CLIFFORD ALLEN AND MR. LLOYD GEORGE

This is a further update in a series of extracts from the No Conscription Fellowship’s journal, published in the UK between March 1916 and November 1918
For further extracts go to : http://nfpb.org.uk/tribunal

By Bertrand Russell

(Some extracts)

Mr. Clifford Allen, the chairman of the No-Conscription Fellowship, was handed to the military authorities on Friday, August 11. The Appeal Tribunal has awarded him civil alternative work of national importance, but he felt, rightly or wrongly, that the work which he has been doing was of greater national importance than growing cabbages. It is for this opinion that he is to suffer.

From Mr. Lloyd George’s statement in the House of Commons on July 26, it is to be feared that his sufferings will be severe, and will last until the war ends. He is typical of that section of conscientious objectors who cannot accept alternative service. “With that kind of men,” said Lloyd George, “I personally have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever.”…

There is a manly note of primitive ferocity about these words. They show the odd misconception of the nature of conscience which has been common to all our politicians… Mr Lloyd George seems to think that conscience can only forbid things: the kind that enjoins things is apparently unknown to him. Does he think that St. Paul would have been satisfied with a certificate excusing him form preaching paganism?…

…(Conscientious objectors) believe that war is a crime and disaster; they cannot satisfy their conscience by a passive nonparticipation, but feel bound to do what they can to bring the nations to their point of view. There is a habit of representing these men as slackers… (but) the immense majority of men of this class are exceptionally hard workers…

… the conscientious objector knows… that if he agrees to perform agricultural work, some man now employed upon the land will be unstarred and will become a conscript: the final result is not to increase the amount of food for women and children, but only to increase the amount of food for cannon…

dove..