from ‘The War Illustrated’, 23rd November, 1918
'How The Army Will Be Demobilised'
by Basil Clarke

When the Boys Come Home

from a French magazine - back in Civy Street


“When the boys come home!" These words long since became part of our daily thoughts, and rightly. How we have been looking forward to that home-coming, trying to guess the moment of it and to picture to ourselves the manner of it! As to the manner of it, I can perhaps stimulate imagination by supplying a few basic facts.

The Army mobilised in military units ; it will demobilise in industrial units.

The recruiting sergeant took tinker and tailor, apothecary and ploughboy, and all the rest of them, and piled them pell-mell into a military unit. Demobilisation will take a military unit and split it very carefully into tinkers and tailors, apothecaries, ploughboys, and the rest, each trade in its own group, aiming at both fairness to the individual and utility to the country. Thus it will split up, say, the tinkers into single tinkers and married tinkers ; tinkers for whom jobs are waiting, tinkers for whom no jobs are waiting.

To facilitate the home-coming it will also separate Yorkshire tinkers and Somerset tinkers, Glasgow tinkers and Bermondsey tinkers, thus enabling each district to get back its men by a special route. These elaborate subdivisions will be made in just the same way with every trade group.

Exactly the same conditions will prevail whether a soldier is in this country or abroad.

Getting Ready

It is of vital importance, if we are to make good the financial leeway which the war has caused us, that our industries should get into full swing again on peace-time production at the earliest possible moment. They cannot all restart at the same rate ; therefore, the next best thing is for the most urgent and valuable of them, judged from the national point of view, to be restarted first. The splitting up of military units into trades is done to fall in with this scheme of preference.

After full account has been taken of these considerations, the personal claims of the individual soldier are next taken into account ; and it will be conceded that the married man and the family man may rightly expect to be sent home before the man with less exacting family obligations. Nevertheless, every commanding officer, in making up drafts for demobilisation, is given a certain latitude in this matter. Long service away from home, personal hardship that may be caused by being kept behind, and such things, will enter closely into his decisions.

Who will determine what trades are more essential than others, and on what grounds will they base their judgment ? To the first question the answer is — the Government; and they will do it through a specially-constituted body of experts, comprising some of the foremost business -minds of the country. This body will have before them every available item of information that the Government can collect as to raw materials, machinery, shipping, finance, and world markets.

So far they would appear to have made up their minds only tentatively and far from unalterably. For you can well imagine that a thousand considerations and facts as yet unknowable must have a tremendous bearing on their different problems. The exact moment of peace, and the exact terms of it, cover hundreds of different possibilities, each demanding different courses, yet to be determined. The needs and the final position of our Allies have also to be defined ; even the final condition of our enemies and of Russia, and a thousand other complex and unknown factors must be taken into account.

"Dispersal" Areas

Therefore to make anything more than alternative plans, such as are likely to meet alternative probable circumstances, would seem as impossible as short-sighted. For the authorities to commit themselves far ahead would be far from wise in view of the fluid condition of international affairs that necessarily follow the declaration of peace. Again, to announce their decisions would probably only make for jealousy and trouble between trade and trade, craftsman and craftsman, because it is only human that each trader and each craftsman should (like the cobbler who held that there is "nothing like leather ") think his calling a main prop in the nation's equilibrium, and deny the right of precedence to any other trade.

When peace has been officially declared it will no longer be necessary or possible for the individual soldier to stay at the front in the old trenches, dug-outs, and shattered village billets where he has spent so much of his time. He will promptly go to more comfortable quarters, and, as his time for demobilisation approaches, he will be drafted off to one or other of the great concentration camps, or collecting camps, that will be set up for the purposes of demobilisation. There will be collecting camps to correspond to the .eighteen military "dispersal" areas into which Great Britain is divided for the purposes of demobilisation. The Army authorities know into which of these districts every soldier wishes to proceed to reach his home, and as his trade group becomes due to be demobilised he will be sent off to his appropriate collecting camp.

Questions of Transport

Thus in a collecting camp, at the one time, may be Guardsmen, dragoons, artillerymen, and the rest from a score of units, but they will be men of the same home area and, very often, men of the same trade and calling. One can imagine many happy reunions taking place in these camps between men of the same district and trade, but of different regiments, who have probably never met during the whole course of the war.

Next as to transport. It is clear that to demobilise thousands of men a day, and to send them home by the same, or by only one or two routes, would mean immense difficulty and probably great congestion and dislocation of traffic. The railways, even without demobilised men to bring home, will probably be very busy about this time. Material for industry will be anxiously awaited in every area, and the railway lines will have all the traffic they can cope with. It has been, decided, therefore, to allot to each of the collecting camps abroad a special route home, a route which shall -have as little in common as possible with the routes of other collecting camps. Wherever possible the camps will use different ports of embarkation and debarkation, and different railway routes, both on the other side of the water and on this;

I cannot name the exact ports and railway routes that will be used to send home the men of any particular home district, but one can well imagine that men to be returned to, say, West Yorkshire would not be landed at some South Coast port. Most probably the plan followed will be to land them at the nearest home port — why not Grimsby or Hull ? — and to take them thence by train.

The general principle followed will be to distribute as evenly and as widely as possible the immense traffic in men over the different ports and railway systems of the country, and to throw no preponderant load of traffic on to any one particular port or railway system, consideration also being given to the non-military traffic needs of the country at the time.

From Uniform to "Civvies"

The eighteen home-dispersal areas will each have its one or more "dispersal" stations. They may be regimental depots or other buildings, public or private, that are suitable for the purpose. The soldier will arrive here, of course, in his uniform and with his kit, and in most cases with a party of other men of his trade group — of which groups, by the way, there are forty-three, subdivided into some five hundred callings.

Having handed in his arms — his uniform and underclothes he may keep as his own property — he will receive a railway warrant for any further journey he may have to make, a cash payment on account of any pay outstanding, and an allowance for "civvy" clothes; also an. out-of-work insurance policy and a ration book.

From that moment the man will be automatically "on leave" for a month, during which his pay and family allowances will be continued. If he cares to get a job during that month there will be nothing to stop him. He will also receive at the "dispersal" station a "protection certificate," on the production of which at his home post-office he may draw in equal weekly payments the balance of his pay, his war gratuity, and any other moneys "coming to him." His actual connection with the Army will end twenty-eight days after dispersal, by which time he will be expected to be out of uniform. He must then return his greatcoat.

Q.M.A.A.C.'s and women's units will be dispersed in much the same way, but through hostels instead of collecting camps.


from 'The War Illustrated', 7th December, 1918
'When the Boys Come Home'
by Basil Clarke

Demobilisation and the Future

being refitted with civilian clothing


My previous article dealt with the guiding principles and the main outline of the scheme of demobilisation drawn up by the Ministry of Reconstruction, working with other departments concerned, and approved by the Government. To fill in all the details of this gigantic organisation would need a volume of THE WAR ILLUSTRATED, let alone a page. Still, certain points here and there in that great framework may be amplified.

The effect of drafting away from military units men for demobilisation will be gradually to reduce these units to skeletons of their former selves. Military language has a special word to describe these skeleton units. It is "cadre," which derives its modern meaning from the Latin word for a square—"quadrum." The work of these cadres will be to look after all the stores, horses, transport, etc., of their units until such times as these things can be disposed of; for though the demobilisation of men will follow a steady and definite time-table, the bringing home of stores and war material will have to be done as and when occasion offers.

In time, of course, the demobilisation of cadres themselves must take place, but before anything can be settled finally one very important matter will have to be decided— namely, the character and size of the new British Army to be established at the conclusion of peace.


The Army of the Future

The peace treaty and its terms, the condition of enemy countries, the establishment of a League of Nations, the machinery to be used by that league for enforcing its decisions and for instituting an adequate international "police service" —all these things and a thousand others will have an influence in deciding what the post-bellum Army is to be. Incidentally the final decision on this point is a matter for legislation and Parliamentary action, as well as for action on the part of the nation's military advisers.

Meanwhile, it is evident that we cannot afford to disband the whole Army. Garrisons abroad, largely composed now of men enlisted for war service only, will have to be replaced before even those men can safely be sent home. Our Empire, for the present at least, must have all its old garrisons complete, if not enlarged.

To demobilise foreign garrisons fairly, man for man, with men at home it will be necessary therefore to have ready first new units of the post-bellum Army to replace them. It follows that the soldiers who have signed on to join the new Army must be demobilised from the old Army in time enough to give them some opportunity for leave in this country and time to travel to their future posts. Men for the new Army will be by no means the last to get home from their present war stations. On their return to the Colours will depend the demobilisation of men in foreign garrisons, who cannot be demobilised except in so far as drafts of new men of the new Army are sent out to replace them.

Another important side of this formation of a new Army must be the determination of its units. The war has led to the formation of "battalions which never previously existed. Which of these units are to be scrapped and which retained? How far will the old Army demarcations serve the purposes of the new organisation? What shall be the status and position in the general scheme of things of such units as the Tanks, the labour units, the W.A.A.C.'s, and all the other demarcations which in the old Army scheme did not exist?

Necessary Precautions

Though the Army of the future is in such matters largely in the melting-pot, the authorities cannot leave some important points unsettled, and steps are being taken to provide against all contingencies that are foreseeable. It is possible, for example, that the soldier arrived from abroad at the dispersal station near his own town may feel a little impatient at the precision and formality of the details taken concerning him. He is agog to get home, of course, and the filling up of forms—always a troublesome job for a soldier—may strike him as unnecessary and wearisome.

But one can see that to allow our present Army to be demobilised without taking exact details of every step of the procedure and every unit and man demobilised would be to ignore a common-sense precaution against future contingencies. Everyone hopes, of course, and expects that no such cataclysm as has upheaved the nation for the past four years will ever occur again, but it would be folly for the authorities to assume definitely that it cannot.

Therefore they are right in providing against it, and no soldier will leave the Army without the authorities having accurate information as to his "annual class" (i.e., his year of birth), his physical condition as shown by recent medical examination, his military grading, and everything else that they ought to know, in case he may be wanted again.

For Soldier Students

There has been some speculation as to how soldiers will spend their time while awaiting their turn for demobilisation. It may be taken for granted that the severer rigours of Army training will be relaxed. The Army system will be, in fact, humanised very considerably. It is hoped, for example, that organised games may replace in a large measure the "physical jerks" and other torments which in war time formed so large a portion of a soldier's drill. The "Entertainments Branch" will also show an increased activity, and concert - parties and other parties will be available for a much greater proportion of men than was possible when thousands had to be constantly on the qui vive in the front lines.

Still, it is not intended that Army life during the demobilisation period should be all pleasure and no profit. A very comprehensive. scheme of Army lectures and classes is being organised in the Army Education Department, of which Lord Gorell is director; and this department has been getting ready material and teachers for classes in all kinds of subjects, which soldiers may be taught free of charge. They may choose their own subjects, and the range of choice will comprise both academic knowledge and practical.

A soldier may improve his general school knowledge or his efficiency as a craftsman, or both, as he sees fit. He may even take up some quite new subject with a view to fitting himself for a better calling in life than his old one. The scheme will offer a splendid opportunity for some months of steady, study—which a soldier may continue after demobilisation, with the help of his local pensions committee and education authority, if he wishes.

Another interesting point of demobilisation concerns the right to be transported to some other country. The demobilisation regulations make it clear that any man who can show that he was before the war usually resident abroad can claim the right to be taken back to that country. This will reassure many men from overseas who either paid their own passage to come over to England to enlist, or happened to be in Great Britain when they enlisted. All have the right to be returned to the country of their adoption at the State's expense. As to schemes of emigration for soldiers previously resident in this country, arrangements have been made for the supply of all information from the Emigration Information Office, 34, Broadway, Westminster, S.W.I.

Finding Work for Officers

The demobilisation of the W.A.A.C.'s, or Q.M.A.A.C. as they are now, and other women units, will not be sudden. They will be formed into dispersal drafts and sent on to their dispersal hostels in small groups, much as the men are, but a deciding factor in determining the order in which they should be demobilised will be the order in which they can best be spared. So long as soldiers remain at their stations, the W.A.A.C.'s now doing work for them will still remain at work, and as the work lessens through the departure of troops, so the demobilisation of women can proceed in like proportion, the most necessary workers remaining the longest time. It is hoped, however, to take into consideration a woman's family ties in deciding priority of demobilisation.

As to the demobilisation of officers: The Ex-Officers Resettlement Committee has been set up under the Ministry of Labour in accordance with the scheme drawn up by the Ministry of Reconstruction. It includes representatives of the principal professional societies, leading business men, and commercial men and representatives of the Universities, and of unofficial associations interested in the training and employment of ex-officers. It has also representatives of the Civil Service. Attached to this department are to be local branches in the chief towns of the country working under district directors, who will keep in touch with employers and try to find suitable openings for applicants.




from 'The War Illustrated', 12th December, 1918
'When the Boys Come Home'
by Basil Clarke

Getting Back to Work


In a previous article I left our returned soldier at his "dispersal station" in his home area of Great Britain, drawing "something on account" of back-pay, "civvy suit" allowance, etc., and making his way home by himself with a month's furlough (before formally quitting the Army) in which to resume civilian work or take a holiday.

His Army pay and food allowances and family allowances will continue during this time, his war gratuity will be lying to his credit at the Post Office, and he will have also his Government out-of-work donation policy in his pocket. Thus there will be no cause for any breathless financial anxiety. During the month, therefore, he will probably be looking round and surveying the prospects of work, and I am going to be bold enough to try to give some forecast as to what those prospects are likely to be.

It is clear already that the work to be done after this war is greater than probably ever before in history. Every shop, store, and warehouse is depleted of stock all over the world. Every merchant who can get goods to sell, and every factory and workshop which can make goods, have already in hand orders enough to keep them busy for many months.

Many manufacturing places have received remunerative offers for the whole maximum output of their works and factories for as much as three years. The world and its markets are crying for goods.


Building and Shipping

Then, again, there are houses to build as well as houses to mend. Though 500,000 new houses are urgently needed, there is work enough in Great Britain for all the building men for several years ahead on building repair work alone. The roads are also out of repair, and there is work to the tune of 60,000,000 waiting.

In shipbuilding we have 3,500,000 tons net loss to make good; some 12,000 foreign foresters and timber men who have been imported during war to get timber will be "demobilised" and need replacing; the railways need vast repair work as well as new locomotives and new rolling-stock. There will be work enough for every available man, provided the materials can be got into the country.

On these two points much anxiety has been expressed. Knowing something of official investigations that have been made, I see no ground whatever for panic, but need only for care in the handling of the position. Researches made to ascertain what raw materials exist are very hopeful in nearly every case.

Metals, wool, cotton, timber, and such important things are amply available, provided we can ship them over. What, then, is the shipping position? We have suffered a net loss of three and a half million tons, it is true; there are also a big number of ships engaged on war duty. But with our own Mercantile Marine we contrived to do sea-carrying for half the world as well as for ourselves.

The number of ships on war service, moreover, will be a steadily lessening one as demobilisation proceeds. In view of these things, and of a net gain in shipbuilding by the United States, there seems no need for brooding over the shipping prospects. Anyhow, the Shipping Controller himself is hopeful, and he has never failed the nation yet.

One important safeguard, however, will be necessary until we can see just how shipping and material are going to "pan out" and that is to ensure

(1) that there is no grabbing of material for speculative purposes and profiteering;

(2) no using of material for purposes of purely private interest while purposes of more public utility may go short; and

(3) no waste of material.

Allotment of Materials

Very carefully organised machinery is being set up to establish these safeguards. The Standing Priority Council, composed of leading business men and organisers, will have before them constantly full facts as to the amount of material available and the amounts demanded for different purposes, and they will apportion the available material between trade and trade, taking into consideration before all else the value to the country as a whole of the use that is to be made of it.

One other particularly thoughtful bit of organisation, to assure a peaceful re-mobilisation of industry by the provision in good time of adequate working material, concerns half- manufactured raw materials. Though bricks may be the finished product of the brick- maker, they are the raw material of the builder. The demobilisation plans take due notice of this fact and arrange for the demobilisation of the brick-maker before the builder, the tanner before the saddler, the sugar-refiner before the sweet-maker, and so on.

In fact, demobilisation, as I explained in my first article, will seek to avoid depositing any soldier back in this country until industry is in something of a fairway towards being able to absorb him. The Ministry of Labour, with full knowledge of the labour situation, will give the word "Go!" before the Army releases him.

What about all the munition workers who will be thrown out of work by the stoppage of munition making?

Ex-Munition Factories

It seems to be assumed that, because 5,000 works and factories have been primarily engaged during war on the making of war products, they will drop henceforth out of existence and afford work for no one. There must always be—so far as can be seen at present—a nucleus of a munition-making organisation in, this country, and some of the biggest Government munition factories will not be scrapped; some, if only a comparative few, will still be devoted to munitions. Others that have been making chemicals and commodities, mainly used hitherto as ingredients in explosives, will make those same commodities for peace-time manufactures. Many, however, must change their manufactures.

That is true; but of the 5,000 existing munition factories some 4,500 had a peace-time existence and a definite peacetime production. Can they get back to it? Will they not need new machinery, equipment, and the rest? On this point here is an illuminating fact. Of some 1,200 munition factories who replied to questions as to their peace-time plans, no fewer than 1,000 said they had made their plans, and they could be carried out without any renewal of machinery; move than 150 replied that their plans would entail only a partial renewal, and the number who stated that complete renewal would be necessary was less than ten.

Many firms will not answer questions as to their, peace-time plans. What ground is there for assuming that they have promising plans? There is ground enough for most men in their quietness and complacency at the prospect of early peace. If they were in fear as to' the future they would be bombarding the Government for help and orders; instead, they are bombarding the authorities for only two things—(1) release from Government control, and (2) assured supply of raw materials.

But for doubters who want better evidence than this it only need be explained that there has been going on for some time past among the manufacturers of Great Britain a good deal of hard thinking and experimenting as to the best means of making at home some of the thousands of manufactured goods which were formerly obtained from abroad. In no branch of industry have these investigations been more numerous than in engineering.

New Manufactures

Months ago a committee working under the Ministry of Reconstruction surveyed the whole field of imported engineering products, with a view to ascertaining which of them could be made here, and by what kind of labour—i.e., skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled; man labour, woman labour. A tremendous list of articles imported from abroad—chiefly Germany and Austria—was drawn up. The list was then submitted in sections to appropriate manufacturers, that they might report as to the extent to which they thought these products could be made in their workshops.

Experiments were, of course, necessary. The Ministry obtained for the manufacturers material wherewith to experiment. The results have been striking, and it may be taken for granted that in the era following peace we shall see made in British workshops a great number of engineering products which formerly were imported. If this is the intention of British manufacturers, one can understand their reluctance to proclaim their plans at large.

The changes of trade and industry must bring about a great reshuffling of labour, and if any unemployment does occur it will result more largely, I think, of the difficulties of this reshuffling than of lack of openings for work and wages. Still, very careful machinery has been devised to meet this risk also. The returned soldier will find the Labour Exchanges much more enlightened and knowledgeable and quick-working machines than they were before the war. They will have greatly increased-facilities, much better contact with employers, greatly increased knowledge of the labour needs of the country, and a far more generous hand in the quick application of labour to the points and the industries that need it. The lessons of war and the need for decision, quickness, and method have not been lost upon even the civil institutions of the country.



from 'The War Illustrated', 21st December, 1918
'When The Boys Come Home'
by Basil Clarke

From Cog to Partnership


Before the war all of us had our pet nostrum for preventing industrial strife. Some of us were for giving working men a much greater share of the profits of industry and of the amenities of life generally, while others were convinced that the correct thing was to shoot a few thousand of them out of hand whenever things went wrong.

One good thing at least the war has done is to bring round almost every one whose opinion is worth anything to the first point of view. The whole country, even to its oldest, toughest, and most reactionary Tories, has come to admit the splendid qualities of our working lads and men, as revealed in this war, and to-day concedes their right to a much fuller share of the pleasures and advantages of life than they had in the past.

To find the best means of translating this feeling into practice the Government, even while the war was on, set a number of expert committees to work, each of them being given one or other phase of this great problem to investigate. The Ministry of Reconstruction, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Munitions, the Board of Trade, and other departments have all been busy on this subject, and seldom has any national question been more sympathetically or searchingly gone into.

Causes of Unrest

There is no need here to go in detail into reports. Many causes of unrest and dissatisfaction were revealed, causes including inadequate wages, bad conditions of work, bad housing, too long hours, strain and overwork, and many others. But one other cause remains which was commented upon in many reports, and which touches the quick of the whole question. It is best expressed, I think, in the first report of the Committee on Adult Education, a document which everyone who has at heart the interests of the working men and women of England should read.

This committee, comprising some of the. best brains in the country, pointed out that though you might give working people the best of houses, the brightest of workshops, the most humane of working conditions, you would not be removing all their sources of grievance until you removed also one other thing which lay at the bedrock of most of the trouble and unrest and dissatisfaction manifested in different ways by working people— namely, the sense of what one may call wage-slavery— the feeling that Labour has come to be regarded as a commodity, to be bought and sold, hired or not hired, used or scrapped, as though it were a raw material or a machine.

In other words, the workers felt that they had come to be regarded not as men and women, but as "hands," as "cogs in the machine," and to have no more consideration than these cogs, liable to be speeded up, slowed down, or scrapped, just as the profits or the whims of an employer dictated. They felt, in short, the lack of real personal interest, due to being cut off from any share of control over the conditions of their work or of the industry by which they lived. One very sound and practical idea emerged from all these investigations on the part of the Government, one that strikes me, and many other people more expert in assessing the needs and make-up of the human mind, as affording a foundation on which may be built up all the reforms for which Labour justly asks. It is the "Whitley" idea, framed by the Whitley Council, which was composed of employers and working men, well able to speak for the two interests they represented. The Whitley idea has been adopted by the Government as its industrial policy, and three departments of the State are carrying that policy into effect.

Industrial Control

Widely ventilated though the Whitley idea has been, I believe that not even yet are its possibilities for good adequately recognised by the people of this country. Either through lack of courage or through deliberate intent to obscure the great significance of its adoption by the State, the Whitley plan is getting less credit than it should, The reason lies in the general failure to admit openly both to workers and to the world that the Whitley plan, if carried out, will place in the hands of Labour the first measure of industrial control—the very essence of the concession which Labour seeks. The Whitley idea will put Labour in the way of "serving its time" at industrial control right away, and the length of time to be served will be determined only by the skill and enthusiasm and fairness that Labour puts into its new job.

The Whitley plan provides for the establishment in every industry of the equivalent of a Trade Parliament for that industry. It is called a Joint Industrial Council, though it has virtually the functions of a Parliament. It will be composed in equal numbers of Employers' representatives and of Trade Union representatives.

Nothing can alter that equality of representation. The Joint Council in each trade will be, as it were, a threefold organisation, thus : (1) A Main Council, or National Parliament, for the industry as a whole ; (2) District Joint Councils for districts or for different branches of the industry, and (3), Shop Committees, one for each workshop, factory, or mine, as the case may be. The District Councils will be in touch with the Shop Committees, the National Parliament with the District Councils, and each will undertake deliberations appropriate to this demarcation.

An Amicable Meeting-Ground

What are these Trade Parliaments to discuss? Previously, when employers and workers have met over the same table, it has always been to settle some point of difference where the employers' and the workers' interests conflicted. The new Trade Parliaments will settle these matters, too, but they will not stop at matters of conflicting interest. It is their job to discuss together all questions affecting the welfare of the trade as a whole and of all those who live by that trade, whether employers or workers.

This, you will see, is a much wider and much more amicable a meeting-ground than that of wages. Already, among the fifty or more Trade Parliaments that have come into being in the past few months, this new field has been agreed to include such things as improvement of trade

methods, comparison of methods with those of foreign countries, research, statistics and information about the trade, education for those entering the trade, competition, means for the regularisation of employment, design, rewards for improvements made by workers, Trade Union organisation, and the discouragement of workers and masters alike from refusing to join their respective unions. There are many other things, but these are enough to illustrate my point: Have British employers ever before thought of discussing these and such things with their workpeople?

The result cannot fail to be a great increase in sympathy and understanding between employers and workers. And as time goes on and the workers show the shrewdness, loyalty and common-sense, and real business ability of which the British worker is capable, and the employers show the consideration and sense of justice and fellow- feeling which the best of them already have in their hearts towards their workers, a mutual feeling of trust must be engendered; the relation will become more and more of a partnership.

Chance for the Workers

Why should not such a real partnership as this exist between employers and workers? Both are vitally interested in the welfare of the business by which both of them live. Both of them have special knowledge and experience to contribute to the common discussion. Imagine how close would be the watch kept on a business and on all its ends if workers were equally interested with their employers in seeing that things went right, and that there was neither slacking, nor waste, nor bad organisation, nor bad management.

And how much more interesting and engrossing labour would be if the worker were more of a real partner in this way.

There is already some opposition in this avenue of progress which the Whitley idea opens up. There are some parts of the country, especially in the North, where employers seem to be unaware that the biggest war in history has opened the eyes of the British working man and made him less ready to submit tamely to indignity and slavery for the sake of the mere money wherewith to keep alive. He has faced death and has seen great truths face to face. Also, there are here and there workers who, having seen Red Bolshevism, imagine that in one little jump they can pass from bench to boardroom as fully-equipped managers.

A word of warning is due to both. These reactionary employers are as much or more of a danger to the peace of the country than the workers who would take a lesson from the Russians. While it is up to employers to give the workers their chance, it is also up to workers to show that they can take it, and to "serve their time" to it, to fit themselves for the board-room as they did for the bench.

The Whitley idea offers the rising slope along which progress towards a true partnership between worker and employer can be reached. That slope can be short or long as the good-will on each side makes it.


Back to Index