Fish and Conchies
The Sunday Pictorial publishes letters from its readers under the title of “Voice of the People.” On Sunday, January 25th, a hater of conchies urged that they should all be made to catch fish with pay at 1s. a day. Alternatively, they should be issued with conspicuously marked ration books which only allowed them foods which men have NOT risked their lives to get.
So conchies should catch fish for one shilling a day! Speaking of fish, we remember a time when particularly large catches of fish were thrown back into the sea. This happened, of course, in the piping days of peace and prosperity. They were discarded, because certain interested capitalists feared that so large an abundance might interfere with their rate of profit. Many workers, particularly the free unemployed, would have enjoyed some of this “surplus” fish.
May we be permitted to suggest that it would be quite a good idea to make the individuals responsible do a spot of fishing themselves. Possibly, after several months at sea, they would consider the advisability of tipping unwanted catches into the briny.
But, of course, these people are not conscientious objectors. They are busy trying to fight, or urging others to fight, for freedom—the freedom to burn food, pour milk down the drains, use wheat as fuel, and, of course, thrown fish into the sea, as their profit-making activities require.
The view that conchies should not be allowed to eat food for which other men have risked their lives affords us some cynical amusement. Workers also risk their lives during the periods of capitalist peace. They suffer mutilation and death in the mines and factories. And the fruit of their labour is used to make easy and joyful the lives of the propertied few. Shall we issue these people with specially marked ration books? But ah, they are not conscientious objectors.