Lyddite For The Fray

How the Masters Lovingly Treat the Police in Times of Strike.
“One of the elective auditors of the City of Leeds, who has been dealing with the expenditure of £30,000 on police and volunteer workers during the great municipal strike of last winter, has made public some details of the accounts. The maintenance of some 600 special police alone cost £22,000 including payments of £10,000 to various watch committees. Forty casks of beer, each containing 36 gallons, went into the New Wortley Gas Works alone and other orders given by the Gas Department were for 25,700 bottles of mineral waters. The total number of pints of beer ordered for the police was 4,954. A vast quantity of tobacco was consumed, the orders being for 141 lbs of tobacco, 134½lbs of twist and Rotunda mixture; 151 lbs twist, Union Jack and Redbreast, 166 lbs of tobacco, 190 lbs Bond of Union. The cigarettes consumed ran into hundreds of thousands and over 1,100 cigars were supplied. A large number of luncheons were charged at 2s. each, and all sandwiches were paid for at 4d. each. Among the food orders are 13,475 lbs of roast beef at 1s. per lb. The games and recreations provided for the men behind barricades and police guards included footballs, darts, draughts and draught boards,, cards, dominoes, and a gramophone. One account for towels, blankets, mattresses and other items is £444 14s. 6d., while 493 overalls and bed jackets cost £130. New suits of clothes were claimed by 141 men at a cost of £200.”

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Voluntary (!) Enlistment.

“It would be an admirable thing if all unmarried men between 18 and 30 without the manhood to offer themselves, were forcibly pressed into the Army and put into battalions where the kicks should be far more than the ha’pence.” – “Daily Express,” Aug. 20th, 1914.

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The Men are Called to Fight for their Country.
“How precarious is the life of the London docker may be illustrated by the figures of the weekly earnings of a casual docker, which I take from that invaluable study, ‘West Ham,’ by E. Howarth and Mona Wilson. 9s. 11d , 18s. 8d., 5s. 10d, 33s. 9d., 30s 4d., nil, nil, nil, 5s. 9d., 28s., nil (the net weekly average being 12s. 0¼ d ) On an average day at the London docks, you will find a SURPLUS of at least 10,000 labourers. The scenes which are taking place every day of the week are only the symbol of the miseries that afflict these wretched victims of the industrial machine, of the degradation of character and of the waste of human life.”— “Daily News,” May 23rd, 1914

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The Three Different Faces of Ben Tillet. Labour “Leader” and Friend of the Poor.
1st Face.—Writing in “Justice,” June 15th, 1912, while the Transport Workers were on strike:
“The governing classes . . . have the habit of thinking of the worker as a slave and are prepared to kill him with bludgeon and soldiery if he dares to struggle with his chains . . . 300,000 children are wanting food and protection; 100,000 women are wanting support; 100,000 men are fighting for dear life and principle. Our fight is against the capitalists, who not only want to destroy our liberties, making slaves of us, but they would destroy our home and home life as they have done and are doing to the vicious beat of their malignant hate.”

2nd Face — Writing in “Daily Herald,” Sept. 5th, 1914:
“Every able-bodied man must either fight or be ready to defend his country . . . The objection taken by very many intelligent workers is that . . . there are at least 5 to 10 millions of working-class folk in slum and starvation who could not be worse off by a German invasion or the Government of the most brutal savages  . . . These contentions are true, but nevertheless there is need now to protect the United Kingdom against invasion.”

3rd Face — Writing in “John Bull,” October 10th, 1914:
“We must fight because the British worker has more of constitutional and democratic freedom together with social opportunity to guard than the enemies enjoy.”

Comment would spoil the beauty of these three extracts.

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The Cause of the Workers’ Diseases.
“Professor Metchnikoff, the prophet of the microbe or germ theory on whom the mantle of Pasteur has fallen, recently lectured at the Royal Society of Medicine on ’Warfare on Tubercle,’ in which he said that no remedy for tubercle had been discovered. Doctors know however, that the TRUE cause of tubercle is living in slums, unhygienic surroundings, sweated wages and the accompanying starvation.”—Dr. Boyd Known, M.R.C.S., LR.C.F., in “Daily Herald,” January 28th, 1913.

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The Cowardly Rich.
“Paris is bearing up. Most of the shops and very many of the houses are closed and shattered. The rich man has packed up his traps and with his menservants and maidservants, his oxen and his asses, the wife of his bosom and the children that are his, has slipped away, either southward, whither the Government has sped, or to the more peaceful watering places in the South Coast of England.”—“Daily News,” Sept. 9th, 1914.

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Breaking of Treaties.
“Russia has broken treaties in the past, so has England . . . There is not an important treaty of modem Europe but has been partially denounced, revoked or altered in times of peace. The treaty of Utrecht 1713, of Vienna 1814, of Paris 1850, of Prague 1866, of Berlin 1878, have in part or in whole been denounced. The Black Sea clause of the Treaty of Paris and the Batoum clause of the Treaty of Berlin were openly and frankly denounced and repudiated by Russia in her own sole interest. Let us all admit that Europe accepted the Russian denunciation.”—Arnold White in the “Sunday Chronicle,” Oct. 14th, 1914.

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“In the course of his letter of resignation, General Beyers made a bitter attack upon the British Government. It is said, he wrote, that war is being waged against the barbarity of the German. I have forgiven but not forgotten all the barbarities in this our own country during the South African war. With very few exceptions, all farms, not to mention many towns, were so many Louvains of which we now hear so much.—“Daily News,” Sept. 22nd, 1914.

“Here is an idea for Lord Kitchener. Why not arrange to have all German prisoners whom we capture during the war sent over to England via the North Sea, in barges propelled from behind by tugs over the mine strewn area.”— “John Bull,” Sept. 5th, 1914.

“The British left wing have again covered themselves with glory . . . The forests of Chantilly should rank with the plains of Waterloo. The sterling work done in the shadow of these ancient trees will go down to history. Despite sentimental French advices they FIRED a part of the wood and slew the Germans concealed therein like rats as they scuttled forth.”— “Pall Mall Gazette,” Sept. 10th, 1914.

“The Zouaves and Chasseurs d’Afrique arrived in hundreds of taxi-cabs . . . You will hear with less revolt of the horror I passed earlier in the day, some 240 Prussians dead in one farm together, black and unburied. They were killed by shell fumes possibly, but had been bayoneted for double security.” “Weekly Despatch,” Sept. 20th, 1914.

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Liberality of the Liberals.
“Let us bear in mind what this war will do for tens of thousands of young women is to rob them of their husbands, to create a loss which in many cases can never be filled, to alter utterly the meaning and the value of life for many of the bereaved. This is something we cannot pay for and no possible pension that we can devise can touch this main point. . . . Is 7s. 6d. what a great and rich nation should offer to . . . its women who will bear the real burden of the war? It seems to me that to ask this question is to answer it. I have not yet found a single person who attempts to justify the 7s. 6d.”— “Daily News,” Nov. 11th, 1914. (Article by C. Money.)

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The Alliance of Labour and Liberalism.
  “On what outstanding feature of domestic policy during that time (i.e., the last 8 years) has the feeling of the Labour Party been with the Opposition and against the Government? Was it so in the Trades Disputes Bill, Old Age Pensions, the Coal Strike, the Insurance Act, the Labour Exchanges, the Budget of 1909 or the Parliament Act? Is it so in the case of the Home Rule Bill, Plural Voting or Welsh Disestablishment? The fact of course is, that on every fundamental question of home politics, the Government has had no more constant supporters than the Labour Party.—“Daily News,” Jan 28th, 1914.


   “They must recognise that the Labour Party was not a Socialist party. Many of its members had been driven into its ranks and still continued to maintain the closest possible connection with the Liberal organisations in their constituencies . . . The policy of the Labour Party has been deliberately to keep the Liberal Party in office.”—“Labour Leader,” April 16th, 1914 (reporting speech of Philip Snowden).
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THE Casualties of Peace and the Casualties of War. 


  “Peace hath her casualties no lees saddening than war. There were for example, no fewer than 476,920 cases of disablement, and 3,748 men killed in seven of the principal industries of Great Britain during the year 1913.


  “These figures are contained in the official statistics issued on Saturday of the working of the Workmen’s Compensation and Employers’ Liability Acts for last year. They may be compared with the British casualties during three months of the present war of approximately 60,000.


   “The industries to which these figures apply were those connected with mines, quarries, railways, factories, harbours, docks, constructional works and shipping, and the army of workers in them number 7,509,353.”—“Daily Citizen,” Nov. 16th, 1914.


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The War and the Financiers. 


   “This morning the public has before it the biggest and best loan ever offered for subscription. The British people are invited to find the money to the amount of £350,000,000. The finding of the money requires no sacrifice whatever . . . The return offered to the subscriber is exceedingly handsome . . . the yield being as high as 4 per cent. . . . offered on the best security in the world. . . . The war has brought the investor good. . . . From both the patriotic and the financial point of view it is a magnificent in vestment. — “ Daily Mail,” Nov. 18th, 1914.


Frank Vickers