According to the “Manchester Evening News” for Jan. 1st last, Mr. John Hodge, the new Minister of Labour, in the course of a speech at Gorton, blabbed out that “employers have begun to realise that welfare becomes a valuable asset in the productivity of the worker, and that it pays as well to treat men, women, and children kindly as it pays to treat cattle kindly.”
Mr. John Hodge will really have to be more careful. Weak and long-suffering though the working have-nots are they decidedly don’t like being likened to cattle, however apt and true that comparison may be. We know, of course, that Varro of old Rome divided agricultural implements into three groups—the talking variety, or slaves; the semi-talking variety, like oxen; non-talking, such as waggons; but the day has long gone when the real status of the working class could be openly stated as John has stated it, especially after the pints of slop which have been poured out during the war, on our glorious heritage of freedom and equality, and the tosh that we are “all one in the hour of our nation’s trial.”
Hodge’s function is to bluff and fool our class—we know that. But gee! he had better learn his job or he’ll lose it. If we are to have our welfare seen to by getting better managers, and the like, it is folly from the Hodge point of view to tell us that it is to add to our “productivity,” or in the vulgar vernacular, to make us grind harder for our grub. “Our” Minister is going the right way to get invested with the ignoble order of the boot, which my be awkward if overweening confidence in the devil’s reputation for looking after his own has led him to part with all his 30 inch waistcoats.