By the Way
In a recent issue of the “Daily Dispatch” a writer deals at some length with the M.P.’s who had the temerity to vote against the National Registration Bill. He says :
“It was a motley group which challenged a division on the Registration Bill last night, and its composition furnishes an interesting indication of the character of the opposition which the National Government will have to meet. . . . There were gathered together ‘all who were discontented,’ and it was a quaint collection of disappointed ex-ministers, radical purists, cranks and anti-British Socialists.”
The writer goes on to describe this “motley group” as “Strange Bed-fellows,” and makes the mistake of calling these labour fakers Socialists. Moreover, this gentleman overlooks another contributor to the same paper, Mr. H. M. Hyndman—the “Revolutionary Socialist”—holding the same views as avowedly capitalist writers to the ‘”Dispatch.” And what of the Liberal and Tory coalition with a mingling of Labourites !
Perhaps it would not be amiss in the circumstances to take a peep at the division list to which the “Dispatch” scribbler refers. We find that the ‘”Socialists” spoken of includes Messrs. W. C. Anderson, C. W. Bowerman, J. F. Jowett, J. R. Macdonald, P. Snowden, and J. H. Thomas. The remainder of that hotch potch known as the Labour Party voted for the Bill ! If the “Dispatch” derives any satisfaction from their reference to these “strange bedfellows,” it at least gives us the opportunity of repudiating the claim of these latter to the title they usurp whenever and wherever it suits their purpose to do so—the claim that they are Socialists. A careful study of the antics of those gentry in and out of the House of Commons will suffice to prove their worthlessness to the working class.
Lord Kitchener, in big speech at the Guildhall on July 9th, made a passing reference to the object of the National Register. He delivered himself as follows :
“When registration was completed they ‘would be able to note men between nineteen and forty not required for munitions and other necessary purposes, and therefore available, if physically fit, for the firing line. Steps would then be taken to approach them with a view to enlistment, unmarried men to be preferred.” “Reynold’s,” 11.7.15.
Mr. H. M. Hyndtnan, the “father of English Socialism,” recently contributed an article to the “Daily Dispatch” (7.7,15) on the subject of “National Registration and National Liberty,” in which he endeavoured to show how the first will safeguard the last. Throughout the article we find him mouthing the usual capitalist prattle, such as “many valuable ships of war have been sunk, and our mercantile marine is suffering from systematic piracy.” A little admonition is dealt out to “our rulers, who for months on end refused to recognise that we “were face to face with relentless enemies organised for the purpose of crushing our allies and ourselves.” He goes on to say that “such organisation, prepared and matured during at least forty years, can only be successfully encountered and overcome by equal organisation voluntarily accepted,” and “whatever may be urged against certain clauses of the War Munitions Act, no such criticism can be fairly levelled at a measure whose object is to put directly at the national disposal the whole of the power of the nation as represented by its entire population for work or for war.”
Doubtless the phrase “national disposal” should read the disposal of the master class, in whose interest the war is being waged, as the working class were not consulted in the signing of any treaties beforehand or the reasons for entering the war. Not a word do we find about “secret diplomacy” which led to war and used to be his pet hobby horse.
Mr. Hyndman further informs us that “nothing for which the masses of our people have ever striven is more important than that they and all of us should win in this tremendous war against the ruthless military caste—happily the last left on the planet (!)—that menaces the rights and freedom of mankind.” And again: “If the Kaiser succeeds in his great endeavour to dominate Europe what chance have we English, or any other nationality, of working out freely and peaceably our own economic and social salvation ?” So Socialism depends upon the whim of the Kaiser, eh ? It depends not on economic circumstance but on dynastic circumstance—according to this blind leader of the blind.
In conclusion he adds that it is “our duty to marshal our entire forces … to ensure safety for ourselves and security for our allies. If for the purpose of achieving this result we are all obliged to submit ourselves to national discipline . . . then the temporary sacrifice of personal liberty will be well rewarded in the end.” Mr. Hyndman at the same time points out that ‘this suppression of our individual liberty” should be “duly safeguarded against bureaucratic tyranny.” But who can guarantee this ?
Doubtless these outpourings will obtain for this “oldest Social-Democrat in Great Britain” the “well done, thou good and faithful servant !” of the masters. (Italics mine.)
A series of questions were recently asked in the House of Commons touching the matter of whether it was not possible to grant the troops in the new armies facilities for visiting their homes for the purpose of bidding good-bye to their families. It was said that:
“The fare from Salisbury to Lancashire and Yorkshire was a sum beyond the means of many of these men to spare out of their pay ; and whether the Government would undertake that all who obtained leave before going abroad should be enabled to visit their homes free of cost ?”
And it was further asked :
“Whether the War Office would bear in mind that many of these men gave up remunerative posts in order to join the Army, and that their being prevented from seeing their relatives before going abroad through not being able to pay the fare would be a great hardship ?”
The official reply was that the question was being considered.
The remunerative nature of the positions that have been given up may be judged from the fact that those who have given them up have no reserve funds to pay their own railway fare home ; and on the other hand, what is to be said of the measliness of the country they are going to protect, that refuses to let them travel over the “Statized”‘ (temporarily) railways free ? Such paltry niggardness before the “happy warriors” have saved their masters’ bacon augurs well for the open-handed generosity of a traditionall “grateful country” when the maimed and battered remnants of “glorious humanity” are brought home after the struggle.
The Suffragettes are doing their best to keep their movement before the public. These people, who only a short time ago were busily engaged window smashing, church burning, and picture ripping, are now hailed as law-abiding citizens, whose services are to be used in order to free men from productive processes so that the latter may be driven into the trenches. These ladies, as they took very great care that all the world should know, recently organised a procession to send a deputation to Mr, Lloyd George to “demand the right to serve.” We are told that in the procession “peeresses walked shoulder to shoulder with shop girls and factory lasses.” The ulterior object is seen in the wording of a telegram received later by Mrs. Pankhurst from Mr. Hall Gaine. It was given in the “Observer” (18.7.5) as folhws :
“After to-day’s thrilling patriotic procession the Women’s Cause will triumph as surely as the sun will rise and the sea will flow.”
In all our (masters’) newspapers we are told to economise. Government organisations like the Parliamentary War Savings Committee take up the tale with all manner of blandishments. And now along comes Canon (I believe) H. D. Rawnsley pointing out that there is plenty of accommodation in the Lake District for holiday makers. He writes :
“It has come to my knowledge that some who were intending to come to the Lake District for their holiday have been put off by hearing that, in consequence of the war, the holiday makers who would otherwise have gone to the Continent or to the East’Coast have thronged the district, and that accommodation is not to be had. I wish to give an emphatic contradiction to the rumour.”—(“Manchester Guardian,” 16.7.15.)
With Mr. Asquith, Mr. Lloyd George, and other great patriots urging Plunger Sniff the dustman and Sooty Sam the chimney sweep to economy, it is surely doing a disservice to the State on the part of Mr. Rawnsley to try to tempt them to find in the English Lake District a substitute for the lost charms of the Riviera and the pleasures of shove-ha’penny at Monte Carlo. For shame, sir ! You will not let our corduroy prodigals come to the rescue of their bleeding country through “retrenchment and reform” even when they want to.
At a time like the present, when we are hearing so much about our “liberty,” perhaps a few “rules” from a certain motor works would not come amiss. After having affixed his number and name on the front page the new wage-slave is informed that :
“Each employee must personally register in the time clock when he commences and ceases work.
“Employees ringing in late will be paid from the nearest half hour following the time rung in, and must begin work at once on entering the shop.
“The bell will ring in the morning, and after the luncheon hour two minutes before the time to commence work, so that all employees may have a chance to reach their respective places before the starting bell rings, when everyone must be in his place with his overalls on ready for work. Just entering the building on starting time will not be satisfactory.
“Receiving visitors, lunching, eating or reading is not permitted during working hours,
“Smoking or lighting cigars, pipes, etc., is absolutely prohibited.”
1 will not not extend the list any furtier, sufficient being quoted to discover the need for a microscope to reveal our much-vaunted liberty.