A Little Talk About Our Innards

How often has it been said, “The Hour brings forth the Man.” This vivid truism, exemplified equally in the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and the productions of Laurel and Hardy, is again given point by recent world happenings. Out of a maelstrom of chaos, out of the cataclysmic roar of a world falling to ruin conies a firm, strong voice. It is the voice, calm, clear and courageous, of one who peers through the surging mists of doom, and discerns with supernatural clarity—the Way Out. Students of political science will have gathered by now, that all indications point to Mr. George Lansbury. They are quite right. The Hour has produced the Man. How wonderful are the ways of Providence !

A short while ago, we, in our ignorance, informed a long-suffering world that “Capitalism will not Collapse.” We charged a penny for some 16 pages of our reasons. We might have saved our energy. In the columns of the August Bow and Bromley Citizen, Mr. Lansbury says Capitalism is at the end of its tether. Civilisation is dying, he said. The economic plight of Central Europe, the upheaval in Germany, the failure of the Disarmament Conference, the tariff war against the Irish Free State in the cause of what is known as punctilio, and the persecution in India, cause him to despair. He asks us to “couple” with these, unemployment at home, the mean Means Test inflicted by the Tory Government (but, George, you forget to say that it is the same test as that applied by the Labour Government for Poor Law purposes), and the driving down into the pit of destitution of myriads of aged and infirm. And then we come to the prophetic utterance:

“Men and women in every walk of life are asking what can be done. I reply, not in the words of economists or Socialists, but in the words of Him who spoke as never man spoke before :—
‘Let him who is greatest be the least. Seek the Kingdom of God which is within you. Seek not your own, learn of Him that the law of life is service, and that it is not the will of the Father that the least of His little ones should perish.’
And learn, also, that on one occasion when He was angry, He took whips and thrashed the money lords, the usurers, the devourer of widows’ houses, out ot the Temple.”

So there you are; everyone now knows what to do. As George so truly says: men and women are asking what can be done.

We of the Socialist Party of Great Britain have answered “capture political power, so that you can own your means of living.” The Labour Party, whose leader is Mr. Lansbury, answered, “the most important thing is to get something now.” After a quarter of a century’s getting something now, Mr. Lansbury now replies with: Seek not your own … “Seek the Kingdom of God, which is within you.”

It is really too brilliant. What balm, after more than two years of Labour Government: “Seek not your own. Seek the Kingdom of God. It’s inside you.” Most of the unemployed would swap it for a steak and kidney pudding, any time.

The bit about the whipping of the usurers and money lords is interesting. Mr. Lansbury has not always been in favour of giving the usurers a walloping. When the usurers who had invested in War Loan engaged in the operation known as Conversion, two months back, Mr. Lansbury gladly lent them a hand. On that occasion the readers of the Bow and Bromley Citizen were spared the tripe and treacle of our Right Hon. friend. On July 14th he was accorded the publicity of the B.B.C., and millions of listeners heard him say:

“I am speaking to you on behalf of my colleagues in the House of Commons and myself. . . . We are glad to be able to give our support to the War Loan Conversion scheme recently launched by the Government.”

Then came the usual bowl of greasy platitudes, followed by George’s inevitable appeal to:

“turn once again to Him who taught as no other man has taught, and start individually and nationally ordering our lives on His appeal, and seek first the Kingdom of God, which He also said is within you.”

George seems somewhat muddled, but doubtless he could explain himself. Seek first the Kingdom of God, and to save a protracted search he indicates its precise position—within you. Then, keeping in mind what Christ thought of usurers on a former occasion, carefully order your usurious investments in War Loan—the price of slaughter—so that you will continue to draw interest, or money for nothing.

Pretty dreadful, isn’t it ! The Listener of July 20th reprinted his wonderful effort, so that posterity may better know the kind of Man whom Fate threw up at this great hour of crisis.

W. T. H.

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