Thursday, 20 October 2016

Protest Meeting in Russell Park, Bedford

Russell Park, Bedford, postmarked 1907 (Z1130/9/933)

Friday 20th October: It is reported that The Bedford Trades Council held a meeting in Russell Park to protest against the high cost of food. The following resolution was carried unanimously: ‘That this public meeting in Bedford protests against the inaction of the Government with regard to the continual rise of food prices, and also condemns the liberty allowed to the capitalists whilst the workers are not allowed to sell their labour to the highest bidders. This meeting also urges the Government to so act as to ensure that no capitalist is better off than before the war.’

The people were not going to continue to make sacrifices for the benefit of the profiteers. During the war the average increase in wages was 25 per cent and the cost of living had risen by 60 per cent. Alderman Morley stated that there was a need for more statesmanlike and far seeing patriotism. He had been in communication with soldiers who had been in the mouth of hell, some of the best men in the country, and they were beginning to ask the question whether it was for the benefit of the capitalists that they were risking their lives. If the Government was not careful there would be so much discontent as to rouse the Government from inaction with regard to food prices. There had been increased activity amongst the people who manipulated the food supply of the world and these people were concerned about lining their own pockets. Bacon had risen by 66% prior to the war and was still rising, whilst milk was extortionate. Alderman Morley stated it was as necessary to protect the food supply of the people as it was to get recruits. Textile, tea and rubber firms were seeing increases in their profits. The Government had to realise that the exploiting of the people must stop, or they were not a Government of the people.  

Source: Bedfordshire Standard 20/10/1916

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