Saturday, 28 August 2010

It pays to enrich your word power.

I'm on a mission!

The mission is to insert words that you wouldn't normally expect to hear in a driving lesson into a driving lesson.

The words have to be in context. I can't just start randomly spouting words.

So when a pupil looks in their mirror, they might just glance with their eyes, or they may try to make it obvious that they're looking by moving their whole head.

So that got the words "Ostentatious" and "Surreptitious" into lessons in the past.

Today though, I got to use the word, "Equilibrium". My pupil was trying to use his clutch to make the car stand still on a slight hill. Gravity was trying to make the car roll backwards. His clutch plates were trying to make the car drive forwards. The forces had to be balanced in order to achieve precise control of the car.

There have been others too, although I forget what they were now mostly. Except one guy asked me what "Ambiguous" meant.

Friday, 27 August 2010

It must be a time of the year thing.

I packed up smoking about this time last year too.

On that occasion, I went to see a hypnotherapist. She spent an hour telling me that giving up is easy, and that the idea that it's hard was a myth propagated by the NRT industry.

I think she may have been using the wrong pitch. When I finally got to relax in the comfy chair and put the headphones on, I found that I was pretty much aware the whole time. I don't think I make a good subject for hypnosis, but maybe that was just a clash between therapist and client.

Anyway, I gave the lady £150, and stayed off the cigarettes until the money I'd saved by not buying tobacco covered the money I'd wasted by going to see the hynotherapist. It took about 5 months I think.

This time round, I had a day off, and I had a lie in, followed by a lazy day playing civilisation 2 on the computer. Suddenly it was about 5.30 pm, and I hadn't had a cigarette all day. So I wondered how far I could go.

I've stocked up on unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, and with their help, I've managed 3 days.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Answers

I want to go into the books in more detail at some point in the next few days, but I did want to post the answers in case anyone was hanging on.

So here, without further ado...

1. It was a bright clear day in April, and the clocks were striking 13.

As Jim Bliss correctly identified, this was "1984", the classic dystopian novel by George Orwell.

2. What's it going to be then, eh?

Jim also got this, and it's another dystopia. "A clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess.

3. Sophie Amundsen was on her way home from school.

This was solved by Larry T (presumably Teabag). It's a history of philosophy presented as a novel for young adults. "Sophie's World", by Jostein Gaarder

4. When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

I did think of blanking out the character and place names, but in the end chose to stick precisely to the first lines. I'd have been amazed if nobody got this, frankly. It is of course, the first part of JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, "The Fellowship of the Ring". Jim Bliss found it, but if he hadn't I suspect someone else would have.

5. Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around it's outer walls.

Once again, the clue was in the text for anyone that has read this book. It's another fantasy, but unlike Tolkien's drawing in of many strands of myth, this is a far more inward looking vision from Mervyn Peake. It's called Titus Groan, and it's the first part of the Gormenghast trilogy. Beautiful, poetic and decidedly dark in places.

6. We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.

Ah. Another dystopia. This time set in a United States that has undergone a right wing fundamentalist Christian conversion. It's called "The Handmaid's Tale" and it's the best thing I've read by Margaret Attwood. And nobody got it. But that's not surprising.

7. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

Hunter S Thompson's road trip of course. A stone cold classic of late 20th century US fiction, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas". Once again, Jim was first.

8. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.

I really don't know why I included this. I haven't read it. I have no plans to read it. I could have put something like Alfred Bester's "The Demolished Man" or one of Iain M Banks' stories in there, but I saw it on the shelf and thought, "That'll do". Ah well. Larry T's mum recognised it as "Jane Ayre", by Charlotte Bronte.

9. All this happened, more or less.

It's Kurt Vonnegut's semi-autobiographical story of being captured and held in Dresden when it was razed. It's called "Slaughterhouse five", and it's a book that I've read many times. As has Jim Bliss, by the look of things. The book is well known, but making the connection to a first line that contained few clues to the style or content took some doing.

10. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow

Injustice as seen through the eyes of a child. "To Kill a mockingbird" is a book that I first read at school, as did so many other people. It was written by Harper Lee, and the name of the protagonist's brother in the first line may have made this one just a little easier.

11. Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.

Another that nobody got (at least not without looking) and one that I was quite surprised to see go unclaimed. It's quite a memorable line, after all, and it sets the tone for the first part of the book, which is set in a time where humankind was taking it's first tentative steps towards what would one day be us. It's "2001, A Space Oddysey" by Arthur C Clarke.

12. It was a pleasure to burn.

Another thing threading itself through these selections is that although these are novels, the authors are often poets. Vonnegut, Peake, and here, Ray Bradbury. "Fahrenheit 451" is also yet another dystopia. Jim Bliss, again.

13. Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun.

As recognisable as a Beatles Lyric, even without mentioning the names of the characters, this is of course, "The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. Jim Bliss got in first.

14. My suffering left me sad and gloomy.

Both this, and the next story were written in the 21st century. Nobody got either of them. This first one is the story of the son of a zoo-keeper, who uses his knowledge of animal behaviour to stay alive when he is forced to share a liferaft with a tiger. Got it now? If you haven't, it's called "The Life of Pi". It's written by Yann Martel, and it contains some truly memorable bits.

15. It was 7 minutes after midnight.

This is "The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-time." by Mark Haddon. As far as I can tell, he gets into the mind and personality of a young man with autism (who witnesses the slaying of the dog on the night alluded to in the title) brilliantly. It's been a few years since I read it, and I may go read it again soon.

16. The house was named "The Cave"

This is Robert Tressell's classic polemic tale of working class life at the beginning of the 20th Century, "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists". Although it comes across as naive in this day and age, I still find it's a useful compass and filter. Nobody got it, and I'm a little surprised, because I'm forever banging on about it.

17. I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began.

This is of course, "Cider With Rosie", by Laurie Lee, as my wife correctly asserted. Lee was another poet, and his work is shot through with humanity. Beautiful stuff.

18. The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.

Again, this was a somewhat whimsical selection. "The Wind in the Willows", by Kenneth Graham is on my bookshelf, and I have read it, but it's been a good few years since I did. The anthropomorphic first line made it pretty obvious, and Jim Bliss guessed correctly. Lucky Jim.

19. "They made a silly mistake, though" the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually sank beneath the surface of his features at the memory.

"Lucky Jim" indeed. By Kingsley Amis. A tale of shennanigans in the hallowed halls of somewhere or other. Neither Jim, or anyone else knew it.

20. The Primroses were over.

Again, the book is extremely well known, but you'd struggle to get much from the first line here, and I'm not surprised that nobody got it. It's actually another dystopia of sorts. If I were to ask you to name a dystopian novel involving rabbits, what would you say? It would have to be "Watership Down" by Richard Adams of course.

21. It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him.

I suppose if Yossarian's name didn't feature, this would have been more difficult to identify. He made it instantly recognisable to anyone that's read "Catch 22" by Joseph Heller. Maybe I should have put this one in at number 22, just to see if anyone noticed.

22. I am a large man, with big butcher's hands, great oak thighs, rock-jawed head, and massive, thick-lens glasses.

Philosophy, pornography, theology, psychology and anarchy all wrapped neatly into one novel by Luke Rhinehart. "The Dice Man". Jim Bliss caught 22, as well as 21. And 23.

23. The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon.

Boy? Lagoon? It could only be William Golding's "Lord of the Flies".

24. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down the road and this moocow that was coming down the road met a nicens little boy called baby tuckoo

I've tried to read this a few times, but always got somewhat stuck somewhere in the middle. James Joyce is not an easy author to read. "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is no exception. Nobody recognised it. Not even Jim Bliss.

25. For a week Mr R Childan had been anxiously watching the mail

Might as well finish with another dystopia! In this case, the Germans and Japanese won the war, and now control the world. Jim Bliss recognised it as "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K Dick.

So there you have it. Thanks to those that took part. Hope you enjoyed it.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


As you'd expect, from such an erudite and educated person of taste and breeding as myself, I have bookcases (with books) and some of them are fairly well known. So here's a quiz, of first lines of books culled from my bookshelves...

See how you get on without Googling.
  1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
  2. 1984, George Orwell, Jim Bliss
  3. What's it going to be then, eh?
  4. A clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Jim Bliss
  5. Sophie Amundsen was on her way home from school. Sophie's World, Jostein Gaarder, Larry T
  6. When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.The Fellowship of the Ring, JRR Tolkien, Jim Bliss
  7. .Gormenghast, that is, the main massing of the original stone, taken by itself would have displayed a certain ponderous architectural quality were it possible to have ignored the circumfusion of those mean dwellings that swarmed like an epidemic around it's outer walls. Titus Groan, Mervyn Peake, Larry T.
  8. We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
  9. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
  10. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Hunter S Thompson, Jim Bliss
  11. There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. Jane Ayre, Charlotte Bronte, Larry T.
  12. All this happened, more or less. Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt vonnegut, Jim Bliss
  13. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Jim Bliss
  14. Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
  15. It was a pleasure to burn.Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, Jim Bliss
  16. Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small, unregarded yellow sun. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Jim Bliss
  17. My suffering left me sad and gloomy.
  18. It was 7 minutes after midnight.
  19. The house was named "The Cave"
  20. I was set down from the carrier's cart at the age of three; and there with a sense of bewilderment and terror my life in the village began. Cider With Rosia, Laurie Lee, Brenda
  21. The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Graham, Jim Bliss
  22. "They made a silly mistake, though" the Professor of History said, and his smile, as Dixon watched, gradually sank beneath the surface of his features at the memory.
  23. The Primroses were over.
  24. It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Catch 22, Joseph Heller, Jim Bliss
  25. I am a large man, with big butcher's hands, great oak thighs, rock-jawed head, and massive, thick-lens glasses. The Dice Man, Luke Rhinehart, Jim Bliss
  26. The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon. Lord of the Flies, William Golding, Jim BLiss
  27. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down the road and this moocow that was coming down the road met a nicens little boy called baby tuckoo
  28. For a week Mr R Childan had been anxiously watching the mail. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K Dick, Jim Bliss

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Life, The Universe and Everything

You're sat at your computer, playing freecell, and typing crap on a discussion board, and everything is ticking along quite nicely. Not much happening. The computer you're using is happily trickling along, using only a tiny fraction of it's power.

Well why not use that power?!?!!!

That's right.

Be a part of something bigger!

As I'm typing this, my computer is trying to model the climate, and it's looking for signs of intelligent life in space.

Click on the picture to download the software.

Or click HERE if that doesn't work.

Google Earth revisualised as the human body

Lying in bed this morning, I had an idea of sorts.

There are some unusual bits of thew body that could be taken as place names.

I'm thinking of the Islets of Langerhans in particular. In fact that's all I could think of, until it took on a less concrete aspect. I mean, it's perfectly possible that somewhere there's a place called "Eye", or even "The Eye".

Other "places" started to spring to mind.

Finger (and its' sattelite village, Little Finger)
Ditto, Toe.

From Nostril you can get to Upper Lip. The quickest way is to go via Filtrum.

Or you could take the Stomach Bypass and end up somewhere in The Nether Regions.

Via Bell End.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Cerys Eleanor

Fidget Jones is now Cerys Eleanor Jones, but it was something of a struggle.

This morning, my Mum phoned to say that Kate had been taken into theatre, and had given birth to a baby girl, but that there were complications.

No further news. I spent a couple of difficult hours before word came through that Mum and baby were fine. Kate had to have a Caesarian section under general anaesthetic, and had to have a blood transfusion, but they managed to stitch her back together somehow, and they're both going to be OK.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Nature Versus Nurture

I once did a course on psychology (child development). At O level, which tells you how long ago it was. What I remember is that there was a debate about whether behaviour was innate, or whether it was down to environment. The famous nature/nurture debate. If I remember correctly, a guy called John Bowlby reckoned that we are genetically programmed to behave in a certain way, while another guy called Piaget believed that this had little to do with it. It was how you were brought up that made a difference.

After a while, a consensus emerged that we are a culmination of the effects of nurture upon our natural tendencies.

The word, "Nurture" tends to have positive connotations. If someone is nurturing, they are caring, giving, motherly, etc. But in a sense, it's actually neutral. If all the flowers in my garden die, because I haven't bothered to water them, this is as much down to the way I've nurtured them as if they've flourished after I've lavished attention upon their every need.

But what does this have to do with the Whole Damn World???

I suppose it comes down to James Lovelock, and his idea of the World being a living organism (in a sense)

Since we have to power to influence it's development, we have become it's "parents", or at least it's stewards.

But it also does what it does because of forces beyond human control.

So it's also to do with Climate Change Deniers.

I've watched the arguments used by them change over the years, from "Global Warming isn't happening" to "Yes OK, it is happening, but it's a natural process, so we can't/shouldn't do anything about it"

Lately, I've seen that modified in a couple of places I go to online to "Climate Change is happening, and humans are having some effect, but the vast majority of it is natural", and even "Climate change may be happening, and humans may have something to do with this, but it's a good thing, because we will be able to grow crops further north"


They also attempt to misrepresent those that think that AGW is happening as believing that nature has no effect at all, which is ironic given where they, en masse, have come from.

But at least even those who wish not to believe are showing some sign of changing their position.

I suppose this is something to nurture.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Great Oration

One of the most influential books I've read, as I've mentioned before, is "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" by Robert Tressell.

It's a passionately written perspective on Edwardian working class society that resonates today. But it goes beyond just cataloguing the injustices of the system. He proposes an alternative and exaplins how to make the transition.

The most important chapters of the book are "The Great Money Trick", "The Oblong", and "The Great Oration".

The text is freely available through the gutenberg press, but I thought I'd post the relevant bit here anyway.


Philpot had by this time finished his bread and cheese, and, having
taken a final draught of tea, he rose to his feet, and crossing over
to the corner of the room, ascended the pulpit, being immediately
greeted with a tremendous outburst of hooting, howling and booing,
which he smilingly acknowledged by removing his cap from his bald head
and bowing repeatedly. When the storm of shrieks, yells, groans and
catcalls had in some degree subsided, and Philpot was able to make
himself heard, he addressed the meeting as follows:

`Gentlemen: First of all I beg to thank you very sincerely for the
magnificent and cordial reception you have given me on this occasion,
and I shall try to deserve your good opinion by opening the meeting as
briefly as possible.

`Putting all jokes aside, I think we're all agreed about one thing,
and that is, that there's plenty of room for improvement in things in
general. (Hear, hear.) As our other lecturer, Professor Owen,
pointed out in one of 'is lectures and as most of you 'ave read in the
newspapers, although British trade was never so good before as it is
now, there was never so much misery and poverty, and so many people
out of work, and so many small shopkeepers goin' up the spout as there
is at this partickiler time. Now, some people tells us as the way to
put everything right is to 'ave Free Trade and plenty of cheap food.
Well, we've got them all now, but the misery seems to go on all around
us all the same. Then there's other people tells us as the `Friscal
Policy" is the thing to put everything right. ("Hear, hear" from
Crass and several others.) And then there's another lot that ses that
Socialism is the only remedy. Well, we all know pretty well wot Free
Trade and Protection means, but most of us don't know exactly what
Socialism means; and I say as it's the dooty of every man to try and
find out which is the right thing to vote for, and when 'e's found it
out, to do wot 'e can to 'elp to bring it about. And that's the
reason we've gorn to the enormous expense of engaging Professor
Barrington to come 'ere this afternoon and tell us exactly what
Socialism is.

`'As I 'ope you're all just as anxious to 'ear it as I am myself, I
will not stand between you and the lecturer no longer, but will now
call upon 'im to address you.'

Philpot was loudly applauded as he descended from the pulpit, and in
response to the clamorous demands of the crowd, Barrington, who in the
meantime had yielded to Owen's entreaties that he would avail himself
of this opportunity of proclaiming the glad tidings of the good time
that is to be, got up on the steps in his turn.

Harlow, desiring that everything should be done decently and in order,
had meantime arranged in front of the pulpit a carpenter's sawing
stool, and an empty pail with a small piece of board laid across it,
to serve as a seat and a table for the chairman. Over the table he
draped a large red handkerchief. At the right he placed a plumber's
large hammer; at the left, a battered and much-chipped jam-jar, full
of tea. Philpot having taken his seat on the pail at this table and
announced his intention of bashing out with the hammer the brains of
any individual who ventured to disturb the meeting, Barrington

`Mr Chairman and Gentlemen. For the sake of clearness, and in order
to avoid confusing one subject with another, I have decided to divide
the oration into two parts. First, I will try to explain as well as I
am able what Socialism is. I will try to describe to you the plan or
system upon which the Co-operative Commonwealth of the future will be
organized; and, secondly, I will try to tell you how it can be brought
about. But before proceeding with the first part of the subject, I
would like to refer very slightly to the widespread delusion that
Socialism is impossible because it means a complete change from an
order of things which has always existed. We constantly hear it said
that because there have always been rich and poor in the world, there
always must be. I want to point out to you first of all, that it is
not true that even in its essential features, the present system has
existed from all time; it is not true that there have always been rich
and poor in the world, in the sense that we understand riches and
poverty today.

`These statements are lies that have been invented for the purpose of
creating in us a feeling of resignation to the evils of our condition.
They are lies which have been fostered by those who imagine that it is
to their interest that we should be content to see our children
condemned to the same poverty and degradation that we have endured

I do not propose - because there is not time, although it is really
part of my subject - to go back to the beginnings of history, and
describe in detail the different systems of social organization which
evolved from and superseded each other at different periods, but it is
necessary to remind you that the changes that have taken place in the
past have been even greater than the change proposed by Socialists
today. The change from savagery and cannibalism when men used to
devour the captives they took in war - to the beginning of chattel
slavery, when the tribes or clans into which mankind were divided -
whose social organization was a kind of Communism, all the individuals
belonging to the tribe being practically social equals, members of one
great family - found it more profitable to keep their captives as
slaves than to eat them. The change from the primitive Communism of
the tribes, into the more individualistic organization of the nations,
and the development of private ownership of the land and slaves and
means of subsistence. The change from chattel slavery into Feudalism;
and the change from Feudalism into the earlier form of Capitalism; and
the equally great change from what might be called the individualistic
capitalism which displaced Feudalism, to the system of Co-operative
Capitalism and Wage Slavery of today.'

`I believe you must 'ave swollered a bloody dictionary,' exclaimed the
man behind the moat.

`Keep horder" shouted Philpot, fiercely, striking the table with the
hammer, and there were loud shouts of `Chair' and `Chuck 'im out,'
from several quarters.

When order was restored, the lecturer proceeded:

`So it is not true that practically the suite state of affairs as we
have today has always existed. It is not true that anything like the
poverty that prevails at present existed at any previous period of the
world's history. When the workers were the property of their masters,
it was to their owners' interest to see that they were properly
clothed and fed; they were not allowed to be idle, and they were not
allowed to starve. Under Feudalism also, although there were certain
intolerable circumstances, the position of the workers was,
economically, infinitely better than it is today. The worker was in
subjection to his Lord, but in return his lord had certain
responsibilities and duties to perform, and there was a large measure
of community of interest between them.

`I do not intend to dwell upon this pout at length, but in support of
what I have said I will quote as nearly as I can from memory the words
of the historian Froude.

`"I do not believe," says Mr Froude, "that the condition of the people
in Mediaeval Europe was as miserable as is pretended. I do not
believe that the distribution of the necessaries of life was as
unequal as it is at present. If the tenant lived hard, the lord had
little luxury. Earls and countesses breakfasted at five in the
morning, on salt beef and herring, a slice of bread and a draught of
ale from a blackjack. Lords and servants dined in the same hall and
shared the same meal."

`When we arrive at the system that displaced Feudalism, we find that
the condition of the workers was better in every way than it is at
present. The instruments of production - the primitive machinery and
the tools necessary for the creation of wealth - belonged to the
skilled workers who used them, and the things they produced were also
the property of those who made them.

`In those days a master painter, a master shoemaker, a master saddler,
or any other master tradesmen, was really a skilled artisan working on
his own account. He usually had one or two apprentices, who were
socially his equals, eating at the same table and associating with the
other members of his family. It was quite a common occurrence for the
apprentice - after he had attained proficiency in his work - to marry
his master's daughter and succeed to his master's business. In those
days to be a "master" tradesman meant to be master of the trade, not
merely of some underpaid drudges in one's employment. The apprentices
were there to master the trade, qualifying themselves to become master
workers themselves; not mere sweaters and exploiters of the labour of
others, but useful members of society. In those days, because there
was no labour-saving machinery the community was dependent for its
existence on the productions of hand labour. Consequently the
majority of the people were employed in some kind of productive work,
and the workers were honoured and respected citizens, living in
comfort on the fruits of their labour. They were not rich as we
understand wealth now, but they did not starve and they were not
regarded with contempt, as are their successors of today.

`The next great change came with the introduction of steam machinery.
That power came to the aid of mankind in their struggle for existence,
enabling them to create easily and in abundance those things of which
they had previously been able to produce only a bare sufficiency. A
wonderful power - equalling and surpassing the marvels that were
imagined by the writers of fairy tales and Eastern stories - a power
so vast - so marvellous, that it is difficult to find words to convey
anything like an adequate conception of it.

`We all remember the story, in The Arabian Nights, of Aladdin, who in
his poverty became possessed of the Wonderful Lamp and - he was poor
no longer. He merely had to rub the Lamp - the Genie appeared, and at
Aladdin's command he produced an abundance of everything that the
youth could ask or dream of. With the discovery of steam machinery,
mankind became possessed of a similar power to that imagined by the
Eastern writer. At the command of its masters the Wonderful Lamp of
Machinery produces an enormous, overwhelming, stupendous abundance and
superfluity of every material thing necessary for human existence and
happiness. With less labour than was formerly required to cultivate
acres, we can now cultivate miles of land. In response to human
industry, aided by science and machinery, the fruitful earth teems
with such lavish abundance as was never known or deemed possible
before. If you go into the different factories and workshops you will
see prodigious quantities of commodities of every kind pouring out of
the wonderful machinery, literally like water from a tap.

`One would naturally and reasonably suppose that the discovery or
invention of such an aid to human industry would result in increased
happiness and comfort for every one; but as you all know, the reverse
is the case; and the reason of that extraordinary result, is the
reason of all the poverty and unhappiness that we see around us and
endure today - it is simply because - the machinery became the
property of a comparatively few individuals and private companies, who
use it not for the benefit of the community but to create profits for

`As this labour-saving machinery became more extensively used, the
prosperous class of skilled workers gradually disappeared. Some of
the wealthier of them became distributers instead of producers of
wealth; that is to say, they became shopkeepers, retailing the
commodities that were produced for the most part by machinery. But
the majority of them in course of time degenerated into a class of
mere wage earners, having no property in the machines they used, and
no property in the things they made.

`They sold their labour for so much per hour, and when they could not
find any employer to buy it from them, they were reduced to

`Whilst the unemployed workers were starving and those in employment
not much better off, the individuals and private companies who owned
the machinery accumulated fortunes; but their profits were diminished
and their working expenses increased by what led to the latest great
change in the organization of the production of the necessaries of
life - the formation of the Limited Companies and the Trusts; the
decision of the private companies to combine and co-operate with each
other in order to increase their profits and decrease their working
expenses. The results of these combines have been - an increase in
the quantities of the things produced: a decrease in the number of
wage earners employed - and enormously increased profits for the

`But it is not only the wage-earning class that is being hurt; for
while they are being annihilated by the machinery and the efficient
organization of industry by the trusts that control and are beginning
to monopolize production, the shopkeeping classes are also being
slowly but surely crushed out of existence by the huge companies that
are able by the greater magnitude of their operations to buy and sell
more cheaply than the small traders.

`The consequence of all this is that the majority of the people are in
a condition of more or less abject poverty - living from hand to
mouth. It is an admitted fact that about thirteen millions of our
people are always on the verge of starvation. The significant results
of this poverty face us on every side. The alarming and persistent
increase of insanity. The large number of would-be recruits for the
army who have to be rejected because they are physically unfit; and
the shameful condition of the children of the poor. More than
one-third of the children of the working classes in London have some
sort of mental or physical defect; defects in development; defects of
eyesight; abnormal nervousness; rickets, and mental dullness. The
difference in height and weight and general condition of the children
in poor schools and the children of the so-called better classes,
constitutes a crime that calls aloud to Heaven for vengeance upon
those who are responsible for it.

`It is childish to imagine that any measure of Tariff Reform or
Political Reform such as a paltry tax on foreign-made goods or
abolishing the House of Lords, or disestablishing the Church - or
miserable Old Age Pensions, or a contemptible tax on land, can deal
with such a state of affairs as this. They have no House of Lords in
America or France, and yet their condition is not materially different
from ours. You may be deceived into thinking that such measures as
those are great things. You may fight for them and vote for them, but
after you have got them you will find that they will make no
appreciable improvement in your condition. You will still have to
slave and drudge to gain a bare sufficiency of the necessaries of
life. You will still have to eat the same kind of food and wear the
same kind of clothes and boots as now. Your masters will still have
you in their power to insult and sweat and drive. Your general
condition will be just the same as at present because such measures as
those are not remedies but red herrings, intended by those who trail
them to draw us away from the only remedy, which is to be found only
in the Public Ownership of the Machinery, and the National
Organization of Industry for the production and distribution of the
necessaries of life, not for the profit of a few but for the benefit
of all!

`That is the next great change; not merely desirable, but imperatively
necessary and inevitable! That is Socialism!

`It is not a wild dream of Superhuman Unselfishness. No one will be
asked to sacrifice himself for the benefit of others or to love his
neighbours better than himself as is the case under the present
system, which demands that the majority shall unselfishly be content
to labour and live in wretchedness for the benefit of a few. There is
no such principle of Philanthropy in Socialism, which simply means
that even as all industries are now owned by shareholders, and
organized and directed by committees and officers elected by the
shareholders, so shall they in future belong to the State, that is,
the whole people - and they shall be organized and directed by
committees and officers elected by the community.

`Under existing circumstances the community is exposed to the danger
of being invaded and robbed and massacred by some foreign power.
Therefore the community has organized and owns and controls an Army
and Navy to protect it from that danger. Under existing circumstances
the community is menaced by another equally great danger - the people
are mentally and physically degenerating from lack of proper food and
clothing. Socialists say that the community should undertake and
organize the business of producing and distributing all these things;
that the State should be the only employer of labour and should own
all the factories, mills, mines, farms, railways, fishing fleets,
sheep farms, poultry farms and cattle ranches.

`Under existing circumstances the community is degenerating mentally
and physically because the majority cannot afford to have decent
houses to live in. Socialists say that the community should take in
hand the business of providing proper houses for all its members, that
the State should be the only landlord, that all the land and all the
houses should belong to the whole people...

`We must do this if we are to keep our old place in the van of human
progress. A nation of ignorant, unintelligent, half-starved,
broken-spirited degenerates cannot hope to lead humanity in its
never-ceasing march onward to the conquest of the future.

`Vain. mightiest fleet of iron framed;
Vain the all-shattering guns
Unless proud England keep, untamed,
The stout hearts of her sons.

`All the evils that I have referred to are only symptoms of the one
disease that is sapping the moral, mental and physical life of the
nation, and all attempts to cure these symptoms are foredoomed to
failure, simply because they are the symptoms and not the disease.
All the talk of Temperance, and the attempts to compel temperance, are
foredoomed to failure, because drunkenness is a symptom, and not the

`India is a rich productive country. Every year millions of pounds
worth of wealth are produced by her people, only to be stolen from
them by means of the Money Trick by the capitalist and official class.
Her industrious sons and daughters, who are nearly all tdtal
abstainers, live in abject poverty, and their misery is not caused by
laziness or want of thrift, or by Intemperance. They are poor for the
same reason that we are poor - Because we are Robbed.

`The hundreds of thousands of pounds that are yearly wasted in
well-meant but useless charity accomplish no lasting good, because
while charity soothes the symptoms it ignores the disease, which is -
the PRIVATE OWNERSHIP of the means of producing the necessaries of
life, and the restriction of production, by a few selfish individuals
for their own profit. And for that disease there is no other remedy
than the one I have told you of - the PUBLIC OWNERSHIP and cultivation
of the land, the PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF the mines, railways, canals,
ships, factories and all the other means of production, and the
establishment of an Industrial Civil Service - a National Army of
Industry - for the purpose of producing the necessaries, comforts and
refinements of life in that abundance which has been made possible by
science and machinery - for the use and benefit of THE WHOLE OF THE

`Yes: and where's the money to come from for all this?' shouted Crass,

`Hear, hear,' cried the man behind the moat.

`There's no money difficulty about it,' replied Barrington. `We can
easily find all the money we shall need.'

`Of course,' said Slyme, who had been reading the Daily Ananias,
`there's all the money in the Post Office Savings Bank. The
Socialists could steal that for a start; and as for the mines and land
and factories, they can all be took from the owners by force.'

`There will be no need for force and no need to steal anything from

`And there's another thing I objects to,' said Crass. `And that's all
this 'ere talk about hignorance: wot about all the money wots spent
every year for edication?'

`You should rather say - "What about all the money that's wasted every
year on education?" What can be more brutal and senseless than trying
to "educate" a poor little, hungry, ill-clad child? Such so-called
"instruction" is like the seed in the parable of the Sower, which fell
on stony ground and withered away because it had no depth of earth;
and even in those cases where it does take root and grow, it becomes
like the seed that fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked
it, and it bore no fruit.

`The majority of us forget in a year or two all that we learnt at
school because the conditions of our lives are such as to destroy all
inclination for culture or refinement. We must see that the children
are properly clothed and fed and that they are not made to get up in
the middle of the night to go to work for several hours before they go
to school. We must make it illegal for any greedy, heartless
profit-hunter to hire them and make them labour for several hours in
the evening after school, or all day and till nearly midnight on
Saturday. We must first see that our children are cared for, as well
as the children of savage races, before we can expect a proper return
for the money that we spend on education.'

`I don't mind admitting that this 'ere scheme of national ownership
and industries is all right if it could only be done,' said Harlow,
`but at present, all the land, railways and factories, belongs to
private capitalists; they can't be bought without money, and you say
you ain't goin' to take 'em away by force, so I should like to know
how the bloody 'ell you are goin' to get 'em?'

`We certainly don't propose to buy them with money, for the simple
reason that there is not sufficient money in existence to pay for them.

`If all the gold and silver money in the World were gathered together
into one heap, it would scarcely be sufficient to buy all the private
property in England. The people who own all these things now never
really paid for them with money - they obtained possession of them by
means of the "Money Trick" which Owen explained to us some time ago.'

`They obtained possession of them by usin' their brain,' said Crass.
`Exactly,' replied the lecturer. `They tell us themselves that that
is how they got them away from us; they call their profits the "wages
of intelligence". Whilst we have been working, they have been using
their intelligence in order to obtain possession of the things we have
created. The time has now arrived for us to use our intelligence in
order to get back the things they have robbed us of, aid to prevent
them from robbing us any more. As for how it is to be done, we might
copy the methods that they have found so successful.'

`Oh, then you DO mean to rob them after all,' cried Slyme,
triumphantly. `If it's true that they robbed the workers, and if
we're to adopt the same method then we'll be robbers too!'

`When a thief is caught having in his possession the property of
others it is not robbery to take the things away from him and to
restore them to their rightful owners,' retorted Barrington.

`I can't allow this 'ere disorder to go on no longer,' shouted
Philpot, banging the table with the plumber's hammer as several men
began talking at the same time.

`There will be plenty of tuneropperty for questions and opposition at
the hend of the horation, when the pulpit will be throwed open to
anyone as likes to debate the question. I now calls upon the
professor to proceed with the second part of the horation: and anyone
wot interrupts will get a lick under the ear-'ole with this' - waving
the hammer - `and the body will be chucked out of the bloody winder.'

Loud cheers greeted this announcement. It was still raining heavily,
so they thought they might as well pass the time listening to
Barrington as in any other way.

`A large part of the land may be got back in the same way as it was
taken from us. The ancestors of the present holders obtained
possession of it by simply passing Acts of Enclosure: the nation
should regain possession of those lands by passing Acts of Resumption.
And with regard to the other land, the present holders should be
allowed to retain possession of it during their lives and then it
should revert to the State, to be used for the benefit of all.
Britain should belong to the British people, not to a few selfish
individuals. As for the railways, they have already been nationalized
in some other countries, and what other countries can do we can do
also. In New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Germany, Belgium,
Italy, Japan and some other countries some of the railways are already
the property of the State. As for the method by which we can obtain
possession of them, the difficulty is not to discover a method, but
rather to decide which of many methods we shall adopt. One method
would be to simply pass an Act declaring that as it was contrary to
the public interest that they should be owned by private individuals,
the railways would henceforth be the property of the nation. All
railways servants, managers and officials would continue in their
employment; the only difference being that they would now be in the
employ of the State. As to the shareholders -'

`They could all be knocked on the 'ead, I suppose,' interrupted Crass.

`Or go to the workhouse,' said Slyme.

`Or to 'ell,' suggested the man behind the moat.

`- The State would continue to pay to the shareholders the same
dividends they had received on an average for, say, the previous three
years. These payments would be continued to the present shareholders
for life, or the payments might be limited to a stated number of years
and the shares would be made non-transferable, like the railway
tickets of today. As for the factories, shops, and other means of
production and distribution, the State must adopt the same methods of
doing business as the present owners. I mean that even as the big
Trusts and companies are crushing - by competition - the individual
workers and small traders, so the State should crush the trusts by
competition. It is surely justifiable for the State to do for the
benefit of the whole people that which the capitalists are already
doing for the profit of a few shareholders. The first step in this
direction will be the establishment of Retail Stores for the purpose
of supplying all national and municipal employees with the necessaries
of life at the lowest possible prices. At first the Administration
will purchase these things from the private manufacturers, in such
large quantities that it will be able to obtain them at the very
cheapest rate, and as there will be no heavy rents to pay for showy
shops, and no advertising expenses, and as the object of the
Administration will be not to make profit, but to supply its workmen
and officials with goods at the lowest price, they will be able to
sell them much cheaper than the profit-making private stores.

`The National Service Retail Stores will be for the benefit of only
those in the public service; and gold, silver or copper money will not
be accepted in payment for the things sold. At first, all public
servants will continue to be paid in metal money, but those who desire
it will be paid all or part of their wages in paper money of the same
nominal value, which will be accepted in payment for their purchases
at the National Stores and at the National Hotels, Restaurants and
other places which will be established for the convenience of those in
the State service. The money will resemble bank-notes. It will be
made of a special very strong paper, and will be of all value, from a
penny to a pound.

`As the National Service Stores will sell practically everything that
could be obtained elsewhere, and as twenty shillings in paper money
will be able to purchase much more at the stores than twenty shillings
of metal money would purchase anywhere else, it will not be long
before nearly all public servants will prefer to be paid in paper
money. As far as paying the salaries and wages of most of its
officials and workmen is concerned, the Administration will not then
have any need of metal money. But it will require metal money to pay
the private manufacturers who supply the goods sold in the National
Stores. But - all these things are made by labour; so in order to
avoid having to pay metal money for them, the State will now commence
to employ productive labour. All the public land suitable for the
purpose will be put into cultivation and State factories will be
established for manufacturing food, boots, clothing, furniture and all
other necessaries and comforts of life. All those who are out of
employment and willing to work, will be given employment on these
farms and in these factories. In order that the men employed shall
not have to work unpleasantly hard, and that their hours of labour may
be as short as possible - at first, say, eight hours per day - and
also to make sure that the greatest possible quantity of everything
shall be produced, these factories and farms will be equipped with the
most up-to-date and efficient labour-saving machinery. The people
employed in the farms and factories will be paid with paper money...
The commodities they produce will go to replenish the stocks of the
National Service Stores, where the workers will be able to purchase
with their paper money everything they need.

`As we shall employ the greatest possible number of labour-saving
machines, and adopt the most scientific methods in our farms and
factories, the quantities of goods we shall be able to produce will be
so enormous that we shall be able to pay our workers very high wages -
in paper money - and we shall be able to sell our produce so cheaply,
that all public servants will be able to enjoy abundance of

`When the workers who are being exploited and sweated by the private
capitalists realize how much worse off they are than the workers in
the employ of the State, they will come and ask to be allowed to work
for the State, and also, for paper money. That will mean that the
State Army of Productive Workers will be continually increasing in
numbers. More State factories will be built, more land will be put
into cultivation. Men will be given employment making bricks,
woodwork, paints, glass, wallpapers and all kinds of building
materials and others will be set to work building - on State land -
beautiful houses, which will be let to those employed in the service
of the State. The rent will be paid with paper money.

`State fishing fleets will be established and the quantities of
commodities of all kinds produced will be so great that the State
employees and officials will not be able to use it all. With their
paper money they will be able to buy enough and more than enough to
satisfy all their needs abundantly, but there will still be a great
and continuously increasing surplus stock in the possession of the

`The Socialist Administration will now acquire or build fleets of
steam trading vessels, which will of course be manned and officered by
State employees - the same as the Royal Navy is now. These fleets of
National trading vessels will carry the surplus stocks I have
mentioned, to foreign countries, and will there sell or exchange them
for some of the products of those countries, things that we do not
produce ourselves. These things will be brought to England and sold
at the National Service Stores, at the lowest possible price, for
paper money, to those in the service of the State. This of course
will only have the effect of introducing greater variety into the
stocks - it will not diminish the surplus: and as there would be no
sense in continuing to produce more of these things than necessary, it
would then be the duty of the Administration to curtail or restrict
production of the necessaries of life. This could be done by reducing
the hours of the workers without reducing their wages so as to enable
them to continue to purchase as much as before.

`Another way of preventing over production of mere necessaries and
comforts will be to employ a large number of workers producing the
refinements and pleasures of life, more artistic houses, furniture,
pictures, musical instruments and so forth.

`In the centre of every district a large Institute or pleasure house
could be erected, containing a magnificently appointed and decorated
theatre; Concert Hall, Lecture Hall, Gymnasium, Billiard Rooms,
Reading Rooms, Refreshment Rooms, and so on. A detachment of the
Industrial Army would be employed as actors, artistes, musicians,
singers and entertainers. In fact everyone that could be spared from
the most important work of all - that of producing the necessaries of
life - would be employed in creating pleasure, culture, and education.
All these people - like the other branches of the public service -
would be paid with paper money, and with it all of them would be able
to purchase abundance of all those things which constitute

`Meanwhile, as a result of all this, the kind-hearted private
employers and capitalists would find that no one would come and work
for them to be driven and bullied and sweated for a miserable trifle
of metal money that is scarcely enough to purchase sufficient of the
necessaries of life to keep body and soul together.

`These kind-hearted capitalists will protest against what they will
call the unfair competition of State industry, and some of them may
threaten to leave the country and take their capital with them... As
most of these persons are too lazy to work, and as we will not need
their money, we shall be very glad to see them go. But with regard to
their real capital - their factories, farms, mines or machinery - that
will be a different matter... To allow these things to remain idle
and unproductive would constitute an injury to the community. So a
law will be passed, declaring that all land not cultivated by the
owner, or any factory shut down for more than a specified time, will
be taken possession of by the State and worked for the benefit of the
community... Fair compensation will be paid in paper money to the
former owners, who will be granted an income or pension of so much a
year either for life or for a stated period according to circumstances
and the ages of the persons concerned.

`As for the private traders, the wholesale and retail dealers in the
things produced by labour, they will be forced by the State
competition to close down their shops and warehouses - first, because
they will not be able to replenish their stocks; and, secondly,
because even if they were able to do so, they would not be able to
sell them. This will throw out of work a great host of people who are
at present engaged in useless occupations; the managers and assistants
in the shops of which we now see half a dozen of the same sort in a
single street; the thousands of men and women who are slaving away
their lives producing advertisements, for, in most cases, a miserable
pittance of metal money, with which many of them are unable to procure
sufficient of the necessaries of life to secure them from starvation.

`The masons, carpenters, painters. glaziers, and all the others
engaged in maintaining these unnecessary stores and shops will all be
thrown out of employment, but all of them who are willing to work will
be welcomed by the State and will be at once employed helping either
to produce or distribute the necessaries and comforts of life. They
will have to work fewer hours than before... They will not have to
work so hard - for there will be no need to drive or bully, because
there will be plenty of people to do the work, and most of it will be
done by machinery - and with their paper money they will be able to
buy abundance of the things they help to produce. The shops and
stores where these people were formerly employed will be acquired by
the State, which will pay the former owners fair compensation in the
same manner as to the factory owners. Some of the buildings will be
utilized by the State as National Service Stores, others transformed
into factories and others will be pulled down to make room for
dwellings, or public buildings... It will be the duty of the
Government to build a sufficient number of houses to accommodate the
families of all those in its employment, and as a consequence of this
and because of the general disorganization and decay of what is now
called "business", all other house property of all kinds will rapidly
depreciate in value. The slums and the wretched dwellings now
occupied by the working classes - the miserable, uncomfortable,
jerry-built "villas" occupied by the lower middle classes and by
"business" people, will be left empty and valueless upon the hands of
their rack renting landlords, who will very soon voluntarily offer to
hand them and the ground they stand upon to the state on the same
terms as those accorded to the other property owners, namely - in
return for a pension. Some of these people will be content to live in
idleness on the income allowed them for life as compensation by the
State: others will devote themselves to art or science and some others
will offer their services to the community as managers and
superintendents, and the State will always be glad to employ all those
who are willing to help in the Great Work of production and

`By this time the nation will be the sole employer of labour, and as
no one will be able to procure the necessaries of life without paper
money, and as the only way to obtain this will be working, it will
mean that every mentally and physically capable person in the
community will be helping in the great work of PRODUCTION and
DISTRIBUTION. We shall not need as at present, to maintain a police
force to protect the property of the idle rich from the starving
wretches whom they have robbed. There will be no unemployed and no
overlapping of labour, which will be organized and concentrated for
the accomplishment of the only rational object - the creation of the
things we require... For every one labour-saving machine in use
today, we will, if necessary, employ a thousand machines! and
consequently there will be produced such a stupendous, enormous,
prodigious, overwhelming abundance of everything that soon the
Community will be faced once more with the serious problem of

`To deal with this, it will be necessary to reduce the hours of our
workers to four or five hours a day... All young people will be
allowed to continue at public schools and universities and will not be
required to take any part in the work or the nation until they are
twenty-one years of age. At the age of forty-five, everyone will be
allowed to retire from the State service on full pay... All these
will be able to spend the rest of their days according to their own
inclinations; some will settle down quietly at home, and amuse
themselves in the same ways as people of wealth and leisure do at the
present day - with some hobby, or by taking part in the organization
of social functions, such as balls, parties, entertainments, the
organization of Public Games and Athletic Tournaments, Races and all
kinds of sports.

`Some will prefer to continue in the service of the State. Actors,
artists, sculptors, musicians and others will go on working for their
own pleasure and honour... Some will devote their leisure to science,
art, or literature. Others will prefer to travel on the State
steamships to different parts of the world to see for themselves all
those things of which most of us have now but a dim and vague
conception. The wonders of India and Egypt, the glories of Rome, the
artistic treasures of the continent and the sublime scenery of other

`Thus - for the first time in the history of humanity - the benefits
and pleasures conferred upon mankind by science and civilization will
be enjoyed equally by all, upon the one condition, that they shall do
their share of the work, that is necessary in order to, make all these
things possible.

`These are the principles upon which the CO-OPERATIVE COMMONWEALTH of
the future will be organized. The State in which no one will be
distinguished or honoured above his fellows except for Virtue or
Talent. Where no man will find his profit in another's loss, and we
shall no longer be masters and servants, but brothers, free men, and
friends. Where there will be no weary, broken men and women passing
their joyless lives in toil and want, and no little children crying
because they are hungry or cold.

`A State wherein it will be possible to put into practice the
teachings of Him whom so many now pretend to follow. A society which
shall have justice and co-operation for its foundation, and
International Brotherhood and love for its law.

`Such are the days that shall be! but
What are the deeds of today,
In the days of the years we dwell in,
That wear our lives away?
Why, then, and for what we are waiting?
There are but three words to speak
"We will it," and what is the foreman
but the dream strong wakened and weak?
`Oh, why and for what are we waiting, while
our brothers droop and die?
And on every wind of the heavens, a
wasted life goes by.
`How long shall they reproach us, where
crowd on crowd they dwell
Poor ghosts of the wicked city,
gold crushed, hungry hell?
`Through squalid life they laboured in
sordid grief they died
Those sons of a mighty mother, those
props of England's pride.
They are gone, there is none can undo
it, nor save our souls from the curse,
But many a million cometh, and shall
they be better or worse?

`It is We must answer and hasten and open wide the door,
For the rich man's hurrying terror, and the slow foot hope of
the poor,
Yea, the voiceless wrath of the wretched and their unlearned
We must give it voice and wisdom, till the waiting tide be
Come then since all things call us, the living and the dead,
And o'er the weltering tangle a glimmering light is shed.'

As Barrington descended from the Pulpit and walked back to his
accustomed seat, a loud shout of applause burst from a few men in the
crowd, who stood up and waved their caps and cheered again and again.
When order was restored, Philpot rose and addressed the meeting:

`Is there any gentleman wot would like to ask the Speaker a question?'

No one spoke and the Chairman again put the question without obtaining
any response, but at length one of the new hands who had been `taken
on' about a week previously to replace another painter who had been
sacked for being too slow - stood up and said there was one point that
he would like a little more information about. This man had two
patches on the seat of his trousers, which were also very much frayed
and ragged at the bottoms of the legs: the lining of his coat was all
in rags, as were also the bottoms of the sleeves; his boots were old
and had been many times mended and patched; the sole of one of them
had begun to separate from the upper and he had sewn these parts
together with a few stitches of copper wire. He had been out of
employment for several weeks and it was evident from the pinched
expression of his still haggard face that during that time he had not
had sufficient to eat. This man was not a drunkard, neither was he
one of those semi-mythical persons who are too lazy to work. He was
married and had several children. One of them, a boy of fourteen
years old, earned five shillings a week as a light porter at a

Being a householder the man had a vote, but he had never hitherto
taken much interest in what he called `politics'. In his opinion,
those matters were not for the likes of him. He believed in leaving
such difficult subjects to be dealt with by his betters. In his
present unhappy condition he was a walking testimonial to the wisdom
and virtue and benevolence of those same `betters' who have hitherto
managed the affairs of the world with results so very satisfactory for

`I should like to ask the speaker,' he said, `supposin' all this that
'e talks about is done - what's to become of the King, and the Royal
Family, and all the Big Pots?'

`'Ear, 'ear,' cried Crass, eagerly - and Ned Dawson and the man behind
the moat both said that that was what they would like to know, too.

`I am much more concerned about what is to become of ourselves if
these things are not done,' replied Barrington. `I think we should
try to cultivate a little more respect of our own families and to
concern ourselves a little less about "Royal" Families. I fail to see
any reason why we should worry ourselves about those people; they're
all right - they have all they need, and as far as I am aware, nobody
wishes to harm them and they are well able to look after themselves.
They will fare the same as the other rich people.'

`I should like to ask,' said Harlow, `wot's to become of all the gold
and silver and copper money? Wouldn't it be of no use at all?'

`It would be of far more use under Socialism than it is at present.
The State would of course become possessed of a large quantity of it
in the early stages of the development of the Socialist system,
because - at first - while the State would be paying all its officers
and productive workers in paper, the rest of the community - those not
in State employ - would be paying their taxes in gold as at present.
All travellers on the State railways - other than State employees -
would pay their fares in metal money, and gold and silver would pour
into the State Treasury from many other sources. The State would
receive gold and silver and - for the most part - pay out paper. By
the time the system of State employment was fully established, gold
and silver would only be of value as metal and the State would
purchase it from whoever possessed and wished to sell it - at so much
per pound as raw material: instead of hiding it away in the vaults of
banks, or locking it up in iron safes, we shall make use of it. Some
of the gold will be manufactured into articles of jewellery, to be
sold for paper money and worn by the sweethearts and wives and
daughters of the workers; some of it will be beaten out into gold leaf
to be used in the decoration of the houses of the citizens and of
public buildings. As for the silver, it will be made into various
articles of utility for domestic use. The workers will not then, as
now, have to eat their food with poisonous lead or brass spoons and
forks, we shall have these things of silver and if there is not enough
silver we shall probably have a non-poisonous alloy of that metal.'

`As far as I can make out,' said Harlow, `the paper money will be just
as valuable as gold and silver is now. Well, wot's to prevent artful
dodgers like old Misery and Rushton saving it up and buying and
selling things with it, and so livin' without work?'

`Of course,' said Crass, scornfully. `It would never do!'

`That's a very simple matter; any man who lives without doing any
useful work is living on the labour of others, he is robbing others of
part of the result of their labour. The object of Socialism is to
stop this robbery, to make it impossible. So no one will be able to
hoard up or accumulate the paper money because it will be dated, and
will become worthless if it is not spent within a certain time after
its issue. As for buying and selling for profit - from whom would
they buy? And to whom would they sell?'

`Well, they might buy some of the things the workers didn't want, for
less than the workers paid for them, and then they could sell 'em

`They'd have to sell them for less than the price charged at the
National Stores, and if you think about it a little you'll see that it
would not be very profitable. It would be with the object of
preventing any attempts at private trading that the Administration
would refuse to pay compensation to private owners in a lump sum. All
such compensations would be paid, as I said, in the form of a pension
of so much per year.

`Another very effective way to prevent private trading would be to
make it a criminal offence against the well-being of the community.
At present many forms of business are illegal unless you take out a
licence; under Socialism no one would be allowed to trade without a
licence, and no licences would be issued.'

`Wouldn't a man be allowed to save up his money if he wanted to,
demanded Slyme with indignation.

`There will be nothing to prevent a man going without some of the
things he might have if he is foolish enough to do so, but he would
never be able to save up enough to avoid doing his share of useful
service. Besides, what need would there be for anyone to save? One's
old age would be provided for. No one could ever be out of
employment. If one was ill the State hospitals and Medical Service
would be free. As for one's children, they would attend the State
Free Schools and Colleges and when of age they would enter the State
Service, their futures provided for. Can you tell us why anyone would
need or wish to save?'

Slyme couldn't.

`Are there any more questions?' demanded Philpot.

`While we are speaking of money,' added Barrington, `I should like to
remind you that even under the present system there are many things
which cost money to maintain, that we enjoy without having to pay for
directly. The public roads and pavements cost money to make and
maintain and light. So do the parks, museums and bridges. But they
are free to all. Under a Socialist Administration this principle will
be extended - in addition to the free services we enjoy now we shall
then maintain the trains and railways for the use of the public, free.
And as time goes on, this method of doing business will be adopted in
many other directions.'

`I've read somewhere,' said Harlow, `that whenever a Government in any
country has started issuing paper money it has always led to
bankruptcy. How do you know that the same thing would not happen
under a Socialist Administration?'

`'Ear, 'ear,' said Crass. `I was just goin' to say the same thing.'

`If the Government of a country began to issue large amounts of paper
money under the present system,' Barrington replied, `it would
inevitably lead to bankruptcy, for the simple reason that paper money
under the present system - bank-notes, bank drafts, postal orders,
cheques or any other form - is merely a printed promise to pay the
amount - in gold or silver - on demand or at a certain date. Under
the present system if a Government issues more paper money than it
possesses gold and silver to redeem, it is of course bankrupt. But
the paper money that will be issued under a Socialist Administration
will not be a promise to pay in gold or silver on demand or at any
time. It will be a promise to supply commodities to the amount
specified on the note, and as there could be no dearth of those things
there could be no possibility of bankruptcy.'

`I should like to know who's goin' to appoint the hofficers of this
'ere hindustrial harmy,' said the man on the pail. `We don't want to
be bullied and chivied and chased about by a lot of sergeants and
corporals like a lot of soldiers, you know.'

`'Ear. 'ear,' said Crass. `You must 'ave some masters. Someone's got
to be in charge of the work.'

`We don't have to put up with any bullying or chivying or chasing now,
do we?' said Barrington. `So of course we could not have anything of
that sort under Socialism. We could not put up with it at all! Even
if it were only for four or five hours a day. Under the present
system we have no voice in appointing our masters and overseers and
foremen - we have no choice as to what master we shall work under. If
our masters do not treat us fairly we have no remedy against them.
Under Socialism it will be different; the workers will be part of the
community; the officers or managers and foremen will be the servants
of the community, and if any one of these men were to abuse his
position he could be promptly removed. As for the details of the
organization of the Industrial Army, the difficulty is, again, not so
much to devise a way, but to decide which of many ways would be the
best, and the perfect way will probably be developed only after
experiment and experience. The one thing we have to hold fast to is
the fundamental principle of State employment or National service.
Production for use and not for profit. The national organization of
industry under democratic control. One way of arranging this business
would be for the community to elect a Parliament in much the same way
as is done at present. The only persons eligible for election to be
veterans of the industrial Army, men and women who had put in their
twenty-five years of service.

`This Administrative Body would have control of the different State
Departments. There would be a Department of Agriculture, a Department
of Railways and so on, each with its minister and staff.

`All these Members of Parliament would be the relatives - in some
cases the mothers and fathers of those in the Industrial Service, and
they would be relied upon to see that the conditions of that service
were the best possible.

`As for the different branches of the State Service, they could be
organized on somewhat the same lines as the different branches of the
Public Service are now - like the Navy, the Post Office and as the
State Railways in some other countries, or as are the different
branches of the Military Army, with the difference that all promotions
will be from the ranks, by examinations, and by merit only. As every
recruit will have had the same class of education they will all have
absolute equality of opportunity and the men who would attain to
positions of authority would be the best men, and not as at present,
the worst.'

`How do you make that out?' demanded Crass.

`Under the present system, the men who become masters and employers
succeed because they are cunning and selfish, not because they
understand or are capable of doing the work out of which they make
their money. Most of the employers in the building trade for instance
would be incapable of doing any skilled work. Very few of them would
be worth their salt as journeymen. The only work they do is to scheme
to reap the benefit of the labour of others.

`The men who now become managers and foremen are selected not because
of their ability as craftsmen, but because they are good slave-drivers
and useful producers of profit for their employers.'

`How are you goin' to prevent the selfish and cunnin', as you call
'em, from gettin' on top THEN as they do now?' said Harlow.

`The fact that all workers will receive the same pay, no matter what
class of work they are engaged in, or what their position, will ensure
our getting the very best man to do all the higher work and to
organize our business.'

Crass laughed: `What! Everybody to get the same wages?'

`Yes: there will be such an enormous quantity of everything produced,
that their wages will enable everyone to purchase abundance of
everything they require. Even if some were paid more than others they
would not be able to spend it. There would be no need to save it, and
as there will be no starving poor, there will be no one to give it
away to. If it were possible to save and accumulate money it would
bring into being an idle class, living on their fellows: it would lead
to the downfall of our system, and a return to the same anarchy that
exists at present. Besides, if higher wages were paid to those
engaged in the higher work or occupying positions of authority it
would prevent our getting the best men. Unfit persons would try for
the positions because of the higher pay. That is what happens now.
Under the present system men intrigue for and obtain or are
pitchforked into positions for which they have no natural ability at
all; the only reason they desire these positions is because of the
salaries attached to them. These fellows get the money and the work
is done by underpaid subordinates whom the world never hears of.
Under Socialism, this money incentive will be done away with, and
consequently the only men who will try for these positions will be
those who, being naturally fitted for the work, would like to do it.
For instance a man who is a born organizer will not refuse to
undertake such work because he will not be paid more for it. Such a
man will desire to do it and will esteem it a privilege to be allowed
to do it. He will revel in it. To think out all the details of some
undertaking, to plan and scheme and organize, is not work for a man
like that. It is a pleasure. But for a man who has sought and
secured such a position, not because he liked the work, but because he
liked the salary - such work as this would be unpleasant labour.
Under Socialism the unfit man would not apply for that post but would
strive after some other for which he was fit and which he would
therefore desire and enjoy. There are some men who would rather have
charge of and organize and be responsible for work than do it with
their hands. There are others who would rather do delicate or
difficult or artistic work, than plain work. A man who is a born
artist would rather paint a frieze or a picture or carve a statue than
he would do plain work, or take charge of and direct the labour of
others. And there are another sort of men who would rather do
ordinary plain work than take charge, or attempt higher branches for
which they have neither liking or natural talent.

`But there is one thing - a most important point that you seem to
entirely lose sight of, and that is, that all these different kinds
and classes are equal in one respect - THEY ARE ALL EQUALLY NECESSARY.
Each is a necessary and indispensable part of the whole; therefore
everyone who has done his full share of necessary work is justly
entitled to a full share of the results. The men who put the slates
on are just as indispensable as the men who lay the foundations. The
work of the men who build the walls and make the doors is just as
necessary as the work of the men who decorate the cornice. None of
them would be of much use without the architect, and the plans of the
architect would come to nothing, his building would be a mere castle
in the air, if it were not for the other workers. Each part of the
work is equally necessary, useful and indispensable if the building is
to he perfected. Some of these men work harder with their brains than
with their hands and some work harder with their hands than with their
be recognized and acted upon by those who build up and maintain the
fabric of our Co-operative Commonwealth. Every man who does his full
share of the useful and necessary work according to his abilities
shall have his full share of the total result. Herein will be its
great difference from the present system, under which it is possible
for the cunning and selfish ones to take advantage of the simplicity
of others and rob them of part of the fruits of their labour. As for
those who will be engaged in the higher branches, they will be
sufficiently rewarded by being privileged to do the work they are
fitted for and enjoy. The only men and women who are capable of good
and great work of any kind are those who, being naturally fit for it,
love the work for its own sake and not for the money it brings them.
Under the present system, many men who have no need of money produce
great works, not for gain but for pleasure: their wealth enables them
to follow their natural inclinations. Under the present system many
men and women capable of great works are prevented from giving
expression to their powers by poverty and lack of opportunity: they
live in sorrow and die heartbroken, and the community is the loser.
These are the men and women who will be our artists, sculptors,
architects, engineers and captains of industry.

`Under the present system there are men at the head of affairs whose
only object is the accumulation of money. Some of them possess great
abilities and the system has practically compelled them to employ
those abilities for their own selfish ends to the hurt of the
community. Some of them have built up great fortunes out of the sweat
and blood and tears of men and women and little children. For those
who delight in such work as this, there will be no place in our
Co-operative Commonwealth.'

`Is there any more questions?' demanded Philpot.

`Yes,' said Harlow. `If there won't be no extry pay and if anybody
will have all they need for just doing their part of the work, what
encouragement will there be for anyone to worry his brains out trying
to invent some new machine, or make some new discovery?'

`Well,' said Barrington, `I think that's covered by the last answer,
but if it were found necessary - which is highly improbable - to offer
some material reward in addition to the respect, esteem or honour that
would be enjoyed by the author of an invention that was a boon to the
community, it could be arranged by allowing him to retire before the
expiration of his twenty-five years service. The boon he had
conferred on the community by the invention, would be considered
equivalent to so many years work. But a man like that would not
desire to cease working; that sort go on working all their lives, for
love. There's Edison for instance. He is one of the very few
inventors who have made money out of their work; he is a rich man, but
the only use his wealth seems to be to him is to procure himself
facilities for going on with his work; his life is a round of what
some people would call painful labour: but it is not painful labour to
him; it's just pleasure, he works for the love of it. Another way
would be to absolve a man of that sort from the necessity of ordinary
work, so as to give him a chance to get on with other inventions. It
would be to the interests of the community to encourage him in every
way and to place materials and facilities at his disposal.

`But you must remember that even under the present system, Honour and
Praise are held to be greater than money. How many soldiers would
prefer money to the honour of wearing the intrinsically valueless
Victoria Cross?

`Even now men think less of money than they do of the respect, esteem
or honour they are able to procure with it. Many men spend the
greater part of their lives striving to accumulate money, and when
they have succeeded, they proceed to spend it to obtain the respect of
their fellow-men. Some of them spend thousands of pounds for the
honour of being able to write "MP" after their names. Others buy
titles. Others pay huge sums to gain admission to exclusive circles
of society. Others give the money away in charity, or found libraries
or universities. The reason they do these things is that they desire
to be applauded and honoured by their fellow-men.

`This desire is strongest in the most capable men - the men of genius.
Therefore, under Socialism the principal incentive to great work will
be the same as now - Honour and Praise. But, under the present
system, Honour and Praise can be bought with money, and it does not
matter much how the money was obtained.

`Under Socialism it will be different. The Cross of Honour and the
Laurel Crown will not be bought and sold for filthy lucre. They will
be the supreme rewards of Virtue and of Talent.'

`Anyone else like to be flattened Out?' inquired Philpot.

`What would you do with them what spends all their money in drink?'
asked Slyme.

`I might reasonably ask you, "What's done with them or what you
propose to do with them now?" There are many men and women whose
lives are so full of toil and sorrow and the misery caused by abject
poverty, who are so shut out from all that makes life worth living,
that the time they spend in the public house is the only ray of
sunshine in their cheerless lives. Their mental and material poverty
is so great that they are deprived of and incapable of understanding
the intellectual and social pleasures of civilization... Under
Socialism there will be no such class as this. Everyone will be
educated, and social life and rational pleasure will be within the
reach of all. Therefore we do not believe that there will be such a
class. Any individuals who abandoned themselves to such a course
would be avoided by their fellows; but if they became very degraded,
we should still remember that they were our brother men and women, and
we should regard them as suffering from a disease inherited from their
uncivilized forefathers and try to cure them by placing them under
some restraint: in an institute for instance.'

`Another good way to deal with 'em,' said Harlow, `would be to allow
them double pay, so as they could drink themselves to death. We could
do without the likes of them.'

`Call the next case,' said Philpot.

`This 'ere abundance that you're always talking about,' said Crass,
you can't be sure that it would be possible to produce all that.
You're only assoomin' that it could be done.'

Barrington pointed to the still visible outlines of the `Hoblong' that
Owen had drawn on the wall to illustrate a previous lecture.

`Even under the present silly system of restricted production, with
the majority of the population engaged in useless, unproductive,
unnecessary work, and large numbers never doing any work at all, there
is enough produced to go all round after a fashion. More than enough,
for in consequence of what they call "Over-Production", the markets
are periodically glutted with commodities of all kinds, and then for a
time the factories are closed and production ceases. And yet we can
all manage to exist - after a fashion. This proves that if productive
industry were organized on the lines advocated by Socialists there
could be produced such a prodigious quantity of everything, that
everyone could live in plenty and comfort. The problem of how to
produce sufficient for all to enjoy abundance is already solved: the
problem that then remains is - How to get rid of those whose greed and
callous indifference to the sufferings of others, prevents it being

`Yes! and you'll never be able to get rid of 'em, mate,' cried Crass,
triumphantly - and the man with the copper wire stitches in his boot
said that it couldn't be done.

`Well, we mean to have a good try, anyhow,' said Barrington.

Crass and most of the others tried hard to think of something to say
in defence of the existing state of affairs, or against the proposals
put forward by the lecturer; but finding nothing, they maintained a
sullen and gloomy silence. The man with the copper wire stitches in
his boot in particular appeared to be very much upset; perhaps he was
afraid that if the things advocated by the speaker ever came to pass
he would not have any boots at all. To assume that he had some such
thought as this, is the only rational way to account for his
hostility, for in his case no change could have been for the worse
unless it reduced him to almost absolute nakedness and starvation.

To judge by their unwillingness to consider any proposals to alter the
present system, one might have supposed that they were afraid of
losing something, instead of having nothing to lose - except their

It was not till the chairman had made several urgent appeals for more
questions that Crass brightened up: a glad smile slowly spread over
and illuminated his greasy visage: he had at last thought of a most
serious and insurmountable obstacle to the establishment of the
Co-operative Commonwealth.

`What,' he demanded, in a loud voice, `what are you goin' to do, in
this 'ere Socialist Republic of yours, with them wot WON'T WORK'!"

As Crass flung this bombshell into the Socialist camp, the miserable,
ragged-trousered crew around him could scarce forbear a cheer; but the
more intelligent part of the audience only laughed.

`We don't believe that there will be any such people as that,' said

`There's plenty of 'em about now, anyway,' sneered Crass.

`You can't change 'uman nature, you know,' cried the man behind the
moat, and the one who had the copper wire stitches in his boot laughed

`Yes, I know there are plenty such now,' rejoined Barrington. `It's
only what is to be expected, considering that practically all workers
live in poverty, and are regarded with contempt. The conditions under
which most of the work is done at present are so unpleasant and
degrading that everyone refuses to do any unless they are compelled;
none of us here, for instance, would continue to work for Rushton if
it were not for the fact that we have either to do so or starve; and
when we do work we only just earn enough to keep body and soul
together. Under the present system everybody who can possibly manage
to do so avoids doing any work, the only difference being that some
people do their loafing better than others. The aristocracy are too
lazy to work, but they seem to get on all right; they have their
tenants to work for them. Rushton is too lazy to work, so he has
arranged that we and Nimrod shall work instead, and he fares much
better than any of us who do work. Then there is another kind of
loafers who go about begging and occasionally starving rather than
submit to such abominable conditions as are offered to them. These
last are generally not much worse off than we are and they are often
better off. At present, people have everything to gain and but little
to lose by refusing to work. Under Socialism it would be just the
reverse; the conditions of labour would be so pleasant, the hours of
obligatory work so few, and the reward so great, that it is absurd to
imagine that any one would be so foolish as to incur the contempt of
his fellows and make himself a social outcast by refusing to do the
small share of work demanded of him by the community of which he was a

`As for what we should do to such individuals if there did happen to
be some, I can assure you that we would not treat them as you treat
them now. We would not dress them up in silk and satin and broadcloth
and fine linen: we would not embellish them, as you do, with jewels of
gold and jewels of silver and with precious stones; neither should we
allow them to fare sumptuously every day. Our method of dealing with
them would be quite different from yours. In the Co-operative
Commonwealth there will be no place for loafers; whether they call
themselves aristocrats or tramps, those who are too lazy to work shall
have no share in the things that are produced by the labour of others.
Those who do nothing shall have nothing. If any man will not work,
neither shall he eat. Under the present system a man who is really
too lazy to work may stop you in the street and tell you that he
cannot get employment. For all you know, he may be telling the truth,
and if you have any feeling and are able, you will help him. But in
the Socialist State no one would have such an excuse, because everyone
that was willing would be welcome to come and help in the work of
producing wealth and happiness for all, and afterwards he would also
be welcome to his full share of the results.'

`Any more complaints?' inquired the chairman, breaking the gloomy
silence that followed.

`I don't want anyone to think that I am blaming any of these
present-day loafers,' Barrington added. `The wealthy ones cannot be
expected voluntarily to come and work under existing conditions and if
they were to do so they would be doing more harm than good - they
would be doing some poor wretches out of employment. They are not to
be blamed; the people who are to blame are the working classes
themselves, who demand and vote for the continuance of the present
system. As for the other class of loafers - those at the bottom, the
tramps and people of that sort, if they were to become sober and
industrious tomorrow, they also would be doing more harm than good to
the other workers; it would increase the competition for work. If all
the loafers in Mugsborough could suddenly be transformed into decent
house painters next week, Nimrod might be able to cut down the wages
another penny an hour. I don't wish to speak disrespectfully of these
tramps at all. Some of them are such simply because they would rather
starve than submit to the degrading conditions that we submit to, they
do not see the force of being bullied and chased, and driven about in
order to gain semi-starvation and rags. They are able to get those
without working; and I sometimes think that they are more worthy of
respect and are altogether a nobler type of beings than a lot of
broken-spirited wretches like ourselves, who are always at the mercy
of our masters, and always in dread of the sack.'

`Any more questions?' said the chairman.

`Do you mean to say as the time will ever come when the gentry will
mix up on equal terms with the likes of us?' demanded the man behind
the moat, scornfully.

`Oh, no,' replied the lecturer. When we get Socialism there won't be
any people like us. Everybody will be civilized.'

The man behind the moat did not seem very satisfied with this answer,
and told the others that he could not see anything to laugh at.

`Is there any more questions?' cried Philpot. `Now is your chance to
get some of your own back, but don't hall speak at once.'

`I should like to know who's goin' to do all the dirty work?' said
Slyme. `If everyone is to be allowed to choose 'is own trade, who'd
be fool enough to choose to be a scavenger, a sweep, a dustman or a
sewer man? nobody wouldn't want to do such jobs as them and everyone
would be after the soft jobs.'

`Of course,' cried Crass, eagerly clutching at this last straw. `The
thing sounds all right till you comes to look into it, but it wouldn't
never work!'

`It would be very easy to deal with any difficulty of that sort,'
replied Barrington, `if it were found that too many people were
desirous of pursuing certain callings, it would be known that the
conditions attached to those kinds of work were unfairly easy, as
compared with other lines, so the conditions in those trades would be
made more severe. A higher degree of skill would be required. If we
found that too many persons wished to be doctors, architects,
engineers and so forth, we would increase the severity of the
examinations. This would scare away all but the most gifted and
enthusiastic. We should thus at one stroke reduce the number of
applicants and secure the very best men for the work - we should have
better doctors, better architects, better engineers than before.

`As regards those disagreeable tasks for which there was a difficulty
in obtaining volunteers, we should adopt the opposite means. Suppose
that six hours was the general thing; and we found that we could not
get any sewer men; we should reduce the hours of labour in that
department to four, or if necessary to two, in order to compensate for
the disagreeable nature of the work.

`Another way out of such difficulties would be to have a separate
division of the Industrial army to do all such work, and to make it
obligatory for every man to put in his first year of State service as
a member of this corps. There would be no hardship in that. Everyone
gets the benefit of such work; there would be no injustice in
requiring everyone to share. This would have the effect also of
stimulating invention; it would be to everyone's interest to think out
means of doing away with such kinds of work and there is no doubt that
most of it will be done by machinery in some way or other. A few
years ago the only way to light up the streets of a town was to go
round to each separate gas lamp and light each jet, one at a time:
now, we press a few buttons and light up the town with electricity.
In the future we shall probably be able to press a button and flush
the sewers.'

`What about religion?' said Slyme. `I suppose there won't be no
churches nor chapels; we shall all have to be atheists.'

`Everybody will be perfectly free to enjoy their own opinions and to
practise any religion they like; but no religion or sect will be
maintained by the State. If any congregation or body of people wish
to have a building for their own exclusive use as a church or chapel
or lecture hall it will be supplied to them by the State on the same
terms as those upon which dwelling houses will be supplied; the State
will construct the special kind of building and the congregation will
have to pay the rent, the amount to be based on the cost of
construction, in paper money of course. As far as the embellishment
or decoration of such places is concerned, there will of course be
nothing to prevent the members of the congregation if they wish from
doing any such work as that themselves in their own spare time of
which they will have plenty.'

`If everybody's got to do their share of work, where's the minister
and clergymen to come from?'

`There are at least three ways out of that difficulty. First,
ministers of religion could be drawn from the ranks of the Veterans -
men over forty-five years old who had completed their term of State
service. You must remember that these will not be worn out wrecks, as
too many of the working classes are at that age now. They will have
had good food and clothing and good general conditions all their
lives; and consequently they will be in the very prime of life. They
will be younger than many of us now are at thirty; they will be ideal
men for the positions we are speaking of. All well educated in their
youth, and all will have had plenty of leisure for self culture during
the years of their State service and they will have the additional
recommendation that their congregation will not be required to pay
anything for their services.

`Another way: If a congregation wished to retain the full-time
services of a young man whom they thought specially gifted but who had
not completed his term of State service, they could secure him by
paying the State for his services; thus the young man would still
remain in State employment, he would still continue to receive his pay
from the National Treasury, and at the age of forty-five would be
entitled to his pension like any other worker, and after that the
congregation would not have to pay the State anything.

`A third - and as it seems to me, the most respectable way - would be
for the individual in question to act as minister or pastor or
lecturer or whatever it was, to the congregation without seeking to
get out of doing his share of the State service. The hours of
obligatory work would be so short and the work so light that he would
have abundance of leisure to prepare his orations without sponging on
his co-religionists.'

`'Ear, 'ear!' cried Harlow.

`Of course,' added Barrington, `it would not only be congregations of
Christians who could adopt any of these methods. It is possible that
a congregation of agnostics, for instance, might want a separate
building or to maintain a lecturer.'

`What the 'ell's an agnostic?' demanded Bundy.

`An agnostic,' said the man behind the moat, `is a bloke wot don't
believe nothing unless 'e see it with 'is own eyes.'

`All these details,' continued the speaker, `of the organization of
affairs and the work of the Co-operative Commonwealth, are things
which do not concern us at all. They have merely been suggested by
different individuals as showing some ways in which these things could
be arranged. The exact methods to be adopted will be decided upon by
the opinion of the majority when the work is being done. Meantime,
what we have to do is to insist upon the duty of the State to provide
productive work for the unemployed, the State feeding of
schoolchildren, the nationalization or Socialization of Railways;
Land; the Trusts, and all public services that are still in the hands
of private companies. If you wish to see these things done, you must
cease from voting for Liberal and Tory sweaters, shareholders of
companies, lawyers, aristocrats, and capitalists; and you must fill
the House of Commons with Revolutionary Socialists. That is - with
men who are in favour of completely changing the present system. And
in the day that you do that, you will have solved the poverty
"problem". No more tramping the streets begging for a job! No more
hungry children at home. No more broken boots and ragged clothes. No
more women and children killing themselves with painful labour whilst
strong men stand idly by; but joyous work and joyous leisure for all.'

`Is there any more questions?' cried Philpot.

`Is it true,' said Easton, `that Socialists intend to do away with the
Army and Navy?'

`Yes; it is true. Socialists believe in International Brotherhood and
peace. Nearly all wars are caused by profit-seeking capitalists,
seeking new fields for commercial exploitation, and by aristocrats who
make it the means of glorifying themselves in the eyes of the deluded
common people. You must remember that Socialism is not only a
national, but an international movement and when it is realized, there
will be no possibility of war, and we shall no longer seed to maintain
an army and navy, or to waste a lot of labour building warships or
manufacturing arms and ammunition. All those people who are now
employed will then be at liberty to assist in the great work of
producing the benefits of civilization; creating wealth and knowledge
and happiness for themselves and others - Socialism means Peace on
earth and goodwill to all mankind. But in the meantime we know that
the people of other nations are not yet all Socialists; we do not
forget that in foreign countries - just the same as in Britain - there
are large numbers of profit seeking capitalists, who are so destitute
of humanity, that if they thought it could be done successfully and
with profit to themselves they would not scruple to come here to
murder and to rob. We do not forget that in foreign countries - the
same as here - there are plenty of so-called "Christian" bishops and
priests always ready to give their benediction to any such murderous
projects, and to blasphemously pray to the Supreme Being to help his
children to slay each other like wild beasts. And knowing and
remembering all this, we realize that until we have done away with
capitalism, aristocracy and anti-Christian clericalism, it is our duty
to be prepared to defend our homes and our native land. And therefore
we are in favour of maintaining national defensive forces in the
highest possible state of efficiency. But that does not mean that we
are in favour of the present system of organizing those forces. We do
not believe in conscription, and we do not believe that the nation
should continue to maintain a professional standing army to be used at
home for the purpose of butchering men and women of the working
classes in the interests of a handful of capitalists, as has been done
at Featherstone and Belfast; or to be used abroad to murder and rob
the people of other nations. Socialists advocate the establishment of
a National Citizen Army, for defensive purposes only. We believe that
every able bodied man should be compelled to belong to this force and
to undergo a course of military training, but without making him into
a professional soldier, or taking him away from civil life, depriving
him of the rights of citizenship or making him subject to military
"law" which is only another name for tyranny and despotism. This
Citizen Army could be organized on somewhat similar lines to the
present Territorial Force, with certain differences. For instance, we
do not believe - as our present rulers do - that wealth and
aristocratic influence are the two most essential qualifications for
an efficient officer; we believe that all ranks should be attainable
by any man, no matter how poor, who is capable of passing the
necessary examinations, and that there should be no expense attached
to those positions which the Government grant, or the pay, is not
sufficient to cover. The officers could be appointed in any one of
several ways: They might be elected by the men they would have to
command, the only qualification required being that they had passed
their examinations, or they might be appointed according to merit -
the candidate obtaining the highest number of marks at the
examinations to have the first call on any vacant post, and so on in
order of merit. We believe in the total abolition of courts martial,
any offence against discipline should be punishable by the ordinary
civil law - no member of the Citizen Army being deprived of the rights
of a citizen.'

`What about the Navy?' cried several voices.

`Nobody wants to interfere with the Navy except to make its
organization more democratic - the same as that of the Citizen Army -
and to protect its members from tyranny by entitling them to be tried
in a civil court for any alleged offence.

`It has been proved that if the soil of this country were
scientifically cultivated, it is capable of producing sufficient to
maintain a population of a hundred millions of people. Our present
population is only about forty millions, but so long as the land
remains in the possession of persons who refuse to allow it to be
cultivated we shall continue to be dependent on other countries for
our food supply. So long as we are in that position, and so long as
foreign countries are governed by Liberal and Tory capitalists, we
shall need the Navy to protect our overseas commerce from them. If we
had a Citizen Army such as I have mentioned, of nine or ten millions
of men and if the land of this country was properly cultivated, we
should be invincible at home. No foreign power would ever be mad
enough to attempt to land their forces on our shores. But they would
now be able to starve us all to death in a month if it were not for
the Navy. It's a sensible and creditable position, isn't it?'
concluded Barrington. `Even in times of peace, thousands of people
standing idle and tamely starving in their own fertile country,
because a few land "Lords" forbid them to cultivate it.'

`Is there any more questions?' demanded Philpot, breaking a prolonged

`Would any Liberal or Tory capitalist like to get up into the pulpit
and oppose the speaker?' the chairman went on, finding that no one
responded to his appeal for questions.

The silence continued.

`As there's no more questions and no one won't get up into the pulpit,
it is now my painful duty to call upon someone to move a resolution.'

`Well, Mr Chairman,' said Harlow, `I may say that when I came on this
firm I was a Liberal, but through listenin' to several lectures by
Professor Owen and attendin' the meetings on the hill at Windley and
reading the books and pamphlets I bought there and from Owen, I came
to the conclusion some time ago that it's a mug's game for us to vote
for capitalists whether they calls theirselves Liberals or Tories.
They're all alike when you're workin' for 'em; I defy any man to say
what's the difference between a Liberal and a Tory employer. There is
none - there can't be; they're both sweaters, and they've got to be,
or they wouldn't be able to compete with each other. And since that's
what they are, I say it's a mug's game for us to vote 'em into
Parliament to rule over us and to make laws that we've got to abide by
whether we like it or not . There's nothing to choose between 'em, and
the proof of it is that it's never made much difference to us which
party was in or which was out. It's quite true that in the past both
of 'em have passed good laws, but they've only done it when public
opinion was so strong in favour of it that they knew there was no
getting out of it, and then it was a toss up which side did it.

`That's the way I've been lookin' at things lately, and I'd almost
made up my mind never to vote no more, or to trouble myself about
politics at all, because although I could see there was no sense in
voting for Liberal or Tory capitalists, at the same time I must admit
I couldn't make out how Socialism was going to help us. But the
explanation of it which Professor Barrington has given us this
afternoon has been a bit of an eye opener for me, and with your
permission I should like to move as a resolution, "That it is the
opinion of this meeting that Socialism is the only remedy for
Unemployment and Poverty."'

The conclusion of Harlow's address was greeted with loud cheers from
the Socialists, but most of the Liberal and Tory supporters of the
present system maintained a sulky silence.

`I'll second that resolution,' said Easton.

`And I'll lay a bob both ways,' remarked Bundy. The resolution was
then put, and though the majority were against it, the Chairman
declared it was carried unanimously.

By this time the violence of the storm had in a great measure abated,
but as rain was still falling it was decided not to attempt to resume
work that day. Besides, it would have been too late, even if the
weather had cleared up.

`P'raps it's just as well it 'as rained,' remarked one man. `If it
'adn't some of us might 'ave got the sack tonight. As it is, there'll
be hardly enough for all of us to do tomorrer and Saturday mornin'
even if it is fine.'

This was true: nearly all the outside was finished, and what remained
to be done was ready for the final coat. Inside all there was to do
was to colour wash the walls and to give the woodwork of the kitchen
and scullery the last coat of paint.

It was inevitable - unless the firm had some other work for them to do
somewhere else - that there would be a great slaughter on Saturday.

`Now,' said Philpot, assuming what he meant to be the manner of a
school teacher addressing children, `I wants you hall to make a
speshall heffort and get 'ere very early in the mornin' - say about
four o'clock - and them wot doos the most work tomorrer, will get a
prize on Saturday.'

`What'll it be, the sack?' inquired Harlow.

`Yes,' replied Philpot, `and not honly will you get a prize for good
conduck tomorrer, but if you all keep on workin' like we've bin doing
lately till you're too hold and wore hout to do• any more, you'll be
allowed to go to a nice workhouse for the rest of your lives! and each
one of you will be given a title - "Pauper!"'

And they laughed!

Although the majority of them had mothers or fathers or other near
relatives who had already succeeded to the title - they laughed!

As they were going home, Crass paused at the gate, and pointing up to
the large gable at the end of the house, he said to Philpot:

`You'll want the longest ladder - the 65, for that, tomorrow.'

Philpot looked up at the gable.

It was very high.