Reader’s Letter: The Fightback Begins

May 3, 1906 ·

Indeed we live in truly interesting times: in a hitherto inconceivable intellectual coup we, former competitors, have rallied to clear the skies. Between our organisations we have simplified respirator manufacture, perfected exhaust filter technology and made promising progress in finding suitable replacements for “dirty fuels”.

The Royal Society today reported that their own neutralisation and weather experiments have been yielding encouraging results and I have been permitted to share with you respected Sirs that a means of collecting The Fog itself is also in development. Interesting indeed that so much has been achieved, in such little time, funded by our own pockets and how little has made its way in to the public consciousness.

The Gazette, for example, prefers to court the sensationalist image of ” Ranbir, The Saviour from Across the Atlantic”. Forgive my sceptisim, his scientists have always been gifted, brilliant even, but this recent exercise of a surprise broadcast concerning an “air purification device” smacks of the Clockwork Pariah attempting to scrape back some public opinion before letting loose his automata in homes across the significantly less polluted Canadian nation.

Let us not forget that Mr Ranbir’s so-called exile was more or less self imposed, possibly even at the suggestion of an embarrassed Lady Pilbeam Frobisher. It was as much an act of arrogance as it was one of survival.

He refused to subject himself to the scrutiny and questions posed not just by the workers whose livelihoods he possibly posed a threat to but also his peers; questions that he has yet to answer and, most likely, have yet to face from his Canadian benefactors.

I have witnessed the “lawlessness” in the capital: I was aboard the Princess Ann as it was marauded during its docking procedure; and since my arrival I have witnessed the staggering lack of provision or care for the people that populated our mils, factories, refineries and mines.

Yes I have seen what a man will turn his hand to in acts of desperation. We have all read the countless stories concerning rioting and looting carried out by, in real terms, a small fraction of our society. The Government and associated press revel in providing these tales as adequate motivation to impinge on their freedoms and our profits.

The truth is that the working men and women of this city are heroes. Poor, abandoned and honest these otherwise law abiding citizens clean up their streets and patrol after dark, keeping order in districts where the police now fear to tread. I have heard whispers of underground hospices staffed by off duty volunteer nurses caring for the elderly and sick who would otherwise be left to perish.

It was clear to me, on the occasions that I visited the East End after curfew, that the streets were brimming with life from all quarters and businesses were more active that they had been in years.

Technically by flouting curfew the law is being broken but these communities are protecting each other from The Fog and challenging their boroughs’ criminal elements. They are simply acting where the police will not and for that they are to be applauded, respected and encouraged. It is this resolve, this ingenuity and depth of character that cannot be replaced nor aped by automata. Such men and women are of value not only to their communities and country but also to industry and deserve adequate representation and protection.

We are coming to the end of an age where as leaders we can crack the whip and use fear as currency. There are only so many times a master can kick his dog before being mauled himself; the obstreperous Mr Ludd and his cronies may attest to that. When we at last drag this nation clear of the fog, the generally inactive government and notably silent and absent Crown will demand we set the wheels of industry spinning apace overnight. What use are the broken of body and spirit? What use are the curs, ready to turn? We will need the survivors, the lawbreakers and the protectors. We will need Heroes. We cannot abandon them now.

On behalf of Caledonian Bronze and Steam

E Stevenson

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