Putting Down Rebellion
A Liberal Government are in power. This, of course, is equal to saying that cowardly bullying will reach its zenith during the period of the present administration. We have had many noisesome examples up to date, and now we are treated to another, in which humble people in Ireland are arrested and charged with conspiring to publish and circulate seditious libels concerning the Government and their armed forces. The offenders are alleged to have posted in the thoroughfares of Belfast placards stating that the “soldiers and police are used by the Government to crush the working man when he stands up for his rights.”
We are perfectly well aware that a statement does not necessarily have to be untrue to be a libel. We know that a famous lawyer has laid it down that “the greater the truth the greater the libel,” and it will be very interesting, in view of the use that was made of troops in Belfast a year or two back, in view of the part the military played in the great railway strike of August 1911, in view of the police activities in Manchester, Liverpool, and London during the last two years, in view of the menace of the gun-boats at Grimsby and Hull, and within the last fortnight, at Leith ; it will be interesting, we repeat, in view of all this, to observe whether the Government intend to rely upon the truth of the libel to magnify the enormity of the “crime.”
However, we do not blame the Government for repressing every attack upon the security of the ruling class. Men holding the view that it is true that “the soldiers and police are used by the Government to crush the working man when he stands up for his rights” will by the force of logic expect those forces to be set in motion directly a blow is aimed at those who control them. To let light in upon the purpose of the armed forces was therefore bound to be “regarded by the law officers of the Crown as of the highest importance.” Only what might be expected, therefore, has happened.
This latest piece of bullying, however, shows up the Liberals as what they are—the most cowardly of all political parties. For “King” Carson can openly incite to rebellion, and even go the length of enrolling and swearing thousands for the adventure, yet the Government dare not lay hands upon the powerful rebel. But when it comes to a couple of shop-assistants, then— why then it looks like a dodge of Lloyd-Georgian cunning to convert Ulster to Home Rule by the simple course of sickening it of “Saxon” tyranny.