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Political Notes .I.


Political Notes By F. W. Jowett, M.P. I THE PLAYFUL PREMIER. The Prime Minister speaking at Manchester two months ago acknowledged that he and the other members of the Liberal Government had "played" with the housing question. This was in his Limehouse days. Obviously it is, also, the case that he was playing with the people at the same time and the people allowed it. How are the people to find out whether or not he is playing wjtli them now ? THE SHAM FICHT. There is an easy way by winch it may be dis- covered whether Mr. Lloyd George is any more to be trusted now than he was when he played with reform proposals before. It is by wav of enquiry into the substance of his present proposals. He talks of a national Housing Scheme, for instance, of the need of good houses for all with the object or rearing an Al population. But we know all that. We have known it for very many years. We know it when he was "playing" with the housing question. When he and the political tricksters who are now working the Coalition conspiracy were engaged in a sham fight over a prodigously lengthy Housing Bill full of legal verbiage over which wordy debates were carried on. for dav3 and weeks, and months. THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS. What we want to know at present is: Where the Prime Minister is going to find the money for housing? Who is to pay for it? When is the building of houses to begin? He is palpably shirking these questions and it is, therefore, clear that he is playing with the people again. THE FIGURES. Examine the position. It the country were from war expenditure 1-: £ 200,000,000 a year to find for the regular, ordi- nary expenses. But there is now the war debt and Mr. Lloyd George has no suggestion for re- ducing it. Therefore, t400,000,000 a year will be required to pay the interest on the National Debt. Pensions and allowances will require, for some years to come, say, another £100,000,000. Where, then, is Mr. Lloyd George going to get money for housing, money for land development, money for development of the transport system ? CEORCE'S VACUE ALLUSION. Take housing first. Not less than a million new cottages are urgently required if Mr. Lloyd George's references to the subject are to be taken at their face value. These will cost no less than £ 300,000,000 at present prices. And the only allusion he makes to the means by which additional national expenditure can be met is a vague and unsubstantial one relating to in- creased production. But what is the connection between increased production and the provisipn of enormous sums for housing, land development, afforestation and the reorganisation of the transport system? BUT WHO WILL PAY? Production is not carried on in State factories, excepting, of course, the State war factories, which the Government does not propose to keep. The benefit from increased production, there- fore, will go to the employer. There will be more surplus value for him. The State will not benefit. The question remains: Who is to pay for the things Mr. Lloyd George says must be provided ? THE ONLY METHOD. I Only by one of two methods can Mr. Lloyd George's latest promises be met. One is by the nation setting aside completely the old system of private ownership, establishing a co-operative commonwealth and directing the whole of the material resources and the common effort of the community to feeding, housing, educating, and entertaining the whole people. That is the best way. if the people could agree upon it. The other is to make a heavy charge on those mem- bers of the community who possess a surplus of means over their own personal requirements for the purpose of meeting the cost of housing, land development, afforestation, etc., and of meeting., in addition, the cost of the ivot 11 Mr. Lloyd George has not the slightest intention of adopt- ing either of these methods, and, as lie knows of no othe', he is dumb. All that he is after is votes for nominees or the return of his nominees by uncontested elect-ion. TO ESTABLISH SUPER-CAPITALISM. I It is foi quite other purpose than for housing and the rest of his electioneering stock-in-trade Mr. Lloyd George wants his Parliament of nominees, ft is to establish super-capitalism in the form of trusts and combine and to protect vested interests." It was not necessary for him to tell us that he was not an aid of vested interests. Who is there tha.t has watched his career and is not aware of the fact ? His first legislative proposal, when, as Minister, he was at the Board of Trade, brought compliments and thanks, profuse and unstinted, from the ship- owners. He it was wno painted out the Plimsoll line and made every owner of 10 ships a present of the equivalent of one extra ship in additional carrying capacity for which no eaptain or crew had to be employed or paid. He it was who io'keyed the t"ihl-:IPNU) roji years agreement in 1907 for the benefit of their em- ployers. He it was who relieved the share- holders of the London Docks of their unremuner- ative investment and gave them gilt-edged securities in exehange-a. transaction for which all goods entering the Port of London are charged heavier dock dues. THE PRICE. I Mr. Lloyd George has bought off opposition to his trumpery measures by creating new vested interests for insurance companies, land- lords. doctors, bankers, and every other power- ful class that has, in its turn, stood up to him. The "rare and refreshing fruit" he "played" the workers with—just as a fisherman plays the fish ii-itli bait,-his in the end been given to the vested interests. VALES FOR THE VELSH. I I Why then should Mr. Lloyd George bo afraid I of "vested interests?" Clearly they are not afraid of him.. See the list of his supporters: Curzon, Milner, Beresford, the Cecils, -Bonar Law, cheek by jowl with Mond and the Guests, all united on the new election cries "Vales for the Velsh," The land for the man who can till I it," Houses for all," "Education for all," "Highet. wages and shorter hours for the worker." And the banher under which they go forth to conquer the people is that of the Lime- house demagogue, Lloyd George. On that ban- ner there might now be fittingly inscribed the motto "Damn the consequences," for conse- quences there will be, unlooked for and startling, even if for the present they are deferred.

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