Page:Britain's Deadly Peril.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
47
THE PERIL OF EXPLOITING THE POOR

Prima facie, men who can earn the wages mentioned in the extract from Engineering which I have already quoted are well off—far better off than their comrades who are doing trench duty in France, and are free from the hourly risk to which the fighting forces are exposed. There may be, however, good and vaUd reasons why they should be paid even better. If there are, the Government inquiry should find them out. But to stop work now, to hold up the production of the ships, guns, and materials necessary to carry on the war, is criminal, wicked, and unpatriotic in the highest degree. It is setting an evil example only too likely to be followed, and, if it is persisted in, may well be the first step of our beloved nation on the downward road which leads to utter destruction.

Mr. Archibald Hurd, a writer always well informed, has summed up the situation in the Daily Telegraph in the following words, which are worth quotation:

"The recruiting movement has shown that the great industrial classes are not, as a whole, unconscious of the stake for which we are fighting—the institutions which we cherish and our freedom. Probably if the workers at home were reminded of the importance of their labours, they would speedily fall into line—if not, well, the resources of civilisation are not exhausted, and the Government should be able to ensure that not an unnecessary day, or even hour, shall be lost in pressing forward the work of equipping the new Fleet and the new Army which is essential to our salvation. The Government is exercising authority under martial law over Army and Navy; cannot it get efficient control over the industrial army?

"In France and Germany these powers exist, and