The Fraud of National Insurance

At the moment of writing there are several bye elections pending, and whilst both Liberal and Tory candidates are pushing their respective wares and screaming about the interest which they take in the welfare of our class, hundreds of our fellow workers are being maimed and murdered in mill, mine and factory in order to produce profits for an idle, parasitic class.

In that organ devoted to Radicalism and ragtime, “Reynolds’s Newspaper,” we are in­formed that “lives are cheap today,” and a whole column is taken up in describing the results of this hellish system. Might it be suggested to that journal that the text: “If the tree bringeth forth not good fruit, cut it down ; why cumbreth it the ground ?” is in the circumstances really worth considering ?

A week or two since (1.2.14.) in the same paper we were told that some remarkable figures as to the close relationship between tuberculosis and bad housing and poverty are given by the Medical Officer of Health for Birmingham :

“The weekly average of tuberculosis cases out of every 1,000 houses rented at less than 5s. a week was 7.4 cases. As the rent increases the proportion of cases rapidly diminishes. . . So long as low wages and bad housing con­tinue no amount of sanatoria will extirpate consumption.”

Here we have an organ devoted to the party in power suddenly awakening to the fact that this glorious Liberal Government, in tinkering with the results of the system, are mis-spending their energies. However, it is refreshing to note that occasionally they stumble across the truth. Working men engaged in those industries covered by unemployment insurance have re­cently discovered the sincerity of the promise made by Lloyd George, to wit :

“To provide adequate insurance to save the man who is out of work perforce and his wife and family from starvation till he gets employ­ment.” (“Better Times,” p. 246)

They now realise that because they refuse to sign the obnoxious document, the powers that be have decided that no out-of-work benefit is payable. “Deception is always a pretty con­temptible vice, but to deceive the poor is the meanest of all.” (Limehouse George, 30.7.09.) Others have discovered that their share of “rare and refreshing fruit” depends upon how the form sent from the Labour Exchange to their last employer is filled in.

Turning to the Health Insurance side of this gigantic fraud, many are the bitter disappointments received by those who have been broken on the wheel of capitalism. Too numerous to mention are the cases of those who discovered that their fruit is not yet ripe. However, let us notice a tragic instance reported only a few days ago of a clerk who died of consumption. To fully appreciate this it is necessary to bear in mind the words of that “priest of humanity,” Lloyd George, uttered in Whitefield’s Taber­nacle, Oct. 14, 1911 :

“A man goes to the doctor. He is examined. The doctor discovers at once that he is attacked by tuberculosis, and he says to him : ‘You must knock off work at once. You must go to a sanatorium.’ The Government are . . to build sanatoria throughout the country. They are raising a million a year out of the Insurance fund to keep up these first class hotels.”

This is one side of the picture. In practice we find that, in the case of the clerk, these visions of Mr. George do not materialize. We are informed that:

“As long ago as last November Mr. Lamb sought to obtain the sanatorium benefit pro­mised by Mr. George. All that the Insurance Committee for the County of London offered him between then and yesterday morning when he breathed his last, was six quarts of milk !” (“The People,” 15.2.14.)

This is the treatment meted out to the members of the working class—the producers of the world’s wealth—when they are sick. They are mocked by those who batten on their misery. In the case of this clerk, although the hospital authorities stated that “the sooner he entered a sanatorium the better,” all he was able to re­ceive under a benign Liberal government was—six quarts of milk !

In conclusion, I will take one more example from the Rt. Hon. Lloyd George :

“If at the end of an average term of office it were found that a Liberal Parliament had done nothing to cope seriously with the social condition of the people, to remove the national degradation of the slums and widespread po­verty and destitution in a land glittering with wealth . . . then would a great, cry arise in this land for a new party.” (“Better Times,” p. 36)

We claim most solemnly that the Liberal Party has failed—and must fail—to deal seri­ously with the “problems” which confront us to-day. Only by attacking and overthrowing the root cause of the trouble—capitalism—can the working class hope to gain their emancipa­tion, and then poverty, with all its attendant evils, will be banished by the establishment of a sane system of society, based on the common ownership of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth.

For a parasite class to talk to you, on whose labour all security is founded, of national insurance, in itself is insolence enough. Arise ! and take security into your own hands.


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