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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

211

material conditions of the working people then were much
harder than they are to-day, and their opportunities for
recreation and amusement were much more restricted than
they are in these days ; and, indeed, most of them had little
leisure from toil to amuse themselves at alL
" So, looking back, I see great improvements; but what
strikes me is this—if you put all these things together, they
constitute a veritable revolution in our social life, but it has
been carried through without upsetting the Constitution,
without violence or doing serious damage to any section of the
community; and that is a striking testimony to the value
of our democratic system.
" We in this country dislike violent changes, yet, although
we may be slower in making these changes than if we were
more highly organised, our progress is steady and continuous,
and each step is firmly consolidated before the next step is
taken. At the present time we are engaged in unprecedented
expenditure on armaments, and yet even now we are still
steadily improving and extending our social services.
" We are clearing away slums, controlling and reducing
overcrowding, improving our health services, and particu-
larly the maternity services, in which I have always taken a
special interest, and quite recently we have been providing
an improvement in extending facilities for the young to train
and discipline their bodies to grow up and be strong and
healthy.
" These increased facilities are more needed to-day than
ever before because our young people have so much leisure
at their disposal. It is a wonderful reflection to-day that
something like eight million people are having holidays with
pay. That is a practice I introduced into my-own works
twenty years ago, before I gave up business for politics,
and to-day it is becoming the rule that if we are to get full
enjoyment out of holidays we must be physically fit. I hope
our efforts to provide physical fitness will mean that, when
holidays come, holiday-makers will be able to get the best out
of them*
" Home affairs to a large extent can be directed and con-
trolled by ourselves. If that was all we had to think about, how
• much simpler would be the task of governing the country,