1920s >> 1926 >> no-261-may-1926

How many lumps? The charwoman’s charter !

We hope you read “Newsman.” Oh! he’s delightful. Under the heading “London Calling” you will find each day in the “Daily News” a column of the most brilliant banality known to us. So genteel ! So awfully nice ! In the best of taste, always. And he knows all the best people, knows them intimately. Not a day passes but quite casual mention is made of “my friend Lord Mugsborough,” or “I met my old friend-Sir Simon Slush at the Blitz,” or some similar happening. Undoubtedly he is— how do you term it?—well-connected. He has views, too. Oh yes ! In spite of close association with the azure blooded, and the monied people, he is a pure democrat, an out and out Liberal. He—well, here is a sample from the “Daily News” of March 20th. The title is his, too :—


At the luncheon which followed the laying of the commemoration stones at the new “Daily News” and “Star” building more than one reference was made to the famous phrase about “the charwoman’s sugar” in Mr. O’Connor’s confession of faith, which was the leading article in the first issue of the “Star” in 1888.
The actual phrase—often misquoted—is as follows :—
‘The policy will appear to us worthy of everlasting thanks, and of ineffaceable glory, that does no more than enable the charwoman to put two pieces of sugar in her cup of tea instead of one; and that adds one farthing a day to the wage of the seamstress or the labourer.’
That could not be bettered as an expression of fighting Radicalism, and it has remained as an inspiration to Radicals for 38 years.
Lord Oxford, by the way, sent Mr. O’Connor his congratulations on his “marvellous and supremely delightful speech” at this luncheon.”

How’s that? A fighting faith ! How apt. How profoundly stirring. We agree, as an
expression of fighting Radicalism, that could not be bettered. It has the advantage of being equally suitable as a battle cry for white mice. We rejoice to learn that Radicals have derived 38 years of inspiration from it. What grandeur in that thought. And the dear old charwoman. Was she at the luncheon, and did she have two lumps of sugar in her tea? Alas, we are not told. But how her old heart must throb, when she looks back 38 years to that bleak time when her cup of tea only boasted one lump of sugar. How her eyes must dim with tears of gratitude when after 38 years of Radical fighting, she drops a second lump into her cup. Really, it makes a lump come in one’s throat merely to imagine this affecting scene. And doubtless, the dear old lady after 38 years of Radical progress will be turning her thoughts to another of their gifts—the Lump.​


(Socialist Standard, May 1926)

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