War and equality

King George V inspects New Zealand troops stationed on the Salisbury Plain in  England. — Otago...
King George V inspects New Zealand troops stationed on the Salisbury Plain in England. — Otago Witness, 4.7.1917.
The view, founded in part on his observations in the Old Country, which Sir Joseph Ward has expressed regarding the effect of the war in breaking down class differences is one to which frequent expression has been given in various quarters during the war period.

It is a view, moreover, which should commend itself as wholly reasonable. In the circumstances in which multitudes of men drawn from all sections of the community are banded together in a common cause, making kindred sacrifices and sharing the same dangers, hardships, sufferings, and triumphs, it would be strange if the barriers of class were not to a large degree destroyed in the broad fraternity of arms.

As one writer puts it: "The personal equation has not the importance it had and class distinctions have almost gone out of fashion in the swelter of war. Armageddon has made us a democracy in thought, in feeling, and in sympathy, as well as in our institutions. We have to be occupied with our own affairs because it is necessary to live, perhaps to make a living for others, certainly to provide the nation with the sinews for complete victory. Behind those thoughts, those occupations, there lies the great thought of how, when victory arrives, to utilise it for the greatest good of the greatest number of mankind."

It is to be hoped that this represents no merely transitory mental attitude on the part of the practical thinkers of the nation. Sir Joseph Ward observes that the "masses" have done such valuable work for the Empire that they must never be treated again as they have been in the past. In doing so he associates himself with an argument which others have strongly enunciated.

Soldiers’ dependants

The casualty lists which it has been our sorrowful duty to publish from day to day of late — the inevitable but tragic accompaniment of the glorious success in which the New Zealand forces participated at Messines — constitute a solemn reminder to all who enjoy the shelter and comfort of their own homes in the dominion. It is a reminder of the heavy responsibility that devolves upon them to provide such assistance as, supplementary to that furnished by the State, may be required by the soldiers of this country and by the wives and dependants of all the brave men who have gone and are going to the front. This little country has already been heavily stricken, but the character of the fighting in France and Flanders is so desperate as unfortunately to preclude the hope that we shall not yet have to mourn severe losses among the gallant soldiers who are engaged in fighting our battles against a determined foe. It is in view of these considerations that the Otago Patriotic Association has, within the last few days, issued an appeal for additional subscriptions to build up the Soldiers’ and Dependents’ Fund. That fund is being steadily drawn upon to meet the special demands made upon it, and the Patriotic Association is impressed with the belief that, if it is to be placed in a position to deal adequately, not to say liberally, with the calls that will be made upon it in the future, there should be a generous response to the appeal which is now made.

Deceptive glasses

"Observer" comments upon the practice which, he says, some hotel-keepers have adopted of placing glasses of deceptive construction before their customers to protect themselves against the possibility that long "nips" may be taken.

"It is amusing" writes our correspondent, "to notice the cunning shape of those glasses and the thickness of the bottoms. But, after all, it may be an act of kindness, as the less they contain the better for the consumer. The same argument applies to beer. The glass that looks the biggest and that holds the least is the favourite with the average publican. Out of 29 hotels in Dunedin, there are not more than nine or ten possessed of suitable glasses. No doubt many of the publicans have a good many enemies to contend with, but for true friends they can always rely on the deceptive glass and the water bottle. I often wonder why legislation is not passed under which all drinks should be measured and paid for accordingly. Liquor is bought by measure, and ought to be sold by measure."

Timaru electricity

The electric light is evidently becoming very popular in Timaru.  At the present time no fewer than 40 houses are being connected with it, and the electric light department of the council is busier now than ever it has been before. More men are wanted for wiring than the manager is able to secure. — ODT, 5.7.1917.



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