Mr. J. R. Clynes, as the result of his long association with the “Working-class” Movement, has thoroughly learned to trade upon the traditional short memories of the workers, and so can with safety to his position indulge in vagaries according to the situation at any given time. As witness to this, we would draw our readers’ attention to some of the remarks to which he gave utterance in his presidential address to the National Federation of General Workers’ Conference at Leamington recently. Speaking as a trade-union leader he declared that:—
“The outlook for mutual agreement is not bright, and the sacrifices which the workers have had to endure have not “hastened the trade revival which cheaper labour was said to guarantee.” (Daily News, 18/8/22.)
“The service and sacrifice of the millions of workers during the war, who served their country in the Army and Navy, have been scantily rewarded in the days of so-called peace.” (ibid.)
With regard to the important admission that “the outlook for mutual agreement is not bright,” and others to the effect that a matter of six million workers have lost wages to the extent of £10,000,000 per week, and that where resistance was offered the end was often defeat, one would imagine that Mr. Clynes would seek alternative methods to retard this downward tendency. There is no sign of any suggestion, however, but only a vague threat of retaliation in the future, when the conditions of the labour market may permit. It is just here where he reveals his inconsistency, for it is but a short time back, viz., 1919, when he was loudest amongst those crying for increased production by the workers —for who cannot remember his signature appearing on the well-known Government Poster of that time? It is obvious that increased production, with a decreased consumption, could not possibly redound to the advantage of the workers.
Dealing with the second quotation above, the rewards to those who served in the war are only what were to be expected, if only from our experience of previous campaigns; yet we know that Mr. Clynes ably played his part in helping to prosecute the war—at a safe distance from the mud and blood of Flanders.
These are but jottings, merely intended to show in some slight way the nature of the man whose influence over men is considerable. That these remarks may lead to some diminution of that influence, with a corresponding increase in self-reliance on the part of the workers, is the hope of WILEB.