1950s >> 1957 >> no-631-march-1957

“The Missing Millions”

Where are the Missing Millions? This is the great lament of all the sports columns of the daily newspapers. They take sympathetic view on behalf of the monied people interested in the prosperity of Football Clubs, Boxing Promotions and Race Meetings, big and small throughout the country for this falling-off of attendances doubtless affects their profits. Especially in football, where since the end of the war they have been experiencing yearly record-breaking profits. But tnow no more of those “fabulous gates,” no more of those “astounding transfer fees.” Of course they are not alone. The Churches of this country for so many, many years now, have been faced with the self-same grim decline. Try as they may, with their Missions here, Missions there, Missions everywhere; they simply cannot win back the deserters.

The Cinemas and Music Halls would appear to have contracted this illness as well. Fewer long queues or ”full-house” signs to be seen these days. And the theatre, ballet and opera, have their black spots and dull moments.

Not only are entertainments affected, but more serious interests. Trade Union meetings, lectures of all sorts, and political meetings, do not seem to arouse any concern in the people at all. Communists. Conservatives, Labour and Liberal alike, they find it harder to hold successful meetings today, except when a big crisis turns up.

We all know that partly to blame is that bugbear Television. Fagged-out after another day’s wearisome toil and an equally tiring journey home, no doubt it is more than a temptation to slump into the nearest chair after some food and remain there glued for the rest of the evening, reading, listening, talking, viewing or more likely … dozing.

Hark then! this question of the “Missing Millions.” Is it because of Television? Or, lack of spare cash to spend on entertainment? Or the time and trouble in rushing home, swallowing a meal, racing about preparing yourself, etc., etc., and then eventually getting out in time to enjoy those amusements, interests, hobbies, studies, or duties?

Socialists would say that it is all of these, combined with a host of other difficulties. Mind you! it could also be a yearning to participate in new and fresh ventures so different from those of the pub … the pictures . . .. or the dancing. But, alas! it isn’t to be. This brings the everyday ritual into the scene, you know, how much? Can we afford it? Can we spare the time? Must we rise early next morning, or can we lie in.

But there positively is something you can and should make time for, something really well worth the effort; something you ought to start helping to bring about, something we all need badly and this is the “System of society called Socialism.”

Under Socialism all would be doing a useful job and not just clipping tickets on buses and in the underground, or wasting away in Armies, Navies, Air and Police forces.

Thousands of clerks who just fill in forms and fuss about with little rubber stamps in Labour Exchanges, Town Halls, Ministry of this, that, or the other. Doing much the same in banks, insurance offices and building societies. Yes! these useless stupid jobs! ! !

Just look; what can be produced these days even with all this waste of manpower and materials. With the complete abolition of all this pitiful junk like, guns, battleships, warplanes, bombs, military uniforms, barracks and the rest . . .

Just stop and try to imagine what could be done’ and enjoyed by every man, woman, and child, if all the able bodied were doing something truly vital. To serve their own and everyone else’s needs for the wealth would be the common property of the whole of society, for the free use of all.

Then for the first time there would most certainly be the real prospect of having plenty of free time to do all you desire—with all amenities accessible to all the whole world over.

J.M.

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