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"A Mess of Pottage."


"A Mess of Pottage." Pentre Trades Council Incident. Councillor E. Jones Resigns his Position. A special meeting of the Pentre and District Trades and Labour, Council was held at the Workmen's Institute, Ton- Pentre, on Monday evening (Mr. Thos. Thomas presiding) to receive the reports of the various lodges and organisations affiliated thereto on the action of Coun- cillor Edward Jones in appearing upon a public platform in company with two opponents of Labour," viz., Councillors Walter Williams and Thomas Davie6. It will be remembered that at the last meet- ing of the Council held on 25th October, a resolution was moved by Mr. T. C. Morris disapproving of Councillor Jones action, and was referred back to the lodges for a mandate upon it. Before proceeding to receive the reports of the lodges, Councillor Edward Jones said that at the last meeting of the Council the Chairman condemned his (Mr. Jones') and Mr. T. C. Morris' action in going to the Press. In the very same week, Mr. Morris wrote a letter to the "Rhondda Leader," followed by another letter in the following week to another paper. He now wanted to know Mr. Morris' position, and asked the ruling of the Chairman thereon. The Chairman: This is a delicate ques- tion for me. Councillor Jones: It is more delicate for me. The Chairman I am sorry that I am in the position I am. I don't think that any member of this Council should enter into a controversy in the Press whilst the case is pending. The case ought to be .finally dealt with here, and not in the Press. Mr. Morris said that the point of order he rose at the last meeting was that Councillor Jones had discussed the matter in the Press before it had been considered by the Council. The reason why he wrote his last letter to the Press was because it had come to his knowledge that Coun- cillor Jones was making capital out of the meeting he had addressed at Treherbert on behalf of a tradesman during the Guardians election, and he only wanted to explain his position in the matter. The "Rhondda Leader" had given a very 'biassed report and comments on the last meeting Mr. 1. T. iiees: Do you refer to the report or the comments? Mr. Morris: The comments. I wrote my last letter to justify my action before the public. Councillor Jones: You wrote to the Press the "revious week. At the last meeting you said that you had finished with the Press, and yet in the same week you wrote to the "Rhondda Leader." The Chairman Whatever has appeared in the Press, the question at issue is for us to decide. We are here to dispose of it finally. Mr. T. Samuel: We discussed this matter at the previous meeting, and the chairman condemned the action of both Councillor Jones and Mr. Morris in dis- cussing the matter in the Press before it had been finished in this Council. It is not a matter for Ed. Jones nor the chair- man. It is a matter for the Council, and the Council at the previous meeting con- demned the action. That stands the same to-night. The reports of the lodges were then submitted. The following approved of Councillor Jones' action :Pentre Col- liery (800), Eastern Colliery (650), Muni- cipal Workers (120), Co-operative Society (80). Against: Maindy Colliery (800), Bodringallt Colliery (500), A.S.R.S. (120), I.L.P., Pentre Branch (60), Ystrad- Rhondda (25). No report was received from the insurance agents, but Mr. T. Samuel said that although no meeting had been held, from what he had gathered in speaking with various; agents, they apnroved of Councillor Jones' action. Mr. T. C. Morris asked whether they could accept Mr. Samuel's statement as a report, and the Chairman replied in the negative. The Chairman also decided against Mr. Samuel's plea that the matter should be 'further adjourned to enable a meeting of insurance agents to be held. The matter, he said, had been hanging enough already. The aggregate result was as follows:- Approving of Councillor Jones' action, 1,650; disapproving, 1,505—a majority of 145 in favour. Mr. W. Phippen said that although the majority had approved of Councillor Jones' action, this was due to the simple reason that, as an institution, the Trades and Labour Council was yet in its infancy, and some of them hardly knew where they were. The question that occurred to him was, What of the future? He would like to know whether Councillor Jones was prepared to follow the dictates of this Council. The Chairman ruled him out of order. The Secretary said that some of the resolutions of the lodges were conditional, and that they approved of Councillor Jones' action for this time only. Councillor Jones said that he was very grateful to the majority who had voted for him that evening. He found that a great deal had been made of the fact in the Press that he was their paid repre- sentative. He had been with the cause for many years, and had been faithful to the trust reposed in him and had always been ready to do anything for Labour. Rather, however, than be condemned and have a miserable mess of pottage thrown in his face, he would sever his connection with them. He left his case entirely in the hands of the majority, and he believed he was safe there. He left his destiny as a District Councillor in the hands of the electorate, of whom he knew that the majority were workmen. In a voice broken with emotion, Mr. Jones concluded: I have decided, owing to the unwarrantable charges brought against me in the Press, to sever my connection with you to-night. I am sorry to leave-I am going—good- night." Mr. Jones then picked up his hat, and walked out of the room. The incident created a painful sensation, and it was some time before the Council pro- ceeded to discuss the new situation that had arisen. The Chairman said that he was sorry for, the action taken by Mr. Jones. He thought that Councillor Jones could with- hold for a little while and fight over these small obstacles. As a Labour man he would have many of these topics to tackle. He undoubtedly appeared on the platform of Councillor Williams without thinking any harm, but nevertheless, they did not think it was right. It was right for the Council to say that their money was paid to a Labour man, and not to a man who appeared on any other platform. He did not agree with Mr. Jones leaving the room as he did. In his opinion, he left as a protest and nothing else. Mr. Samuel: I think you must be cautious. The Chairman: I think that anybody leaving an institution with the remarks he made leaves as a protest. I cannot make anything else out of it. If any member wishes to recall Mr. Jones, I will t :agree with him. Mr. Matthew Banner: I am sorry to see Mr. Jones leaving in the way lie. did. As far as we in the Trades Council are concerned, we discussed it quite im- partially. It is a well-known fact that the day is too far spent to be half-and- half. We should talk straight with each other, and if a man fails to support Labour, which he is paid for, it is time that he be called to book over it. Mr. W. Phippen said that, personally, he took exception to Mr. Jones' words that he did not want to serve them for a mess of pottage. Any person that could not stand some amount of criticism was not worthy of representing any class of workmen. Mr. Tom Matthias: I think he is per- fectly justified in the action he has taken. He has been charged with having worn two coats." Mr. T. C. Morris recounted the reasons why he proposed his motion, and said that he never dreamt it would come to this. If they thought he had done any wrong, he was prepared to apologise. What he had done in the matter had been actuated by no personal ill-will or malice against Councillor Jones, but by a strong desire that Mr. Jones should in future conform to the constitution of the Council. The Council had been established for a defi- nite purpose, and if Mr. Jones was pre- pared to stand by that and give an under- taking to that effect, the Council would be quite prepared to support him as a Labour candidate. The Chairman said that as far as he could see, there was no need for Mr. Morris to apologise. He (the chairman) only regretted that Mr. Jones had left the room as a protest, which to them as a body of workmen was a very serious matter. Mr. I. T. Rees, in an effective speech, pleaded that what was required was a modification of their views. As a Council they necessarily held divergent opinions on many questions, but he ventured to think that Councillor Jones had worthily represented Labour as far as he under- stood it, and had represented it before many of them perhaps had taken any interest in public questions. Moreover, he had not only to represent them as a Trades Council, but the ratepayers in general, and he knew for a fact that Councillor Jones had always made it his business to investigate any. matter or complaint confided to him from whatever quarter it came. He held that they should have looked upon his action not with any partisan feeling, but with that large measure of sympathy which alone could secure the harmonious working of an organisation like theirs (hear, hear). Messrs. Thomas Samuel and David Davies snoke in a similar strain. Mr. Samuel also moved that a deputa- tion be appointed to wait upon Coun- cillor Jones. asking him to reconsider his position. This was seconded by Mr. Albert Evans. Mr. Wm. Phippen said that such a resolution was tantamount' to apologising. for a wrong they were not guilty of. Mr. Tom Cousins moved an amendment that the matter be left in abeyance for two months, and was seconded by Mr. E. Butler, and supported by Mr. T. C. Morris. On a vote, 8 voted for the amendment and 12 for the motion. The motion was then put to the meeting and carried with two dissentients. The Chairman, Secretary, and Mr. Samuel were appointed as the deputation to wait upon Councillor Jones.

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