Press patriotism

The “Manchester Guardian,” alluding in 1911 to the “settlement” of the railway strike, said:

“The danger is, perhaps, that they [i.e., the workers] should expect too much, and that the excitement of partial success should defeat it.
“This is of all countries the land of the most acute contrasts between wealth and poverty, not because poverty is absolutely greater here than on the Continent, but because wealth is greater while certain forms of poverty are more massed and more hopeless. Apart from humane feeling, might it not be, IF WE UNDERSTOOD PATRIOTISM ARIGHT, a legitimate concern of our national pride to wipe out this reproach upon the name of England ?” (Emphatics mine.)

The powerful newspaper from which the above was extracted, in its issues of March 23 and 29, 1915, hinted—nay, more than hinted, suggested—that the Government should act as strike breaker in the following words :

“If the dockers at Liverpool or elsewhere will not do their work the community ought to bring substitutes from some other quarter or themselves do it by voluntary organisation. . . . The community would, of course, afford complete protection to those who undertook the task.” (29.3.15.).

Perhaps the “Guardian” writers do not “understand patriotism aright,” since they adopt to-day the attitude of “my country right or wrong must be seen through its wars and other amusements, even at the cost of Great Britain continuing to be the place where ‘poverty is more massed and more hopeless’ than on the Continent.”

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