From the June 1926 issue of the Socialist Standard
The “New Voice” is the organ of the National Citizens’ Union (late Middle Class Union). It pretends a great hatred of a mixture it calls Socialism, whilst its dislike of Marx is almost an obsession. They do not, of course, waste time dealing with his teachings, but are pained because he “sneers at the Lamb of God,” lays down the doctrine of “legalised promiscuity,” and says that the “working men have no country.” True, Marx does mention, in passing, the appropriate relation of the “Lamb of God ” to the sheep-like nature of Christians, so does he point out that what the possessing class own, the country, cannot be taken from the workers who do not own it. The less said about promiscuity from the master class point of view the better, for it is they who overcrowd the Divorce Courts, and whose liaisons bring to light matter that their own gutter press shrink from printing. Reading from page to page the “Voice” threatens, warns, pleads (for funds), and in a spasm of candour concedes the following :—
Between religion and social reform there was a natural and close connection; between social reform and Socialism a gulf wide and deep. Yet the two are continually confused, as e.g., when Socialism is attributed to the gospels.
To the above, we specially draw the attention of Labourites and Hot Gospellers. Though such a statement is calculated to frighten the timid; its admission by no means prevents the N.C.U. doing the same thing in this same issue. A report tells us that, after one of these social reformers had outlined his case for Nationalisation (a typical reform), “ our representative ” easily disposed of the “Socialist" and the “Socialists” were asked to come again. No doubt such opponents are easy, and useful, to the N.C.U. They keep alive the illusion that Nationalisation, which must worsen the workers’ conditions, is Socialism. When we, however, wish to debate, the N.C.U., like the I.L.P. and the other reformers, are not having any. Still, they have a little sense of humour, for at one of their meetings, at Harrogate, we read that one Geo. Robey spluttered these words :—
The trouble of the day was disinclination to work. If the people of this country did not get down to it soon, one of the questions that would be asked in the schools would be “If it takes a bricklayer 5 days to lay 4 bricks how long will the plumber be before he puts the washer on the tap."
Work is, at any time, a delicate subject with the workers, and although the above may go down with a Harrogate audience, it might with a Canning Town crowd, despite their love of toil, result in George getting the “ Bird.” To talk of “disinclination to work” to those who have monopolised it all, the “working” class, is a joke unconsciously perpetrated. The remainder may pass for humour with those who go to “business” instead of work, give services for “salary” instead of wages, and who “resign” instead of getting the “bullet,” or being “pieced up.” Such people are about to be rudely awakened by Capitalist development. When like the rest of the workers they abandon their fawning subservience, whether they lay bricks or plans, music-hall clowns and others will waste their breath when they chant threadbare platitudes in order to win Capitalist approbation or honours.
W. E. MacHaffie