From the December 1916 issue of the Socialist Standard
Having read so often during recent times of the great wave of working-class prosperity which has swept over this land of free and enlightened (?) people, accompanied by the acquisition by them of pianos and various other items of a grossly “extravagant nature,” I am somewhat at a loss to understand how the following tit-bit succeeded in finding a place in our masters’ journal.
The Glasgow School Board yesterday decided to send to the War Secretary, the Scottish Secretary, the Education Department, and to Members of Parliament, a statement showing that there had been a large increase in the number of scholars requiring attention owing to the lack of adequate clothing, due entirely to the condition of the dependents of soldiers and sailors, whose allowances had not been increased to meet the increased cost of living. The Board asked that allowances should be increased, and that this should be a charge upon the Imperial Exchequer, and not upon the School Board rates.—"Daily News,” 10.11.16.
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While day by day we read and know of cases of hardship to dependents arising from the inadequacy of separation allowances, the shipping and cotton lords and other people of that ilk are amassing fabulous sums. At the same time we hear much talk about the “equality of sacrifice,” which, being interpreted, means greater sacrifice of the workers—sacrifice of hard-won Trade Union rights, sacrifice of health in an endeavour to increase production, and sacrifice of even life itself in a cause which, at its termination, will leave the remainder of the working class in a position of intensified poverty and still subject to the callous indifference of an international ruling class. Here follows an announcement which I recently observed, and serves to show the “sacrifice” made by the wealthy class:
Gentleman’s only daughter, aged 19, desires to live with London family or lady of high social position having large circle of young friends, make up parties for theatres, dances, golf, riding, etc.; up to £100 per annum paid ; highest references given and required.”—”Daily Sketch,” 28.9.1916.
The above was quoted in an article in the paper mentioned under the heading of “The Insolence of Wealth,” and with such a theme the writer was able to expatiate at great length on the disparity of the affluent and the rewards of a grateful country to its wounded heroes.
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From the early days of the war onwards we have from time to time case after case of supposed Virgins and Crucifixes left intact after nearly everything else had been blown to smithereens. Pictures in pictorial papers have appeared to show the alleged remarkable occurrences and suitable wording has been dished up to suggest the miraculous intervention on behalf of the religious emblems. But in due course arrives further information as to how these effects are manipulated in order to deceive the credulous and unsuspecting. Let me quote:
There seems to be a good deal of misapprehension going about in connection with some of the stories of images of the Virgin and Crucifixes left intact in French towns when all else was wrecked by shell fire. I have seen a letter from a gentleman of undoubted authority, who says that some even of the pictures of these things are pure romances. He cites in especial a representation of the Virgin of Montauban standing erect on a pile of ruins with a large shell in front of her. The statue was knocked down, but only slightly damaged ; my informant apparently saw it raised to its present position by British soldiers. The shell in the picture is probably British. One would have thought that there was romance enough in a world war without invoking imagination’s artful aid to heighten it.—”Daily News,” 27.10.1916.