"THE LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY."
The British Poor Law Guardian, that embodiment of inefficiency, is doomed. The report of the Poor Law- Commission, issued this week, foreshadows his downlall, and with it the abolition of the antiquated, cumbrous, wasteful, and futile system which he represents. The Commission have held a most, strenuous and exhaustive inquiry into the poor law system of this "Land of Hope and Glory" (to use the Commission's own term), and are unanimous in demanding the abolition of the Boards of Guardians and the breaking up of their obsolete and inhuman system of mixed workhouses, in which able-bodied paupers, deserving and undeserving, aged paupers, children, tramps, wastrels, and the mentally deficient are herded together. They contend that the breakup of the workhouse will enable the right officials to be appointed to the right duties, and that this will raise the status of the officials. There must be a clean sweep of the Boards of Guardians, who have utterly failed to meet the needs of the situation. Bumble must go. In the concluding paragraphs of then CSO page report —the majority report — the Commissioners lay stress on the fact that they have framed their new system, "so as to invite anu bring into positions of authority the best talent and experience that the locality can provide. In addition to those vested with such authority, we have left a place for all capable and willing social workers, but they must work in accord, under guidance, and in the sphere allotted to them." Then they go on to demand that the well-to-do classes shall set an example of self-restraint and self-improvement to their poorer brethren. "Example is the school of mankind," and this aphorism was never truer than in these days of publicity. In every community the mode of life, the habits, and the expenditure of the rich and ostentatious reflect and produce themselves in the lower grades of society. Witness after witness has noted the extravagance in dress, the restless craving for amusement, the increasing time spent in watching sports or games —in a word, the subordination of the more serious duties of life to the frivolity and amusement of the moment. In the judgment of these witnesses, these habits are largely responsible for much of modern pauperism and distress. A reform in these respects is required, and the Commissioners ask pointedly whether the lead and example should not be given from above. And this epoch-making report ends with a grave warning, thus expressed: " 'Land of Hope and Glory' is a popular and patriotic lyric sung each year with rapture by thousands of voices. . . . . To certain classes of the community into whoso moral and material condition it has been our duty to inquire, these words are a mockery and a falsehood. Our investigations prove the existence in our midst of a class whose condition and environment are a discredit and a peril to the whole community. Each and every section of society has a common duty to perform in combating this evil and contracting its area, a duty which can only be performed ■by united and untiring effort to convert useless and costly inefficients into selfsustaining and respectable members of the community. No country, however rich, can permanently hold its own in
the race of international competition if hampered by an increasing load of this dead weight, or can successfully perform the role of sovereignty beyond the seas if a portion of its own folk at home are sinking below the civilisations and aspirations of its subject races abroad.
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