Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. LABOUR INCONSISTENCY.
T^ie , trquble with, the n revolutionary labour leader is!that he has not sufficiently studied the principle of the boomerang, and so neglects to provide against the possibility of his militant methods and proposals recoiling on himself. The South African Labour Party has had this fact brought vividly to its notice. Early in January, at a labour conference a$ Pretoria, a resolution was passed that the introduction of strike-breakers into an area affected by industrial unrest be made a criminal offence, and the expenditure of public money on the introduction and maintenance of police and military into these areas was also, to be made an indictable offence. It does not seem to have occurred to the members-of the conference that ike Government, taking; its cue from the extremists of the labour party, would *adopt just that kind of direct action so much admired when used against the pnemies of labour. Again, in his' speech in vindication of the Union Government's action in proclaiming martial law, General Smuts showed clearly; that the lesson of the July strike was entirely lost upon the labour leaders, who adopted in\ January the same methods of intimidation that failed so
signally in July. And their most vehement protest is reserved for exactly the same kind pf warfare, when used by the Government, that they" hoped to use themselves to terrorise the country. Another quaint example of inconsistency is revealed in the demand made "by the Newcastle miners that the New South Wales Government shall import a number of medical men from abroad in order to break down the strike of members of the British Medical Association, who have demanded an increase in the fees for attending 1 miners who are members of friendly societies. If there is one class of workers that labour, as such, regards as its most'objectionable foe, it. is the strike-breaker. The duration of a strike would depend upon the nod of the labour bosses, and the community would be compelled to bend the knee to these dictators, were it not for the common denominator —the unattached. labour element —who can always be relied Upon in a crisis. And yet, in their extremity, the miners are —nared to' throw principle to the dogs' and "demand ■' the introduction ' of strike-breakers. Here is a precedent that will stand for all time as an, example of the boomerang action of illconsidered labour methods, as well as a monument to the party s inconsistency.' And the humiliating 'a&pectM of ;the matter is .that the s'&crince 1 of ideals will vbe'i iii vain 7' !!GMr l ideas; of -a close corporation . become msighificanjt when compared with, the -solidarity ailcl wide-reaching influence of the British Medical Association. Thfe r': Minister of Public 'Health, to whom the miners, applied, confessed frankly , that.it "was'■"•'too 1-big-an undertaking] to supply every township with a doctor, as English doctors also were members of the Association. Another labour principle has gone by the board in this demand for doctors. The unions insist upon the right of" the worker to work or "not to work; as he pleases, but "they refuse to conceded the same: rio-ht to the doctors. It must be admitted that the spectacle of what is popularly supposed to be the noblest of all professions being concerned in a sordid squabble about fees is not a pleasant one; but medical men are no less mortal than other people are. They recognise that friendly societies are piling up large reserves, that actuarial margins are perfectly sound, and they do not see why they should not participate in some of the profits which, to a certain extent, they have helped to create by their skill m keeping the death-rate down. And that they will gain their point appears; to be inevitable.