts of the country, and have done more during the last five years to Americanise China than any other force operating here.”

In the old book of fables it is written : “No man can serve two masters.” The evangelists serve one—their profit seeking master. Christ is alleged to have ejected the money-changers from the Temple ; his missionaries are now money-lenders’ mannikins.


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