Vanguard December 1915

The Press Gang

Source: Vanguard, unattributed, probably by Maclean, December 1915, p. 7;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

Mr. Dalrymple is at it again. Whenever an opportunity offers itself to this gentleman of tyrannising over the men who have the misfortune to be under him, he is sure to seize it. Just as he broke the back of the tramwaymens’ strike some years ago by methods even more abominable than those habitually used by private capitalists, so he finds now a chance to outshine everybody in the gentle art of inviting men “voluntarily” to join the Army Needless to say, he can almost do as he pleases with the men, they have no organisation. An elaborate spy system appears to exist in the Tramway Department for the purpose of preventing the growth of trade unionism. Liberty of thought may now be prohibited generally by the Defence of the Realm Act, but to tramway men this will make no difference, as they do not seem even to have enjoyed this right.

On 10th November Mr. Dalrymple issued a circular “inviting” the men to fill up a form giving full particulars as to age dependants, etc., “in order to get some idea to how the Department will stand in the event of a large number of the staff joining the colours Under Lord Derby’s scheme.” “Arrangements have been made for the members of the staff being examined by the Medical Officer.” But what if a man neither desires to fill up the form nor to avail himself of the services of the Medical Officer. Refusal, we suppose, will be treated as a serious breach of discipline for which severe punishment must be given. The individual who refuses will, no doubt, according to the approved system, be badgered about; officials will find fault with him whenever they can get a chance; he will be given the worst shifts to work, and will be hampered and hindered at every turn. All this being for the purpose of disgusting the man of character, who does not prove amenable to the methods of insidious compulsion practised b this Department, and driving him to throw up the job.

Let Dalrymple and his backers, the “economic compulsionists,” in the Town Council beware! The war will not last forever. With its close will come a great wave of reaction, which, as one of its minor effects, may well bring the Glasgow Corporation under working class control. Our bill against Dalrymple for the victimisation of our comrades during the Tramway Strike clamours for settlement. Let him take care not to add fuel to the fire of hatred against him burning in the hearts of Glasgow workers.