Friday 18 February 1916
Shipley MP warns against neglecting industry
Shipley MP Oswald Partington warned the government not to take too many men away from industry or the country would not be able to afford to fight the war. ‘We are willing to grant any number of men the government think necessary but we must at the same time keep an eye upon the industries of the country,’ he said. The warning came in a wide-ranging speech to the Liberal Club in Saltaire, given shortly after Mr Partington had been appointed to the Royal Commission on Restricted Imports. He explained that the commission’s job was to decide which imports were necessary faced with the massive shortage of mercantile shipping which had been diverted to provide food, materials and munitions to the war effort. Huge profits One reason why food was costing so much was because of the shortage of shipping. Ship owners were able to ask any price they like for the conveyance of goods. Freight costs had gone up by leaps and bounds, some by 1,000 per cent, and ship owners were making huge profits despite being taxed at 50 per cent on excess profits. Among the products being halted were paper, fruit and tobacco, though Mr Partington sought to assure his audience they ‘needn’t be down- hearted about that because it was said there is two years’ supply of tobacco in the country.’ He moved on to his main theme, saying that while the country was doing well in the fighting and their position wasn’t nearly as perilous as in Germany, where they were desperately short of food, he was concerned about the financial situation. ‘If the government continue to take men away from business, the financial situation is going to become serious in this country.
‘Mr Runciman, President of the Board of Trade, said before Christmas when we were voting another million men, that in his opinion trade could stand it if it was carefully worked. ‘A million men taken out of our industries now, when everybody wanted workmen, when our docks are blocked because there are no men to deliver the goods and no men to work the railways, will create a serious situation. ‘We ought not to leave this question entirely in the hands of the War Office. We do not want the War Office to get entire control of this country. They seem to have no idea of the value of money and from the manner in which they spend it, they might think it grew under a gooseberry bush instead of it having to be worked for very hard indeed. ‘We should not take too many men away from our industries. When all is said and done we cannot carry on a war unless we are able to pay our way. Five millions ‘This war is costing us five millions a day. We have voted another million men and the Prime Minister has told us that each soldier cost the country £300 a year. Before the war finishes it will be costing us six millions a day. Not only that, we have lent our Allies 450 millions and our Allies cannot keep on unless we lend them money. ‘We are buying millions and millions of pounds worth of goods from America and foreign imports are coming into this country in the shape of munitions and food and raw
materials. It has all to be paid for. ‘We cannot fight a war on capital alone. If we keep on taking too many men from our industries we shall cripple not only the home trade but also the export trade which is an absolute necessity to carry war to a satisfactory conclusion.’ Turning to the Military Service Bill, he explained that while he was not someone who wanted to increase the size of the army more than necessary, he had voted for it because ‘this war is different from any previous war and we have got to make great sacrifices, so great in fact as to sacrifice voluntarism and accept compulsion. Colossal sacrifices ‘I don’t like compulsory service but when the greatest statesmen we have in this country say that they cannot obtain the men required to bring the war to a successful issue except by compelling the remaining unmarried men to attest, I feel that I have no other course but to follow their lead. ‘We have made some colossal sacrifices and have lost some of the best blood of the country. We cannot now afford to throw up the sponge and say we can do no more.’ He concluded: ‘On more than one occasion the Prime Minister has pledged this country to win. He told Belgium that we had got to restore that country to its inheritance. ‘This pledge was given with the approval of everybody in this country and for the sake of Europe, for the sake of our children and our children’s children, we must see that that pledge is honoured.’
We do not want the War Office to get entire control of this country. They seem to have no idea of the value of money and from the manner in which they spend it, they might think it grew under a gooseberry bush instead of it having to be worked for very hard indeed’
Shipley MP Oswald Partington
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‘Shipley special constables, under Sectional Commander Taylor, are now doing duty in the streets in consequence of so many members of the Force having joined the Colours. ‘For the time being, until they get accustomed to the workings of the various beats, each man is accompanied by a police officer.’
Temperance medal
Saltaire Primitive Methodist Church held two notable services, reported in some detail by the Shipley Times & Express. The church was celebrating the completion of 30 years’ service by organist Seth Heaton (left) who had taken up the position shortly after moving to Shipley from Queensbury. Mr Heaton was also a trustee of the church and Sunday School, gave piano lessons and was ‘always willing to lend a hand in promoting concerts when they are for a good cause.’ The reporter noted: ‘It is recognised by those capable of judging that his voluntaries are no mere “time fillers” while the collection is being taken but rather does he seek to reveal the soul of the organ in the harmonies of which the king of instruments is capable.’ That Sunday’s services were also notable for the visit of ‘Miss Elsie Bicheno, who as an elocutionist has attained a reputation which is becoming national. Fine interpretation ‘Miss Bicheno’s portrayal of the story of “Ruth and Naomi” (which taken from the merely literary standpoint, has no peer in any writing, either ancient or modern), was remarkably fine and most marked contrast to the manner in which it is usually read from the scriptures. ‘Miss Bicheno also gave a fine interpretation of the defence which Paul made when standing on his trial before Agrippa. ‘The services were crowned by the expositions of Biblical truths by the Rev Henry Taylor. Mr Albert Carpenter, the choirmaster, who was in good voice, sang “Waft her, angels,” the scriptural setting of which was described by Mr Taylor. Miss Taylor also showed to advantage in a solo.’
Organist’s celebration enhanced by Miss Bicheno’s eloquence
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