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TRADE UNIONISM AND COMPULSION.

,.I iSIR ALFRED YEA AND NAY.

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SIR ALFRED YEA AND NAY. Sir Alfred Mond could have been less equivocal in his attempt at Swan- sea to reply to the arguments in favour of conscription of capital put forward by the "Labour Voice" and Mr J. H. Thomas, M.P. If, after saying that if the Government wanted his money they could have had it, he had left well alone, he would have been credited with manly recognition of a principle of fairness that every unbiassed person must recognise. But he tried to ridicule the idea by saying that the men in the trenches have no use for gold watches, and the con- scription of capital means the con- scription of trade union funds. With all respect to Sir Alfred we must say that this is only so much leather and prunella. Gold can be very useful to the men of the trenches—if it is in the Bank of England to help swell the reserves, instead of swelling the private fortunes of Sir Alfred Mond and other men of great possessions. The reference to trade union funds is only a variant of the familiar widows and orphans plea used by the Tories against Mr Lloyd George's budget. The member for Swansea heaped scorn on that sort of argument at. the time, but he is not alone in twisting it to his own uses when it suits him. "New Presbyter is only old Priest writ large," said Milton. The new Radical capitalist is only the old crusted Tory in borrowed fustian. On the whole the plutocrat has less sympathy wth the democracy than the landlord, whose old-fashioned creed has always taught him that his wealth is a trust for which he is -responsible to God. That is why Tories like Shaftesbury and Oastler championed factory legisla- tion against the envenomed op- position of men like Bright and Cob- den. Sir Alfred's reference to trade union ifunds was also an impudent attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the work- ing classes of "Swansea. It is obvious to men of less acute miad than the Member for Swansea that trade union funds are not capital in any sense of the term. The funds of the South Wales miners are as much part of their tools as mandrils or curling- boxes. A workman's tools are not even attachable for debt, because with- out them he is a serf. Sir Alfred prob- ably owns at this moment more capital than the whole of the 200,000 miners of South Wales as an organised body. The principle underlying conscription of wealth is equality of sacrifice. If you take the funds of the miners you take the means whereby they maintain their wage-rates. It would be anti- social to confiscate trade union funds, because thereby whole communities would be impoverished. But the social effects would be otherwise in the case of Sir Alfred Mond. If the whole of his capital were taken (and nobody proposes to be quite as drastic as that) it could be used to relieve the taxes (such as those on tea, coffee, and sugar) paid by widows and other poor people in Swansea. That would be a distinct social gain. Sir Alfred would st.ill have his L8 a week as Member of Parliament—enough to keep him from the workhouse door, and providjj him with Woodbines. We do not attach much value to his plaintive remark that the State is al- ready taking one-third of his income in the form of taxation. One-third patriotism is not good enough, espec- ially for a rich man so convinced of the necessity of conscribing the bodies of poor men. It is a very big sacriifce for a man with £100 a year to pay one-third of his income in taxation, but it is a relatively small sacrifice for a man, with C50,000 a year, for the remain- ing two-thirds is a more than decent nest-egg. It is quite possible, too, for a rich man who pays a big amount in taxes to be no poorer, if, while paying the Government in taxes with one hand, he scoops in big sums from the consuming public with the other. Say a man who deals in washing soda, the retail price of which had advanced from 71bs, for 3d. to a Id. a lb. We are quite ready to believe that at the end of the war Sir Alfred will not be a richer man than at the beginning, but he will certainly be a very rich man, unless we have some form of con- scription of capital. Even then he will have done less for the war than a young collier who has sacrificed JB3 a week for a soldier's pay, and probably sustained disabling wounds in the bar- gain. Unlike the "Post," we do not blame Sir Alfred for his father's bad taste in chosing a German birthplace, but we do think that his status is slightly different from that of an all-British capitalist. Therefore it would be a becoming and a graceful act on his part if he set himself right with his constituents, and with the wider pub- lic, by voluntarily handing over to the State the greater part of the two- thirds of his income which a kind Government has hitherto allowed him to retain. Then we shall all begin to believe that he has a genuine belief in the principle of equality of sacrifice.

SAFEGUARDS AND STRIKES I

I Ynisraeudw Pastor Leaves.

IYSTRADGYNLAIS COUNCIL AUDIT.I

FOUR MONTI? . BROKEN I BACK.

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CONSCRIPTION OF WEALTH. I

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YSTALYFERA NOTES.

YSTRADGYNLAIS NOTES. I

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YSTALYFERA NOTES.