From the January 1928 issue of the Socialist Standard
Greyhound racing! A baby sport, which has not yet seen its first birthday, yet the turnstiles have recorded 4,500,000 spectators. Why? It is because of its comparative cheapness and ease of access, that it attracts the working class.
At first sight, one would imagine that, beyond making a contribution to the Exchequer in the form of Entertainment and Betting Taxes, the sport had little to do with politics or class interest. But, according to the Morning Post (26/10/27), greyhound racing and its effects on the working class formed the subject of a discussion the previous evening at a dinner of the Thirty Club at Claridge’s Hotel.
A viewpoint was put by a Mr. Philip Emmanuel, who deprecated greyhound racing because, he said, it tempted the poor man to lose more than he could afford, to the detriment of his family. How eager for the welfare of the working class are these people who dine at first-class hotels. Or did the gentleman really mean that money spent on racing, instead of food and clothing, would lessen the efficiency of the wage-slave to produce profits for the master class?
Brigadier-General A. C. Critchley contributed the following to the discussion:—
“If you can give the working man something wholesome to talk and think about, it stops a lot of Communistic nonsense, which occurs simply because there is nothing else to do. Greyhound racing, properly handled, is one of the greatest counter irritants to Socialistic revolution we have yet seen.”
This soothing effect of sport and other pastimes has often been pointed out by us, but it is so uncommon for a Capitalist representative to admit this fact frankly. Of course, General Critchley only did so from self-interest; he is a director of the Greyhound Racing Association. The statement explains the apparent generosity of Capitalists who donate sums of money and trophies to sports clubs, and resist with all their might an attempt by their employees to secure a slight increase in wages.