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MR. ASQUITH AND THE MINERS.

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MR. ASQUITH AND THE MINERS. The deputation representing the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, that attended on Mr. Asquith to urge their views on the Minimum Wage Act, did not obtain much satisfaction from the Prime Minister's replies. They requested the inclusion of siirfacemen under the provisions of the Act, the recognition of one week as the period for averaging wages, the increase of rates for all grades by ninepence a day, and asked for housing reform in min- ing districts. On all these points the reply of Mr. Asquith was polite but non-committal. It was plain that the extraordinary pre- judice against inserting figures in the Minimum Wage Act still lingers in his mind, hut he offered no new reason for treating miners differently from judges, Cabinet Ministers, and Mem- bers of Parliament. Nothing could be more weak and trifling than his dismissal of the eiaim to include the surfacemen on the ground that mechanics, stokers, etc., in all factories or other industries would be entitled to make a similar claim. Similarly he might have refused the Minimum Wage Act two years ago, on the ground that the miners were not the only underpaid workers in the country, and to grant them a conces- sion would have laid the Government open to a similar claim from other un- derpaid workers. On the question of housing he gave an indefinite promise to consider the .matter, and declared that the housing on mining districts was a reproach to civilisation. In all mining districts the Liberals have until recently held abso- lute sway in local and national politics, and the admission of the Premier is a very serious reflection on the public spirit of the Liberals engaged in local government. Replying to a suggestion about mak- ing the canals of the country workable Mr. Asquith pointed out that it would ccet twenty millions, whereupon some- one antlv reminded him that the Government did not appear to have much difficulty in finding millions for Dreadnoughts. These evasive and unsatisfactory re- plies of Mr. Asquith point once more the moral to miners that they must send their own men to represent them in Parliament. It is useless—worse than useles. folly-t-o depend on the Liberals, who are far more apt to take the coal owners' view than to regard mining questions from a broad social and humanitarian standpoint. The replies are valuable, too, as in- dicating the kind of arguments fl-tt official Liberalism will put forward noxt year when the period for which the present Act is in force expires. It is a. well-known fact that efforts are V- made to present simultaneously the de- rr>nnd'? of the minors, rail way men, and transport workers, and to back the prrven'nt'on with a joint strike j" nr- Wo aci-'nri as a strike will he y, b i-L n-e'l t, be prepared. It is more than probable that the demands of the miners will be among the first things to be considered by the new Parliament. Now is the time for the leaders to make effective prepara- tions for winning every possible mining constituency at the next election. Every miners' representative returned to the House means one more person on the lfoor of the House to voice the miners' demands, and one more vote to go into the lobby against the Liberal and Tory coalowners' and capitalists' votes. We hope that the South AVales Miners' federation is fully alive to this fact. They should lose no time in appointing, temporarily, at least, a full- time organiser in every constituency. It is not enough for the miners to have their quarrel just: they must be well-armed. —————— <<*<<.——————

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- I i BRYNAMMAN NOTES.i i

WHY DON'T YOU DO SO?

From Labour's Stands point.

GWAUNCAEGURWEN

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- -BOTHAISM.

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