1920s >> 1923 >> no-224-april-1923

How To Snare Labour Leaders

The ruling class have recently been very busy winning over Labour Leaders by the old game of patronage of flattery. They have been invited to dine with Peers and Royalty, so that they may learn how the master class love the workers. Needless to say, the Labour Leaders, anxious to get the votes of the reactionary, so-called middle class, have rushed willingly into the trap. The “Daily Herald” avoids a definite expression of opinion by saving (12th March, 19 2.1):

  “Our own view is that Labour M.P.’s are the best judges of their own section in social matters. Certainly no one could impute to those in question any weakness of character or any failure to consider what effect their action would be likely to produce.”

A few years ago, when the “Herald” was not quite so subservient, it published some verses by W. N. Ewer, which summed up the position more vigorously and more correctly.

  “Whom the King delighteth to Honour.”
“May we go now, Hodge ?”—Lord Derby.
“I hope to see Mr. Hodge in the House of Lords.’’—Lord Burnham.
“Of course, I know Mr. John Hodge very well.” —George V.

When Derby dropped the prefix from your name.
And hailed you “Hodge,” acclaiming you an equal,
We thought you’d reached the topmost heights of fame,
That Fate could give you nothing in the sequel

Better than this admitted full equality
With gentry of the highest rank and quality.
We deemed it then as certain you would get
The Peerage Burnham now has prophesied you,

That, clad in ermine and a coronet,
You’d sit, Lord Hodge, with Curzon, say, beside you,
Perhaps a bishop as your other neighbour
Incarnating the dignity of Labour.

But now—you’ve passed beyond such petty things
As baronies and social recognition,
You have become the intimate of Kings,
You have o’erleaped the loftiest ambition;
Dukedoms and Garters wait you—what’s the bettin ’ ?
You the close friend of royal George of—Windsor.

But does it never enter in your head
That here in England honours must be paid for
Either in coin or services instead?
In fact, that is precisely what they’re made for.
All of them, from the B.E. to the Garter,

Are merchandise displayed for sale or barter.
It’s not for love of your sweet self alone
Our lords and masters trouble to amuse you
With honours and with flattery from the throne;
Dear Hodge, it’s only that they want to use you.
You take their gift—well, thank them as you may for it,
You’ll find they still expect that you will pay for it.

You cannot pay, as others do, with gold.
You must sell something—they’ll insist on payment.
What—who is it that’s going to be sold?
God! Don’t you see beneath the sheep-skin raiment.
Don’t you see “gifts” from royal Faith Defenders
Are just like “easy terms” from money-lenders.

Hodge! Surely you’re not going to be caught
By dangled coronets and royal cooing.
Tell them that Labour isn’t to be bought;
Tell them right out that there is nothing doing.
Quick ! or you’ll find too late that you are netted.
Disgraced and damned and chained and coroneted.

Edgar Hardcastle