By the Way

We have grown accustomed to hearing our masters and their henchmen lay claim to their fitness to run and rule the universe. But the most casual consideration of the subject shows how entirely unwarrantable the assumption is. Turn where we will we find nought but chaos and anarchy prevalent. Only a few months ago Lord Hugh Cecil, speaking on foreign policy, said that “Labour is quite unfit mentally and by training to deal with the questions that will come up for discussion.” The whole purport of the noble lord’s speech being that the workers’ sole function was to produce wealth for the employing class and to fight when necessary in defence of master’s interests. Our intelligent (!) rulers, who by training and so forth one might expect to accomplish great things, blunder on from muddle to even greater muddle. Take the following, which is not an isolated case :

“Sir Leo Chiozza Money states in the Parliamentary Papers that a ship carrying about 1,300 quarters of home-grown wheat from Sutton Bridge, King’s Lynn, and Wisbech to Newcastle was sunk by the enemy some few days ago. “Foodstuffs,” he added, “are carried coastwise only when there is an absence of transport facilities, and the Shipping Controller is constantly in touch with the Railway Executive on the subject.”—Daily News,” Feb. 7th, 1918.

Here we have a glorious illustration of our masters’ “directive ability.” The all-for-the-Army policy brings into being “an absence of transport facilities” and foodstuffs are sent from one part of the country to another coastwise, with the result that the cargo is lost.

Evidently some of the government departments have not yet heard of the “Economy Campaign.”

* * *

We remember hearing something about a War Aims Committee, which we gathered was formed for the purpose of enlightening us on the noble aims and aspirations of the Allies. Up to the moment of writing one must confess that, in spite of the intense yearning one has for this information, very little has been vouchsafed. Of late we have heard a great deal about democracy and that democratic institution known as the House of Commons, where the democratically elected representatives of a free and enlightened democracy carry out the people’s will. Now in such a place one would have thought that it would be easy to obtain information regarding the Allies’ war aitns, as we so often hear that this is a “war for democracy.” One member of this august body, therefore, endeavoured to elicit some information on this theme. Let me quote the “Daily Telegraph,” Jan. 31st—

“Mr. King (Somerset N.) asked the Foreign Secretary whether the territorial acquisitions assigned to Italy by the Quartepartite Treaty made in London on April 26th, 1915, were regarded as war aims of Allies without the attainment of which the war must be indefinitely continued.
Mr. Balfour : I do not propose to discuss in public the terms of the secret treaty to which he refers. (Cheers.)
Mr. King: Will the right hon. gentleman say whether there is such a secret treaty or not ?
M. Balfour: I do not know that need even go that length.”

From which it will be readily seen how this democratic government which came into power in December, 1910, to bring the war for democracy to a successful conclusion (and incidentally to tell the people “the whole truth”), enlightens the people of these isles regarding its war aims.

* * *

While women of the working class wait hours on end in food queues members of the master class have been quietly filling the larder. The issuing of what is termed the Food Hoarding Amnesty Order tends to show to what an alarming extent the practice of the “civic virtue” of putting a little bit away for a rainy day has grown. The week of grace (an official example of compounding a felony, by the way) allowed these “patriots” to disgorge their hoards by quietly communicating with the local food committees, where no names need be mentioned and no questions were asked, is an interesting study of how good the devil is to his own.

* * *

The various agencies of the ruling class in this land of liberty never tire of telling us vhat an unclean thing is “Prussian militarism.” In the pages of this journal we have from time to time referred to its counterpart here and its sinister effects. Mention has already been made of a grateful country’s reward to its incapacitated heroes. Further light on this subject is to hand which illustrates the despicable parsimony of the possessing class. The following letter was addressed to the daily papers :

“Sir,—Some time ago I exposed an odious practice on the part of medical boards—that of asking the gallant men, when coming up for re-exammation, what wages they were earning. We got this abolished after a stiff fight. Now they have adopted another dodge just as bad. They ask the men what work they are doing, and so can make a pretty good guess as to the wages, when down comes the pension !
Not a day goes by without complaints reaching me. This must be stopped. It is the business of these boards to assess the men’s disability, not to find out what wages they are earning, The men should be encouraged to work and so add to their pension.
I hope some members of Parliament will insist on an enquiry into the methods of these medical boards, as they did with regard to the recruiting boards. It is high time. I can put forward some startling evidence if they do.
FREDERICK MILNER. 11 Hereford-gardens, W. 1.”

The old old story of hav’em and do’em.

* * *

Quite recently the penny sensations came out with scare headlines proclaiming that Lenin and Trotszky, the Bolshevik leaders, were in receipt of German pay. Shortly after came an official denial from M. Litvinoff, the plenipotentiary of the Bolshevik Government, “denouncing the documents as forgeries, the work of some agent of the ex-Tsar’s secret police, or of some agent of the German Government, which is anxious to get rid of the Bolshevik regime, lest it should prove infectious and kindle the fire of a revolution in Germany.” Thus are we enlightened concerning the activities of those in other climes.

* * *

Lord Rhondda and Mr. J. R. Clynes have seen fit to send a message to the men at the front on the subject of queues. Doubtless the news is breaking through that while the men must fight the women (and the kiddies) must wait. Lord Rhondda delivered himself of the following :

“You can be in good heart about the folks at home. The health statistics were never better in our history. . . . Rationing schemes, which mean share and share alike for everybody, in every class, are about to be put into operation throughout Great Britain, and I hope that under the new arrangements queues will now disappear. His Majesty the King will be on rations as well as the humblest of his subjects.”

Mr. Clynes winds up his lengthy message thus

“But this shortage applies only to some articles of food, and with improved distributioning and rationing, for which the Government is responsible, very little suffering will any longer exist.
Fairness of distribution is guaranteed, and our soldiers at the front should not be misled by false reports of starvation of the dear ones at home. If famine is to finish this war it is the enemy and not Britain that will first go down.”— “Daily News,” Feb. 33rd, 1918.

We will adopt the Asquithian philosophy and “wait and see. “

* * *

In the debate in the House on Wednesday, Feb. 20th, on the Army Estimates, a speaker drew attention to a matter which is closely related to the paragraph above. It is indeed interesting. Here it is :

“Mr. McCallum Scott drew attention to the inadequacy of the scale of separation allowances, having regard to the prevailing conditions and the heavy cost of food. Seventy per cent. of the children certified as necessitous by the Glasgow School Board were the children of soldiers or sailors.”

Now you can pay your money and take your choice. Peradventure friend Clynes, a noble soul, was not in the House when Mr. McCallum Scott was speaking.

* * *

Various deputations have from time to time been selected from among the trade union, officials to visit the workers of other lands and, in the interest of the Government, convey the impression that they represent the opinions of labour in England. The “labour” mission to Russia was a glaring example of this duplicity. Now there is a similar excursion of “labour” leaders visiting America. A London daily paper, in an editorial, speaks of this “delegation” in the following terms :

“At the present time there is a party of British trade unionists in America. They were selected by the War Cabinet, not by the Labour movement in this country, and they are in point of fact utterly unrepresentative of the solid mass of British labour. On so vital a question as the holding of an International Labour Conference Mr. Appleton’s attitude for example is diametrically opposed to the decision of the four million members represented by the Trade Union Congress. It is well that that should be recognised in America, for we cannot allow differences of purpose to be assumed where, in fact, they don’t exist.”—”Daily News,” Feb. l6th, 1918.

So much, then, for the “leaders” of the democracy. That they are being recognised as labour frauds by the nonconformist conscience organ is in itself a recognition of the truth of the Socialist case against these wolves in sheep’s clothing.

* * *

The following extract is indeed rich. It concerns a gentleman who is alleged to have the welfare of the forces at heart, but in whose case patriotism seems to be a profitable thing.

“Mr. BOTTOMLEY’S CHARITY. Mr. Alfred Manners has sent to the Swindon local paper a balance-sheet of the accounts paid in connection with a lecture in aid of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Christmas Parcel Fund addressed by Mr. Horatio Bottomley. The most interesting items are as follows :

£ s. d.
Total receipts 163 2 9
Entertainment tax 38 9 5
Paid to Mr. Bottomley 87 12 0
Balance for Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Fund 37 10 9

The rather nice problem is raised whether the soldiers and sailors ought to be more grateful to Mr. Bottornley or Mr. Bottomley to the soldiers and sailors.”—”Daily News,” 32.2.1918.

* * *

We have often heard the question asked at our propaganda meetings, “Who will do the dirty work under Socialism ?” Concerning capitalist society we can vouchsafe the answer, confirmed by overwhelming evidence, that the labour hacks of the Government do the dirty here and now. A recent illustration from the halfpenny edition of anti-Socialism I append :

“Mr. Ben Tillett, speaking at Weston-Super-Mare yesterday, said that had Russia held the war would have been over three months ago.
“The idiots ran revolution against revolution,” he said, “and are thus responsible for the most damnable disgrace settled on humanity.”—”Daily Express,” Feb. 25th, 1918.

What a colossal humbug, to use the mildest term that fits the case, this man is ! Who has not read of Bloody Nick’s treachery to “his Allies” which has recently seen the light of day, and which would have resulted in a peace for Russia long months ago had no upheaval taken place there.


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