By the Way

Much has been written and said with regard to the question of British Prisoners of War and their treatment in Germany, but of late various items of news come to hand which tend to show that the “Ger-Hun” can be out-Hunned by the Brit-Hun. Witness the following:

“The Newhaven Guardians have declined to admit for treatment to the workhouse conscientious objectors working on the Newhaven to Seaford road improvement scheme who fall sick.”—”Star,” Sept. 23rd, 1916.

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And, again, there is the report in the Press of a conscientious objector who met his death at Dyce, near Aberdeen, under the administration of the Military Service Act. Whilst the Local and the Appeal Tribunals disallowed his claim for exemption, after nearly concluding his sentence pronounced by court-martial, he was re-examined by the Central Tribunal and offered work of national importance—a reversal of the two previous decisions. He was eventually sent to Scotland and there contracted a chill, the result of leaky tents and damp soil, with no provision for drying wet clothes, from which he died.

Dr. Clifford describes this as:

“The latest of a long series of incidents demonstrating the injustice of the new conscription policy, and the fearful tyranny of our growing militarism.”

Further he adds :

“The fact is, we have been grossly deceived. Faith has not been kept with the people. With or without intending it, the Coalition Government has betrayed us. Parliament distinctly arranged that conscientious objectors should be safeguarded.”—”Daily Chronicle,” Sept. 9th, 1916.

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A later announcement on this case states that a Deputation from the Home Office visited the camp and a “representative of the men stated afterwards that the Committee decided that the tents should be abolished and arrangements made with local farmers to accommodate the men in lofts. A building is to be erected to deal with cases of sickness.”—”Daily Sketch,” Sept. 20th, 1916.

When cases of neglect or ill-treatment of prisoners of war occur in Germany large headlines and long articles are necessary to point out the enormity of the offence, reference being made to the Hague and Geneva Conventions, etc., but when it is the Hun in our midst a short paragraph suffices. Such is our prostitute Press.

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I well recollect how important, in the days of my youth, it was considered to be that my religious instruction should in no wise be neglected. And so it came to pass that at this period of our existence we used to read that “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof;” the meek “shall inherit the earth”; and many other such texts. But in due season one came to the conclusion that in the first quotation the printer had omitted the prefix “Land.” Verily, verily, I say unto you, hearken unto me and read you that which is good. For the last two years and two months we have had dinned into our ears a lot of talk about “our” country, but even during that period we have read of desirable plots of freehold land being bought and sold. An interesting case of how “our” country is disposed of from time to time may be gathered from the following:m :

“Mr. Harry Lauder has bought an estate of 14,000 acres, it was stated yesterday in Glasgow, on the east side of Loch Fyne, at Glenbranter, a place formerly linked with the name of the late Mr. David MacBrayne, Steamshipowner, Glasgow.”—”Reynolds’s,” Oct. 15th, 1916.

There’s war economy for you ! Save your money and lend it to your country, screech our masters and their hirelings to the workers, whose portion of the country is contained in a flower pot.

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On another page of the same paper I notice that the question of war time economy was to be practised on the old people, whom our spiritual guides would describe as the Lord’s poor. It reads :

“The Walsall Guardians by a majority of one vote decided to substitute suet pudding and treacle for the Christmas plum puddings in the workhouse. Alderman Bull said the workhouse master expected to save £15 to £20. Mr. Carter, another member, said the action was contemptibly mean.”

It would indeed be interesting to learn whether these paragons of economy contemplate sitting down at the Christmas season to similar fare. Precept and practice are so vastly different, you

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With a desire to try and get a further lease of life and to regain their hold over the masses the Church has inaugurated a National Mission of Repentance and Hope. Sky pilots from far and near are busily engaged telling us how the war is uniting high and low, rich and poor, in short, how it is attempting to bridge the chasm between classes. And that after the war capital and labour must cease fighting each other and work for each other’s good. The Bishop of London himself says: “If it is shown to us by the Spirit of God that we must alter the whole system I can promise we are ready to do it. If there is anything in our position, houses, incomes, in our motors, in anything we have then that thing has got to be scrapped.” Our well-paid bachelor Bishop might as a preliminary make a start by following his Lord and Master a little more closely. For I read that the “Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.” This 20th century disciple, however, is more fortunately placed than He who said : “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” But stay, the Bishop says “if it is shown to us ‘by the Spirit of God’ that we must alter the whole system . . . we are ready to do it.” Seeing the vast epoch that has elapsed since the statement with regard to taking up the cross was made, methinks it will be “some” time yet ere these gentlemen who have waxed fat on the cross will be able to discover “by the Spirit of God” whether they are to abandon pelf, place and power.

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This Right Rev. Father in God, speaking at Victoria Park, made reference to a desire for a better state of morals in London, and said “we mean to have a … cleaner London for the boys when they come home from the trenches and the North Sea.” The pearl of greatest price is found in the following:

“It is the working-class daughter that I am trying to save by my campaign in West London. Why should they be at the mercy of the lusts of mankind ? The fault is largely in the home teaching.”

It would be more correct to say that they were at the mercy of the wealthy class in society. Has this shining light and supporter of capitalism never heard, or has he forgotten, the Queenie Gerald case with its sordid story of obtaining girls for wealthy patrons ? We have no recollection of the Bishop at that time speaking outside St. James’, Piccadilly, pointing the moral and adorning the tale of the cadet who wrote asking for a virgin and offering a respectable sum for the privilege. Yet, forsooth, he wants to save the working-class daughters. It will be within the recollection of many that when the defendant in this case was conveyed to the police station a large sum of money was found in her possession, also valuable jewellery, which went to show the nature of her patrons. The Bishop would be better employed in prosecuting his “purity” campaign in fashionable churches rather than in a public park in the East End ; and working-class parents might profitably consider the cause of, and remedy for prostitution.

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I might in passing just note for the benefit of my clerical friends and others, who so often refer to the waywardness of mankind across the seas, that in a recent issue of a weekly capitalist paper there was an announcement to the following effect: “Nearly 500 cases, mostly divorce, will occupy the attention of the Judges, in the Probate and Divorce Division during the Michaelmas Sittings . . . Of this number 376 are undefended matrimonial suits.” Who said Socialism would break up the home life?

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Reverting to the subject-matter of an article in last month’s issue of THE SOCIALIST STANDARD. The nonsensical statement attributed to Jaures, that,

“Without nations there could be no international”

One is not surprised to see that statement repeated by Dan Irving in the Burnley “Pioneer.” One fool makes many, and the time-servers of the master class who pose as Socialists, must indeed be conscious of their own fraudulent position, when reduced to such puerile phrases, in order to justify their support of capitalist anarchy.

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How feeble is the labour leaders’ conception, of Internationalism, is seen in their denunciations of the Social Democrats of Germany. Every capitalist rag in England—and no doubt in all the allied countrie—has boasted the fact that even the Socialists recognised the justice of their cause and were forsaking the class war, or suspending it, while national interests were at. stake. The German Socialists excused their lapse from Internationalism—if they ever understood it—with the fear of a Russian invasion. Their prototypes in the allied countries took up their masters’ cry of German militarism and from the first called upon the workers to take-up arms and crush it. Whatever land the fakirs hail from, there is no difference or distinction between them ; they are all tools of the ruling caste and have no cause to sling mud at each other, as the allied Socialists do at their German comrades in fraud. One in particular saying

“the German Socialists must wash the blood off their hands with tears of remorse, and even then they would have to take a back seat in international movements.”


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