From the June 1917 issue of the Socialist Standard
At the time of writing an appeal is being circulated throughout the country by the War Savings Committee on the necessity of still further tightening our belts. It consists of a card containing the King's proclamation on frugal living. It is being distributed by some 1,200 local committees (essential occupations?) and those who sign pledge themselves on their honour to abstain from eating but the barest possible amount of food.
As is to be expected, the appeal is directed chiefly to the working class, forming, as it does, the bulk of the population. The class which produces all the food, needs the food, but too often experiences the greatest difficulty in getting a small portion of it back. After the multitudinous exhortations from Press, platform and pulpit to be frugal and still multiply (the output), it would appear that it really isn't necessary for the workers to eat at all—at least, that is the impression I get, especially after reading the [advertisement] of a certain cocoa firm, which assures us that if we will only drink their cocoa we shall save bread !
Besides, look what valuable time is wasted in merely eating! How much better, then, would it not be if the workers abolished the function of assimilating food, and left it to the unemployed rich, who have far more time in which to consume it.
Every sacrifice in this war brings its reward, we have been told. In this case the "voluntary abstainers" will be granted the privilege of wearing a ribbon badge of royal purple, which signifies that the wearer is entitled to go on (hunger) strike without violating the Defence of the Realm Act.
As the majority of the workers have stood for every imposition thus far, it is easy to believe they will stand for this as well, and I can picture the contemptuous smirk on the face of Lord Stink as he floats along in his six-cylinder, to cast a glance now and again at a be-ribboned figure swanking up the road with a satisfied air an an empty gut.