The notorious Welsh prophet is again at work. Those he represents are crying out for increased production. as their palms are itching for increased profit. Now that the smashing of heads and disembowelment of bodies has slackened down, each section of the master class is eager to obtain the cream of the markets.
On behalf of the British section of the international capitalist class, Lloyd George, the example par excellence of the political dodgery brigade, steps forward to try and persuade the workers that their interests are identical with the interests of the masters—that we must “all pull together” to oust foreign competitors (including ”our” late much-esteemed allies, America, France, and Japan !) and to usher in a wonderful new world.
In his touching anxiety to get his valuable (!) views before us Lloyd George has established a new paper called “The Future” which is being distributed free (he evidently fears we should not be sufficiently interested to buy it). The third page contains “The Prime Minister’s Message to the People” in bold type as follows :
“Millions of gallant young men have fought for the new world. Hundreds of thousands died to establish it. If we fail to honour the promises given to them we dishonour ourselves.”
If the returned soldiers were asked what the new world was going to be like they would doubtless reply “a world of unemployment,” judging from the fact that thousands of them can’t get jobs.Their position has become so acute that the Government, to save its face, has to publish an appeal on behalf of the King to employers to give discharged and demobilised soldiers the preference over others. This, of course, would not materially alter the case, as it would merely result in the “others” being unemployed, and of such would their new world consist.
How well Lloyd George’s Government is treating the dependents of those who “died to establish” the new world may be judged from the following:
“The pathetic circumstances of a soldier’s widow, with nine children, who had to apply for out relief in consequence of a refusal by the Ministry of Pensions to allow her more than 6s. 10d. a week was strongly commented on at the East Preston (Sussex) Guardians yesterday. :It was stated that the husband was discharged from the Army in May, 1918, owing to shrapnel wounds. After being operated on nine times he returned to his home at Durrington last October, and died four days later from influenza and pneumonia.”
“Daily News,” 3.9.19.
This is only one of numberless similar cases.
Such is Lloyd George’s idea of rewarding the heroes and honouring the “promises given.”
When he was speaking at Birmingham on Oct. 22nd, 1906, he said in effect that if the conditions that gave rise to the complaint of “slums, pauperism and great want in a land of plenty” were not removed within three years the party he belonged to would deserve to go, and a new movement would grow up to displace the “Liberal bunglers and rogues.” Writing now of the period immediately proceeding the war (nearly eight years after he made the above-mentioned statement) while he was still the leading light of the Liberal party, he goes on to say in his “message” ;
“What does a new world mean ? What was the old world like ? It was a world where toil for myriads of’ honest workers, men and women, purchased nothing better than squalor, penury, anxiety, and wretchedness—a world scarred by slums and disgraced by sweating, where unemployment thro’ the vicissitudes of industry brought despair to multitudes of humble homes ; a world where, side by side with want, there was waste of the inexhaustible riches of the earth, partly through ignorance and want of forethought, partly through entrenched selfishness.”
Out of his own mouth the humbug stands condemned. His delightful future world is always a world the workers will never reach, if he can prevent it.
But let me quote the remainder of his “message” :
“If we renew the lease of that world we shall betray the heroic dead. We shall be guilty of the basest perfidy that ever blackened a people’s fame. Nay, we shall s:ore up retribution for ourselves and for our children. The old world must and will come to an end. No effort can shore it up much longer. If there be any who feel inclined to maintain it, let them beware lest it fall upon them and overwhelm them and their households in ruins.
It should be the sublime duty of all, without thought of partisanship, to help in building up the new world, where labour shall have its just reward and indolence alone shall suffer want.”
What a string of delightful empty phrases. How like the man who sold his own party for place and pelf, who with a stroke of the pen undid the life-work of Samuel Plimsoll and sent hundreds of sailormen to the bottom of the sea. This mouther of fine phrases was the man who introduced an old age pensions Bill that was to cut “a path through fields of waving corn” down which the aged poor were to totter to the grave. But the Bill turned out to be a measure to save our masters the expense of keeping our old people in the workhouse. The “benefits” of the Bill may be gathered from the following:
“When an aged collier applied at Market Bosworth, Leicester, for an old age pension yesterday he was informed that the law would not allow the Committee to grant him a pension as he had an income of £34 per year. The old man replied that he wished those who made the laws had themselves to live on £34 a year. He had worked in a coal mine for 55 years.”“Daily News,” 4.9.19.
Lloyd George is one of those who have lately engineered the stranglehold on Persia through the new Persian agreement. Curiously enough, this agreement has followed very closely on the acquisition and control of four large Scottish companies by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, and their amalgamation under the title of Scottish Oils, Ltd., with a capital of four million pounds. (See “Daily News,”, 13.9.19.) The wholesale exploitation of Persian working men is evidently going to find a place in the new world scheme.
This same political twister, who so lately was concerned about small nationalities, was a party to the following transaction :
“It was stated by Reuter’s correspondent at Brussels that a portion of German E. Africa with a population of 3,000,000 natives has been banded over by this country to Belgium. The transaction is described as a free gift on the part of Great Britain.”“Daily News.” 29.8.16.
Three million natives handed over “free,” with the connivance of Lloyd George, to the tender mercies of the crew whose dastardly treatment of the natives in Belgian Congo was so notorious ! Where does the “small nationality” rights of the natives come in ? Did Lloyd George and Co. consult them as to their wishes ?
But to return to “The Future.” The last page gives in more detail the new world ideas in an article entiled ”The Gospel of Work and Wages,” signed “G.W.G.,” from which we will take a few extracts :
“You want to improve your position. You say that the day of the worker is at hand. It will dawn at once, improvement will come in a flood, when every worker in the land learns and obeys the true gospel of work and wages. Here it is :
GET EVERY PENNY YOU EARN: EARN EVERY PENNY YOU GET.
. . . . . . . . . . .
There are some unwise people who think that when they pocket wages which they know very well they have not earned they are doing a very clever thing. Nothing of the sort. They are pickling a rod for their own backs.
Look at as a question of morals, that is as a matter of fair-play between man and man. In the bargain with your employer you have exacted from him the last penny in wages. On the other hand, he must exact from you, and you must be willing that he should exact, every stroke of the work for which he is paying.”
So this is what Lloyd George means by the phrase “Labour shall have its just reward.” For the bare cost of subsistence (our just reward) we must work ourselves stiff the livelong day. Those he refers to as “those who are indolent” are evidently those who do not give the utmost for their wages. The suggestion in the above paragraph that the masters pay us for the work we do is obviously nonsense. They pay us for the time we work (even in the case of pieceworkers), an entirely different thing. The work we turn out in a day far exceeds our wages in value ; that is why an idle and parasitic class can live in luxury while we live in poverty.
Let me make another extract:
“Never forget that the “boss” takes one very hard job off your shoulders. When work is done, the products which result from it have to be sold to customers, and he finds the customers. If a miner had to sell the coal when he had dug it out of the seam he would be wasting most of his time.”
Oh, you wicked, immoral slaves, who would deny your masters their full pound of flesh ! Your harassed employers travel around the world in luxurious cars and yachts, basking in Southern suns, romping in Alpine snows, hunting in Indian jungles and African forests. They cloy their sensuous appetites at sumptuous banquets, revive their drooping spirits at grand balls, rejuvenate their interest in life at the races—at least, so it had always appeared to me. But now we know they they only do all this to “take one very heavy job off your shoulders,” to find the customers for the products of your toil—while hundreds of thousands of your fellows are dying at your doors for want of those very products.
How innocent Lloyd George must think we are when he tries to force such rubbish and humbug into our heads. What finding of customers do the shareholders do who live hundreds of miles from the place where all the work (including the selling) is done ?
The working class contains the only people who produce commodities and distribute them to the consumers, and they are the people who, relatively speaking, consume the least. The working class includes all employees, whether they be managers or office boys, scientists or mechanics, travellers or salesmen.
The latest news from America furnishes some suggestive ideas as to the new world of actual fact, as witness the following extracts relating to the strikes against the Steel Trust:
“Preliminaiy disorders disturbed the peace of Sunday in two centres near Pittsburg, where troopers of the State Constabulary broke up meetings that had been prohibited by the local authorities. . . .
Witnesses asserted that a meeting at Clairtown was proceeding in an orderly manner when the police charged the crowd.
Armed guards are protecting the steel mills.”“Daily News,” 23 9.19.
The following from the same paper is an interesting side light on the concentration of capital:
“The properties owned by the corporation are valued at £380,000,000 and its total assets at the beginning of the present year were nearly £514,000,000.”
And Lloyd George tells us we must work hard or our bosses will go broke !
But enough of this canting hypocrite, whose political life has been the record of delightful promises and shameless betrayals. He is but another of the tools the master class pay to blind the workers as to their true position as wage slaves.
Study Socialism and his frothy phrases will fall on deaf ears.