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Merthyr NotesI

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Our City Fathers To Be I

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Our City Fathers To Be I II SOME IMPRESSESSIONS OF LABOUR'S I NOVEMBER CANDIDATSE. I I No. 1.âMR. T. J. EVANS. I In November Labour in Merthyr intends to turn its militant minority of Councillors into a permanent majority of local government admin- istrators. I jjersonallv am satisfied that the awakening of industrial democracy to the ur- gency of direct and interested participation in the affairs of its locality, as in national and in- ternational matters, has proceeded sufficie-ntly far to ensure that the Labour ticket is going to be a passport the possession of which alone will secure the exercise of the franchise of the work- ing class; but just as a Social-Democrat I have ever depreciated the so-called illiterate vote âto which I give a much wider interpretation than the mere liability to read a candidate's nameâso also I should strongly object to the foisting of any candidate upon the people in La- bour's name, in whose intelligence and integrity I could not place the utmost reliance. I am confident that the nominating lodges, the Ward Committees and the central Party in Merthyr also feel in the same way, and the eight candi- dates who will carry the Red Flag in November are personalities as well as partisans. The municipal programme. whirh they will jointly stand for it will be my duty to deal with later in these columns, and, since the man matters almost as much .1-S the principles for which he sta.nds it has been suggested to me that I should for the next "few weeks endeavour-to outline a briet skeu-'J' J the Ilisajohthatihm/nottaken on without some reluctance, for when one revolves per- petually around a comparatively small centre in a somewhat restricted circle, as the propagan- dist must of necessity do, it is difficult to evade the feoling that all know as much of the indi- viduals that one knows so well oneself in the in- timacy of a_ common bond of fellowship in a n'at cause as one 3oes olw's-self. However, I have said yes, and so here goes. THE ALDERMAN." I I have chosen for mv first victim, the candi- date for my own WardâPark. Mr. Tom John Evans, or rather as lie is more popularly know n. Alcl." Tom John Evans. The persistence with which the honorary title he won so well during his years of service on the Council, no less than the universal esteem in which even .the "other side invariably spea k of Mr. Evans, in them- selves convey to me a more striking testimonial to Mr. Evans' ability, and condemn the madness of the moment in which the people deposed him from representation than any other fact I know. And of those two spontaneous facts the last is the greatest. Nominally I am inclined to cyni- cism when a man's political opponents take to singing 'his praises, but the idiocy of dogmati- cally inferring a priori a man's inconsistency to principle from any suc? prejudiced tag has been borne in on me in other fields than politics, and so I h?ve learned to know that opponents pub- licly praise and privately dispise one who from ignorance or knaveiy betrays the principles he was elected to represent, whilst they privately honour and eulogise one wliose ability, courage and sincerity has marked him out as probably the most dangerous and relentless opponent to be faced. It is in the last category that Mr. Evans comes. To me he has always .stood as the na.tural leader of a Labour Group on the Council, and in saying that I am not for one moment belittling the consistently aggressive members who to-day represent us. Leadership, after all, is something more than knowledge of the work, something more than the aptitude to express a specific point of view with fluency and force, something more than the power to riddle a policy with shrapnel of irrefragible facts, or barrage it with a curtain fire of satire. Iader- ship compounds all of those things, and some- thing elseâthat something that even in a circle of able men marks one of them out to be spokes- man, general and shepherd in one. Illhat it, is that so signalises one a hundred different people might answer in a hundred different ways, all of which would eventually boil down to an inex- pressible admission tha.t the man so marked out was possessed of a subtle something in his make- up that defied analysis, but which was none the less materially real because of its mystery. And it is that something that more than all else is the gift that Mr. Evans adds to a profound, al- most religious, conviction in the tenets of La- bour, to a knowledge both theoretic and applied of local government-, and to an eloquence that comes to the man who loves books for the sake of books its Mr. Evans loves them, and not for the sake of a recondite reflection that they might be able to dazzle with. THE HOSPITAL. I ft is a misfortune that the public memory is the public's most unstable natural possession, and if 1 engaged in a recounting of the schemes which during his life as councillor and alderman wee -sealed with his sPill. I should be dealing with historxâand history that goes further than yesterday has no power of appeal except to the I fe\\ who have made it a study. In this the worker hose man un l fatigue constitutes an excuse for mental effort is less blameworthy in this respect than the trading and so-called mid- I dlp-dass whose ignorance is indefensible. It is necessary therefore to take something nearer our own movement to give just one glimpse of Mr. Evans at work. And of the multitude of activities that immediately recur to memory with him as central figure, J am choosing de- liberately the G eneral Hospital question as being one that was fought with tremendous intensity over -a period of years, one in which Labour, lighting against the most virulent opposition never waived a principle or committed a dirty action. And the leader was Tom John Evansâ it was his incisive logic that cut through the sophistries that blind prejudice sought to spread across the way to Labour's legitimate repre- sentation rights; it was his humanity that safe- guarded the patients, when in the heat of com- bat. the opposing elements were inclined to for- get the purpose of the institution. In Executive Committee, on Governing Board, and in the grander massed meetings of the annuat and semi- annual gatherings his -was the voice of sanity, the appeal to reason, the untiring service that finally guided the problem to solution. Why did he *so untiringly strive for I-;olntion r Because the cause was the cause of Humanityâthe only eause that will ever hold Mr. Evans, the cause that will never fail to hold him. A book-lover, a working miner, and the father of a larger family than most of us contemplates with plea- sure these days, who can sacrifice his time of re- cuperation and mental relaxation, and the hour that should be devoted to family li fe, to the hurly-burly of public service must be actuated, by the light of a great faith, a faith and devo- tion that means service to one endâthe end that has so well beej) expressed as No weal but the Commonweal." ETHICS AND tUWaMICS. Miss Palhster made the big hit ot 'ikst Hastei at the I.L.P. Conference by characterising the present system of society as compounding" tfw ethics of a bishop and the economics of a bur- glar." Everyone realises the truth of that epi- grammatic piira.se, and it is because Mr. Evans not only realises its truth, but the consequences of such a hypocritical stateâits consequence in life and death, in pain, misery and poverty, that he is a rebel. And lie always will be a rebel, till his rebel creed that is planted foursquare on the rock of Christian prineiples to which he also gives such whole-hearted adherence shall have become the code of the nation, and happiness and life shall be the lot of men. I mentioned Christian prin- d ciples just now in connection with Mr. Evans.. J and I did so because Mr. Evans is a Cli-i-isti.,in- a profound 'believer, in the simple faith of the- Sernion on the Mount and an honest disciple of He who preached that sernion. < Amongst 'his other activities are to oe counted his hard work as -a lodge and district official of the Merthyr miners, and treasurer of the Trades Council and Labour Party in Merthyr, in which later capacity Mr. Evans has had to exercise the- economic care of a good housewife, and the finan- cial genius of a Rockefeller. His school has- â tx-pn an all-round school of general fxperience, I iu which he lias graduated with personal honour- and to the utility of his fellow- men. 1 Tf the electors do not return him for Park y Ward next November I shall know that I live in the midst of those who prefer that the pharasaie < system of ecclesiastical ethics co-partnered by â j Raffalian economics, and-I shall remove. But y I have no tear. I

Merthyr NotesI