THE ORGANIZED HYPOCRISY.
No. III.—TFIE LIBERAL PRESS.
THE organized hypocrisy of the Liberal Govern- ment and the Liberal Party is well exemplified in the Liberal press. Indeed it is hardly too much to say that there it has reached its zenith. Our first example is one with which our readers are only too familiar, i.e., that portion of the Liberal press controlled until very recently, if not actually at the moment, by certain mem- bers of the Cadbury and Rowntree families—the Daily _News and the Star newspapers, now possessed by one company and, so far as we understand, run as one busi- ness concern. [The Star's imprint describes it as " Printed and published by the Daily News, Ltd."] We may remind our readers once again how Mr. George Cadbury in the Sunday at Home, in the year 3909, made the following statement :— "'But I put betting on quite another basis,' he continued, 'for I am faced with the undoubted fact that millions of good Christian people, of whose Christianity there can be no doubt, think it right to take strong drink in moderation, but I never heard of an earnest Christian worker who indulged in betting. Therefore under careful restrictions it may be well to supply drink. I would rather they could procure it in Bournville for consumption at home than they should go to some vice-ridden drink shop outside ; but I would make no compromise on betting. As you know, I make the exclusion of betting forecasts from its columns a condition of my connexion with the Daily News.'" 'Interview with Mr. George Cadbury in the Sunday at Home.] Next note that the following advertisement of the Daily News appeared in the Quiver (December 1906) :- A WOMAN'S QUESTION.
Anything that affects the well-being It increases year by year. of the Home is essentially a Woman's The curse of Betting would die but Question. for the publicity afforded by the Press It is the duty and the pleasure of the of Great Britain. Mother to guard her Home against the There are thousands of persona who admission of everything that is evil, do not believe in Betting and Horse- . And she does this fearlessly. racing, and who yet bring home news- But there is one form of evil, chiefly papers which live largely on Turf affecting the welfare of the young intelligence.
people, which finds its way into most They do it without thinking of the families without let or hindrance. temptation which they are thus plan. That is the evil of Betting and Horse- ing in the hands of the rising genera- racing—au evil which is destroying tion.
thousands of our young people every Will you allow this temptation to enter year. your house I The proceedings of any Police Court Remember this great risk may be prove the truth of this statement, and avoided by buying " Tim Dirty NEWS," Magistrates confirm it. which does not contain ono line of No Section of Society is free from it. Betting or Horse-racing news.
What came of these statements ? Some very strange things. " An earnest Christian worker," if he did not indulge in betting, indulged in helping to persuade others to bet by supplying them with betting tips, and " made a compromise on betting " when the Daily News Company became one of the principal shareholders in the Star. After reading the words quoted above one would have sworn that whatever else happened there was one thing which could never happen. Mr. George Cadbury would never be concerned in purchasing and maintaining a paper like the Star. Yet that did happen.
Though for ourselves we think betting does an immense deal of harm to the working classes, and want to see our national policy of discouraging public gaming carried to its proper and reasonable conclusion by forbidding news- papers to turn themselves into gaming tables, we can quite understand the point of view of those people, and they are of course many, who say that there is no harm in betting, or, at any rate, that it is so certain that men will bet or gamble upon something that there is no objection to providing them with facilities for doing so in a particular direction. In a word, there are plenty of people who say : " If a man wants to bet he will bet, and why should not we help him to his amusement by giving him honest tips ? As long as we do not lend ourselves to swindles we have as good a right to give betting forecasts as advice to investors on the Stock Exchange." That is not our attitude, but it may be, we admit, a perfectly honest attitude, and we have no quarrel on the ground of hypocrisy with the " men of the world " newspapers which act upon it and make no pious pretensions as regards " the terrible vice of gambling." We say, however, that this "man of the world" attitude is one which cannot possibly be held by those who take what we may call the " Cadbury " view of betting and of the publication of " betting forecasts "—a view publicly announced by the Daily News and never since repudiated.
To continue our narrative, Mr. George Cadbury, in spite of the advertisement in the Quiver, and in spite of his interview in the Sunday at Home, purchased, through the Daily News, a considerable interest in the Star and Morning Leader, both of which papers gave " betting forecasts." What was the exact financial position it is difficult to say, but at any rate the Daily News, at that time Mr. George Cadbury's paper, as a com- pany acquired a large holding in the Morning Leader and Star Company and so did several other persons con- nected with the Daily News. Now comes what seems even more incredible. A body called the " Joseph Rown- tree Social Service Trust " acquired also a number of shares in the Morning Leader and Star Company. What is the exact nature of the Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust we do not know, but we think we are right in assuming that it consists of a fund set apart by a member or members of the Rowntree family for helping their fellow-men and " the cause of humanity." In any case this part of the Trust fund ended in a very remarkable piece of social service—that which is accomplished by setting clerks, artisans, labourers, men-servants, and all the happy-go-lucky floating popula- tion of the London streets betting on " Captain Coe's " " tips " and " naps." Whether the member of the Rowntree family who, in his book on the poor of York, wrote that he con- sidered that betting on horse races did more to impoverish and so injure the social condition of the people even than the consumption of alcohol had any share in producing this astounding result we do not know, but we think we may feel pretty sure that all the members of the Rowntree family would in the abstract agree with that dis- tinguished relative in this view of the situation. Anyway, the Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust put its money, as it were, on " Captain Coe's " tip for the Humanity Stakes. " Pack up all you've got and bundle the lot on —." This was one of " Captain Coe's " poetical incentives to his readers to go a header on a particular horse, and it was apparently in this spirit that the trustees acted.
When we first called attention to the astonishing position that the Daily News, Mr. George Cadbury, and the Rowntree Trust occupied owing to their connexion with the Star and " Captain Coe," and described how they were in effect speaking with two voices, a morning voice to condemn betting absolutely, and an evening voice to propagate "betting forecasts," and to incite poor men to think that they could make money by following tips, a great many different forms of defence were put forward by the friends of the Cadbury and Rowntree families, but none of them directly by the Daily News or Mr. George Cadbury. Ulti- mately, however, and after, to his very great credit, Sir Edward Fry, the distinguished Quaker and ex-Lord Justice, bad described the situation in its true terms, a sort of official reply was made on behalf of Mr. George Cadbury. We think we shall not be doing this official defence any injustice when we say that it amounted to this, that the persons accused declared that they could see no harm whatever in what they bad done, and that they meant to stick to their guns. We might have been excused for think- ing that we had here reached bottom. We were mistaken, however. There was yet another step required to complete the full tale of journalistic organized hypocrisy. A year ago the Morning Leader and the Star were absorbed by the Daily News. Here, again, it is difficult to follow the exact financial development, but the Morning Leader ceased to exist and the Daily News became the Daily News and Leader, while the Star, which we take it is now owned as well as printed and published by the new Daily News, Ltd., continued its gay career as the propagator of betting forecasts.
In casting up the moral account it might perhaps be thought that at any rate there was something to the good achieved by these transactions. The Morning Leader, which had always given betting forecasts and tips, ceased to exist, and therefore there was one tipster the less. Unfortunately, however, it is impossible to take this optimistic view of the moral situation, for note what had happened to the Daily News in the meantime. Incredible as it may seem, the Daily News abandoned its old plan of having nothing whatever to do with racing news, and, in spite of such statements as that of the Quiver advertisement, took to giving racing information !
We must add that after this article was written we received from the editor of the Daily News a letter given elsewhere, which contains the statement that Mr. George Cadbury severed his connexion with the Daily News
eighteen months ago. Is this an exact date, we wonder, or only a round number ? The severance, however, in any case, is such recent history that it in no way renders invalid either our narrative of the facts connected with the Star and Daily News or our deductions therefrom. Note, too, that the editor of the Daily News does not say that his paper has altered its policy as regards " betting forecasts," nor does he in any way repudiate Mr. George Cadbury's views. Yet, in the context, he would certainly have done this did he desire that it should be considered that the Daily News had changed its attitude, and must now be considered to hold the " man of the world," not the Cadbury, view of betting.
We need not, however, go into any further detail in regard to the moral situation. The facts are amply sufficient to show that we are not exaggerating when we say that the history of the Daily News, the Star, and Mr. George Cadbury affords a capital example of that organized hypocrisy of which we have accused latter-day Liberalism.
What has made the thing worse is that the rest of the Liberal press have utterly failed in its duty in regard to what we must describe as the scandal of the Star and the Daily News. Though many Liberal papers have attempted to defend the action of the proprietors of the Daily News and of the Star, not one, as far as we know, has publicly condemned such action. They have been content to pass by this example of organized hypocrisy without a word of blame.
We have no desire to rest our accusation that the Liberal press have so largely become an organized hypo- 3risy upon a single instance. Unfortunately the record of the Liberal press in regard to the Marconi scandal is as bad as in the matter of the Daily News and the Star. Look at the facts. In 1900 the Star and the Morning Leader began a campaign against Mr. Chamberlain because he and certain members of his family had not shown, as they declared, sufficient delicacy and discretion in the matter of their investments, and in this attack they were supported with various degrees of intensity by practically the whole of the Liberal press. The Spectator, though a warm supporter and admirer of Mr. Chamberlain, felt it its duty, while entirely exonerating Mr. Chamberlain and his family from any charge of dishonour, to say that they had not been discreet in the matter, and that though their personal conduct was above the slightest suspicion of corruption, they had set what might prove to be a most dangerous precedent. The Liberal press were good enough to praise the Spectator for its action in 1900, and in no measured terms. Now a position roughly analogous has arisen, and on their own showing the Liberal Ministers concerned have set an infinitely worse example and created an infinitely worse precedent. Yet what has happened ? Not only has the Liberal press refused to condemn Liberal Ministers on the principles upon which they con- demned Mr. Chamberlain, but they have actually gone so far as to insist that the Ministers concerned have not done anything which in the very slightest degree derogates from their high office, or is in the least unbecoming Ministers of the Crown. They have declared again and again that neither the Attorney-General nor the Chancellor of the Exchequer need be the least sorry or ashamed for their Stock Exchange transactions, and have denounced the Unionists in unmeasured terms for having dared to call attention to their action. The Spectator has indeed incurred their special fury for its " vile in- sinuations." Now that the persons involved are Liberal Ministers and not Unionist Ministers, the Spectator is denounced for its miserable partisanship and for its daring to talk about delicacy and discretion to " high Ministers." With the words of Liberal Ministers in the debate of 1900, headed by Mr. Lloyd George, and, what is still worse, with their own biting editorial comments on that debate and their harsh censures of Mr. Chamberlain staring them in the face, Liberal newspapers have not had the courage, the consistency, nay, the common honesty, to say a word in condemnation or reproof of the want of delicacy and discretion shown by Lord Murray, Mr. Lloyd George and the Attorney-General in their dealings in American Marconis. With an impudence which is magni- ficent in its brazen boldness, they have in effect taken up the position that things which are highly unbecoming when done by Unionist Ministers are perfectly justifiable when done by their own side.
If the attitude of the Liberal press in regard to the Marconi business is not an example of organized hypocrisy in the political world—we have no complaint to make against the Liberal press except on its political and party side— we do not know where to find it. We must hasten to add that there is one exception in the Liberal press, and as far as we know there is only one. To his very great credit, Mr. Massingham of the Nation has had the courage to let men see that in his opinion, at any rate, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Attorney-General did not act in a way becoming Ministers of the Crown when they entered upon their Stock Exchange transactions last year, and still more when they used language in the House of Commons last October which conveyed the impression that they had never had any dealings with Marconi shares in any portion of the habitable globe—to borrow Mr. Churchill's indignant style.