Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

13 articles on this Page


[No title]




[No title]






COUNCILLOR MORGAN THOMAS ON COUNTY GOVERNMENT, On Tuesday evening last a well attended meet- ing of the Aberdare Liberal Club was held, Coun- cillor Morgan in the chair.—The Chairman, in the course of his opening remarks, said that Coun- cillor Thomas was a practical man who had made his voice heard, and his presence to be felt in the Council. There was some good stuff in him. and even at the last council meeting a local magnate had tried to silence, but that gentleman soon found his mistake. (Cheers.) The Tories he said, wanted to tell the people that there was no politics in the County Council, and during the contests tried to blind the electors, but as soon as the election was over they held demonstra- tions, to congratulate Tories on their return. (Laughter.) Mr. Councillor Thomas, in the course of a very long and eloquent address, said they had received a Tory Local Government Act. and all good think- ing men would define Local Government to mean Home Rule for the country. The original rulers of the county were the magistrates in quarter session assembled, but the Act had transferred the power from that body all. or almost all, the ad- ministrative business of the sessions. But, really, the powers of the County Council was very small indeed, and needed great improvement. There were many things which they had to ask the approval of the Home Secretary. For in- stance they had not the power to appoint a Chief-constable or to dismiss him, or even to question him. although they had to support him. He was appointed by the Joint Standing Police Committee, but this committee was of very little benefit, for it consisted mostly of Conservatives and county magistrates, and. consequtntly, had little sympathy with the Liberal element. He also thought that the County Council should have full control over the police. (Cheers.) It was a crying shame that they did not. At present they were bound to forfeit half the money which was allowed by the Government towards police pay and clothing unless they kept up a certain stan- dard of efficiency, and yet they had not their con- trol. Then they had not the power either to appoint, to discuss, or to fix the salary of their own clerk. (" Shame.) Really, there was very little they could do without the approval of the Local Government Board or the Secretary of State, and he asked if thac was local government. (Cries of X 0:') One great question which was still in the hands of the magistrates, and which should be transferred to the County Councils, was the licensing question. They had at present the right to receive the duties on intoxicants and the power to re-spend the same, but they were not thought fit to grant or refuse to grant licences In order to have more county government they should have parish and district councils. The first of these ought to take the place of parish vestries, for to say that there was anything like represen- tation on these vestries was a perfect farce, for they knew that the controlling powers were the parsons and county squires, and those who had the deepest pockets. He (the speaker) thought that every county voter should be eligible to sit upon these councils, and there should certainly be no property qualification. (Cheers.) The district councils should take the place of the present board of guardians, which had not a shade or shadow of representation." (Laughter.) He would go further and say that men should be appointed by the County Councils to form a national council with a large measure of administrative and legis- lative powers on questions which affected the Welsh nation. (Loud cheers.) Another great question which would soon be brought before the country would be the question of raral reform. The Tories would undoubtedly bring out their Local Government Act before the country as a great boon which they had conferred upon the people, but really they had no self government. There was a class of people whose lives would not bear the light of day. He alluded to the labouring classes of the agricul- tural districts who earned about 7s. per week, and a small, a very small, plot of garden near their houses or hovels, which were really unfit for animals to live in. The question of compulsory sale of land would be one to be met and discussed, and this was a question which every County Council ought to take up and press upon Parlia- ment to legislate thereon. There was in the United Kingdom 77,000.000 acres of land which could be turned into account, and of this amount about 33.000.000 was uncultivated and locked up, so who could wonder that the poor farmers were so hard up. There was one loophole in the Local Government Act which should settle in the minds of all Liberals that the County Council elections should be fought on political lines, for the County Council were asked to petition Parliament on any questions which might at the time be under dis- cussion at the Senate, and it would be a disgrace to the Glamorgan County Council if they sent a recommendation, say. against the Dises- tablishment question, which would undoubtedly be done if the majority of members were Conserva- tives, and he advised all Liberals to insist on fight- ing the battle on political grounds. (Loud cheers.) Mr. Thomas then proceeded to deal in detail with the questions which had been brought before the council, and showed that almost all had a political tendency, and in conclusion said that in view of the extended powers which would soon be con- ferred upon them, hoped they would not leave a stone unturned to silence the cry of "No politics" at the next election. (Loud applause.) A hearty vote of thanks was accorded Councillor Thomas for his excellent address.