The By The Way column from the April 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard
Juries are Wiser To-day
So says “A Barrister, writing in the Star: “Juries to-day are quite different from what they used to be. They need very different treatment from prosecuting and defending counsel alike, as well as from the judge. Jurors to-day are sophisticated and educated men and women."
"Bullying witnesses, desk-banging, strident and over-emphatic oratory are useless with modern jurors. . . . Modern juries resent such tactics. Counsel to-day has, to rely on quiet, careful, logical argument. Sophistry and' flattery are often detected. . . . Jurymen and jury women have to be treated as highly intelligent."
"In war time there are only seven jurors instead of twelve, and they are very mixed—housewives, professional men, tradesmen and mechanics." (The Star, January 10th)
In other words, the working class is growing up. Barristers will find, in future, that when they appear before the final jury in the highest court of all, the electorate, that sophistry, flattery and oratory will no longer do the trick. When "mechanics" and "housewives" prefer "quiet, careful, logical argument" to histrionics, the Socialist propagandist has the ball at his feet.
Boy Gang Chief Shot Dead in Rome
"Seventeen year old Guiseppe Albano was shot dead in a Rome battle in which 300 police with armoured cars took part. . . .
"For some time after the liberation of Rome, Albano was known as the 'Boy Patriot.’ He boasted of having murdered 40 Germans or Republican Fascists.
"He and his followers lived in a villa in the Quarticciolo district, which was surrounded day and night by armed guards with tommy-guns. Clad in a sheepskin coat and throwing out banknotes right and left, ‘The Hunchback’ used to stride through the streets, but always with his bodyguard in attendance."—(Daily Herald, January 16th.)
But Guisseppe made the fatal mistake of failing to distinguish between German "tyrants" and British "Liberators," and raided an Allied car park. He at once ceased to be a "Boy Patriot "and became a "gang leader," like the one-time "patriots" in Greece, and received nine bullets (Mark I., British, Liberation) in his body.
Like Karl Hulten, who said after shooting George Heath, "people in my profession have no time to worry about that"; or Private Smith, the American soldier who shot Sir Eric Teichmann, the diplomat, dead on his estate in Norfolk, about whom his commanding officer asked the psychiatrist, "Does he know it is wrong to kill?" Albano did not understand that it is wrong (at the moment) to kill Allies—but right to kill Nazis. Though, in a war where whole nations have changed sides with bewildering ease and rapidity, perhaps these boys might be expected to be confused.
After all, Mr. Churchill and Sir Walter Citrine and others have now alternately denounced and praised Finns, Russians, Frenchmen, Italians, Slavs, Greeks, Belgians, Roumanians, etc., until at least half of them don't know whether they are "Allies” and "Patriots" or "gangsters" and "ruffians."
The Socialist idea of having nothing to do with any of it is the best.
Coming Down? (Wages)
Lord Woolton has declared in a speech at Bristol on January 20th that the Government’s plan for full employment would be jeopardised if the Trade Unions pressed for better wages. (Reynolds News, January 21st.) "The general wage level cannot lie raised more rapidly than our productivity increases."
This is yet another reference to P.M.H. (Production per Man Hour) which is the main concern of industrialists after the war.
Mr. Oscar Hobson, City Editor of the News-Chronicle (February 2nd), points out quite bluntly: —
Some of my friends who have a knowledge of conditions both here and in the United States assert roundly that to no small extent America’s advantage in P.M.H. is due not to better mechanisation but to the fact that the American worker does a much better day’s work than the British.
. . . It is vital to our future prosperity that the facts relating to that and other matters of American and British industrial experience should be established and fearlessly made public, even if they are unflattering to ourselves or to some section of our community.
Fascism will NOT be Eradicated
The issue of the People for 12th February in an article by The Philosopher on "After Victory—Realities," declares:—
At intervals a figure, absent three or more years, will turn up in each neighbourhood until the event passes unnoticed by all except those intimately concerned.
Each will be faced with his own problem, re-starting a business, training for a job, resuming an old, or finding a new one.
There will be common difficulties, too. The house shortage will increase the need of being with "in-laws," and tempers will become frayed.
When a house is wonderfully come by, home building will prove provokingly expensive.
Meantime, those conscious of trends outside their own circle will be amazed at the ease with which democratic leaders will forget their war-time promises.
Fascism in Europe will not he eradicated as we were once told it would be. Murdering Fascists and their accomplices will escape punishment.—(People, February 12th.)
Who were the "democratic leaders” who told us Fascism would be eradicated? Morrison, Bevin, and the Labour Party crew. Which publications re-iterated it? Those of Odhams Press, publishers of The People.
More than a Thousand
"You are now being told—and in the next few years you will be told again a thousand times—that there is a third way, neither Socialism nor Capitalism, but something culled a planned economy, which will benefit everyone equally. . . .
“If sacrifices are to be made, there will be 'equality of sacrifice.’ The divergent interests of rich and poor will be obscured by an appeal to emotional nationalism and an emphasis on service and national discipline."—Prof. P. M. S. Blackett, F.R.S., in a talk broadcast in March, 1931, published in "The Frustration of Science," page 139.
Fitness of Service Girls
Mrs. Gowing, who is responsible for organising "vast numbers" of the A.T.S., says that "the fitness of the girls appeals strongly to employers, in a nation which has largely lacked medical attention in the war years; these girls have had their bodies, teeth and feet cared for; they have the energy which breeds initiative." (Observer, November 26th, 1944.)
Perhaps Mrs. Glowing is unaware of the published statements of the authorities, Ministry of Health, etc., claiming that the nation’s health has improved during the war. We agree with Mrs. Gowing—the nation (the working class) has largely lacked medical attention during the war—but it had none during the peace, either. It is not war which prevented medical attention, but poverty—which is here always. We go farther and claim that the nation would not require this sort of medical attention at ALL, if poverty— the main cause of social disease to-day—were abolished by Socialism.
It is interesting to have an official statement that the girls’ bodies, teeth and feet have been looked after—proving that, when needed, the capitalists are quite ready to do what reformers have demanded for years—care for the goose that lays the golden eggs.