The New Illustrated, 22nd March 1919

The Xcw Illustrated 22rid March 1919. OUR OBSERVATION POST ORGANISING THE MIDDLE CLASS N O thinking person can be uninterested in the attempt now being made to organise the great middle social class into a coherent disciplined body able to make its corporate opinion on social and economic questions clearly audible through the mouth of its chosen representatives and to give effect to them b y positive inaction the last resource by force if that should appear unavoidable. A Middle Class Union, firmly established may indeed prove the salvation of our civilisation the social system— a good one upon the whole— that has been evolved slowly since the fall of the Homan Empire and is now imperilled by the world-wide unrest and confusion following the collapse of long-respected authority in many parts of the underworld the impact of the war.N O vivid imagination is required to see in the suggested Middle Class Union the nucleus of apolitical organisation of the common-sense of mankind of a body brought into being b y long continued pressure from outside and so given a per- durability upon which such compositions as Bolshevism produced b y explosive agitation from within must inevitably be shattered when the two come into collision. That, a t any rate is how I see it and I am glad that the movement to organise the middle class of society has originated in Great Britain. For it is an article of m y creed that the British Constitution has been the one most beneficial to the world at large, and here it seems tome to be following its orderly evolution quietly and sensibly adapting itself to changing conditions as a healthy organism must if it is to live. M y benison upon the movement. A t the moment I have but one regret :that instead of “Middle Class Union ”the great political organisation now being created cannot be officially styled and entitled "The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.” p O R that precisely is' what its founders and promoters have it in mind to secure within the British Dominions and to spread abroad. P a x Britannica is the sonorous Latin name for the excellent order which is brofight into the most savage lands with the British flag it means freedom for everyman to worship his own God in his own way to preserve his own custom sand earn his own living and lead his own life enjoying perfect individual liberty within the limits of the just law that only restricts him from interfering with the equal rights of any other man.' That is the theory, and on the whole the practice conforms to it very .closely. The most excellent order found in the world prevails under the flag of the British Empire and that Hag is not the heraldic emblem of an Imperial autocrat, nor yet the blood-red emblem allocated to an imaginary goddess with no proper home of her own it is the combined emblems of the patron saints of three fine peoples united in the common cause of civilisation. IT is the flag of the vast majority of the great middle class of these united peoples and wherever it has been hoisted oppression has been warned away. Now this majority is proposing to hoist it over its own housetop with intention to convey the same warning to whomever it may concern. There is no pretension hereto claim the flag as the property of one class within the realm to the exclusion of another only a clear intimation that this largest class claims exactly the same right that it has securcd for every other to live its own life freely without interference and that it intends to stop b y force if necessary, any quarrelling between other sections of the community that threatens to violate the peace and the general interest. H1 1T OTHER in all domestic disputes the ¦'middle class has refrained from active intervention the common-sense which is its distinguishing characteristic reminding it that family squabbles generally settle themselves amicably in the long run the collective conscience operating to remove any real injustice to anyone member. It takes avery different view of the matter if it begins to suspect that trouble is being fomented b y outsiders orb y strangers within the gates. This I believe is the significance of the present stirring of the middle class from the perhaps too lethargic placidity with which it has put up with the discomfort caused to bit they increasingly frequent disputes between the classes above and below it in the social and economic scale. IDENTIFYING myself as. of '¦course I may with the middle class I think I may declare that a t -present ou temper is quite amiable. Our purpose however is resolute. What we say to the other classes is in effect this :“Look here you chaps, were getting sicko f this eternal quarrelling its making the world impossible to live in.Lets hear all about it and see what it amounts to. You got on all right together when the war was on why cant you do the same now theresa- peace on ?Now then Labour whats the matter?” Labour . proceeds'to tell us his version of the facts. Now then Capital what have you got to say ?”Capital gives u s.his version an entirely different one. For a moment aweD i u 'Tn 'lT E following stanzas are excerpts from a poem 'expressing the relief and relaxation of tension ilue to the termination of hostilities by he armistice of November Jlth last. The poem was written by Lloyd Roberts son of Charles 1 .Roberts and was published in the O tta ”aw ''Citizen whence these lines are reproduced. WHAT silence and what peace !What joy as of release From some black spell Falls on the world As four long years of fiery tumult cease. Deaths flags arc furled And A lls Well! A lls Well 1 Rings around world awakened from war's hell. Peace has returned to the ways of men— And with the peace the world goes on again, Spinning its golden threads of lifes dream Tho now and then The gleam Is somewhat dulled with thin grey threads of pain That Death has spun into the golden skein. Yes peace is here but we shall not forget The price we paid neither shall we regret What we have laid upon the lap of Life But quiet and unafraid Stand ready still to push the bloody strife Before well see Humanity betrayed. The four-years night is ended! A rosy morn is flooding all the earth As mankind rises to a nobler birth With past ways mended And all the future glorious and splendid. Yes Peace and the rising sun and night with­drawn—- Oh make us worthy Lord to face The Dawn 1 are rather disconcerted and then our native common-sense indicates the obviously right course to pursue. Let the pair of them meet and thrash the facts out before some brainy third person who has got no axe of” his own. to grind and w'ho can tell us all the truth in words we can understand. Then we will see to it that an absolutely fair bargain shall be made and further— and this is the important point— will make sure that it is kept.“ I E THAR G IC ”is not too strong a word -to apply to the inspirit which the middle classes acquiesccd in social and economic changes that took place in the years before the war. I think we should have relapsed into it after the war if things had settled dow'n to approximately the same condition. For we are undeniably rather badly fagged. W e were stimulated, however into taking up this question of the friction between the upper employing and the lower employed social classes and in the course of the consideration which we have devoted to it .we have realised more clearly than we ever realised before that it is our own middle class upon whom the heaviest social burden is imposed. W e intend to participate in the distribution of equal justice that we have been called upon to secure. W e are going to organise to make sure that we are not imposed upon, and we are going to bethe most powerful organisation of all because we shall bethe largest and cumulatively the richest. D R I E F L Your case is that while we have talked less than our fcllow-citizens, we have done as much and relatively, have paid a great deal more W e contributed the bulk of the men to the Army we paid most of the current cost of the war in the shape of taxation and we suffered inmost respect of the cost of living. Our-story is the ordinary one of the middle rank of all societies. hardIn times the rich can afford to buy things the poor are provided with things that they cannot afford to buy. That mysterious corporation called the State comes to their rescue outpouring money with both hands. In the course of our inquiry into the present unrest we have discovered with a small shock of surprise, that in the ultimate sense we are the State. jD U K SUING our investigations and medi-¦tation we reflect that all classcs of the Empire co-operated with a single devotion in winning the war that menaced the States existence and we resolve that the cost of that effort in l5 Tbod and treasure shall not be wasted b y its life now being made intolerable b y internal dissensions. W e arc going to stop this quarrelling. And we are going to do it in our traditional British :byway upsetting an order of things which all the people shall acknow­ledge to be equitable and then requiring them —if necessary compelling them— to maintain it. I T is only in the method of compulsion we propose to adopt that we aru making any innovation adopting for the first time in our history the system of organisation b y which the great industries and trades have secured their improved conditions of living. Unionism is to do for our class what it has done for the trading class and if we are obliged to resort to drastic measures in order to get what we mean to have those drastic measures will be strike measures.^^
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