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From Labour's Standpoint.

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From Labour's Stand- point. NOTES OF THE WEEK. SOUTH AFRICA Trade Unionists in every part ot the country continue to express the strong- est indignation at the tyrannical methods adopted by the South African Government in the breaking of the recent general strike in that colony. Much as the circumstances of this memorable struggle are to be regretted from one point of view, yet they con- tain lessons which if thoroughly grasped by the workers here and in every other part of the world, will (materially assist in hastening the day (of their emancipation. The issues of the historical events in South Africa appear to us to be an unmistakable case for the necessity of strong trade union- ism, ii-ith the paramount importance of political action, ultimately leading to the control of Government, and economic freedom as the supreme goal. Beyond doubt, the capitalists are seal- ing their own doom in the adoption of tactics similar to those witnessed in South Africa. The nine deported Labour leaders are expected to arrive in England on Monday, when a great welcome will be accorded them in the Metropolis. It is expected that they will take speaking engagements throughout all parts of the kingdom, in the event of which arrangements are being made for one of the number to visit the Swansea Valley. .——— ———. AN INCIDENT AT WESTMINSTER The Labour Party in Parliament was placed in a somewhat unusual position during 'the proceedings in the house on Friday afternoon, and but for the time- ly discovery of a particularly contemp- tible Tory trick, the consequence might have been extremely unfortunate. The leading members of the party took part in a notable debate on their offi- cial amendment to the Address, pro- -minent among the speakers being the member for Gower, Mr. John Wil- i I uns. The subject of the amendment was the prevalence of accidents in mines and on railways, and as a result of the effective manner in which these facts were presented, the party succeeded in gaining the assurances asked for from the Home Office and the Board of Trade, that some definite steps to re- duce this loss of life and limb should be taken. This achievement accom- plished, it was useless to force the amendment to a division, and the mem- bers did the only possible thing, having regard to the circumstances—they asked leave to withdraw the amend- ment. The Opposition, acting merely for party advantage at the expense of -these concessions, refused to allow the withdrawal, and the Labour party had therefore to take the only course pos- sible under the unique circumstances— to vote against their own amendment. This action was seized upon by the Tories as the subject for taunting jeers and the flinging of the allegation at the heads of the Labour members that they did not possess the courage of their own convictions. We are quite .satisfied. however, that the rank and file of the movement will view the whole matter in its true perspective. ■ MR KEIR HARDIE S SEAT I Keen interest is once more being .-evinced in the position of Mr. Keir Hardie's seat at Merthyr. It will be remembered that a few weeks ago we referred to the fact that in view of a second Liberal candidate having been -selected for the division, the local Labour party had decided to approach the Executive of the South Wales Miners' Federation, requesting that Mr. Keir Hardie should be recognised as a Federation candidate at the next -election, but it was decided to defer the matter in view of their Parliamen- tary scheme under consideration. Dur- ing the past few days. however, some one has been good enough to announce that there is a fatal obstacle to the pro- posal, a byelaw of the Federation pro- viding that no one should be financially supported Unless he had been nominated for and by the district of which he is a member. Mr. Hardie is, of course, a member of the Scottish Federation, but those in authority have now pointed out that the byelaw referred to was set aside at the Swansea Conference of 1912, and therefore does not stand in the way of Mr. Hardie contesting the seat in the manner proposed. Both Mr. Hardie and Mr. George Barker have totally denied rumours to the effect that the M.F.G.B. had refused to sanction Mr. Hardie's candidature, but on the other hand we learn that there is every probability that the request of the Merthyr Labour party will be acceded to. A PROMISED DEBATE 1 Everybody in the South Wales coal- field will be looking forward with the greatest interest to a debate which we are prom ised between two well-known political leaders, Mr. Vernon Hartshorn .and Mr..J. Hugh Edwards, M.P. The facts appear to be that recently, Mr. Edwards when speaking in his division claimed in the course of his remarks that the Government was entirely re- sponsible for the introduction and pass- ing of the Minimum Wage Act. Mr. Hartshorn hotly challenged this state- ment, and described it as the limit in political audacity. Furthermore the Maestcg agent declared his willing- ness to debate the point with Mr. In- wards, -and the latter has. accepted the invitation, providing that the event can be arranged for a Saturday even- ing The subject is one of burning interest to South Wales miners, and we imagine that if the debate does take place there will be no lack of workers ready and eager to form an audience. It would be unwise to express any •opinion on the matter at present, but Mr. Hartshorn knows what he ie about, -and it may be taken for granted that he "is not entering into the affray without "preparation <5f his oase. ITHE BYE ELECTIONS The resignation of Lord Gladstone as Governor General of South Africa and the consequent reshuffling of Cabi- net seats has created two Parliamen- tary vacancies. The representation of Poplar was rendered vacant by the appointment of Sir Sidney Buxton to succeed Lord Gladstone, and here there are three candidates, the Socialist champion being Mr. Jack Jones, of the Gasworkers' Union, and a prominent member of the British Socialist Party. He is an able man who has rendere d considerable service to progressive movements, particulary in the City, and we wish him every success. Polling takes place this Friday, and the re- sult will be made known on Saturday. At Poplar Mr. Masterman has to defend his seat on having been admit- ted to the Cabinet, and he is opposed both by a Tory and an Independent Socialist in the person of Mr. John Scurr, of the Dockers' Union, another valiant fighter for the people. Polling here took place yesterday, and the re- result will probably be made known ere these lines appear. Having regard to the speedy nature of the contests it is quite impossible to express any decided opinion as to the probable results, but both consti- tuences are essentially working class in their composition, and the Socialist candidates being highly popular, there should be grounds for the anticipation of substantial polls, if not total success. PROGRESS AT LEITH Of quite another order is the bve- election at Leith, rendered necessary by the appointment of Mr. Munro Fer- gusson as Governor-General of Aus- tralia in succession to Lord Denman, who has resigned. Here the proceed- ings are more leisurely in character, al- though nominations are to be handed in to-day (Friday) and polling will take place on Thursday next. There are Liberal and Conservative candi- dates in the field, Labour's cause be- ing represented by a prominent North- ern leader in the person of Mr. J. N. Bell, of Newcastle, an official of the National Amalgamated Union of Labour. Mr. Bell is an ideal candi- date, and according to the reports of workers in the division, is winning golden opinions from the electors. He effectively exposes the alleged progres- siveness of the Liberal party, and ap- peals for support because of his strong conviction that the Labour party in Parliament should be materially strengthened in the interests of the workers. The last occasion when a Labour candidate fought the division was in 1910, when Mr. Wm. Walker polled 2,742 votes, but it is believed that Mr. Bell will considerably increase this figure. -G. A. G. -———————————— ———————————————— —G. A. G. I < « « —————

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FEDERATION MATTERS. I

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