Labour's Case Against P.R. for Glamorgan. By T. I. MARDY JONES, F.R.E.S. (Parliamentary Agent, S.W.M.F.). The Labour forces in Glamorgan are not op- t posed to the principle of Proportional Repre- sentation. Nor does Labour suggest that Glam- organ has been deliberately selected for experi- ment from ulterior motives. The Boundary I Commissioners have carried out their duties im- partially and have grouped a number of one- member divisions into Proportional Representa- tion constituencies returning three or more members to Parliament in purely agricultural counties as well as in miniing counties; and they have also grouped a number of city areas in the same way. But only 100 seats are to be grouped for Proportional Representation, or less than one-seventh of the total. The very impai- tiality of grouping these seats for town and country alike regardless of the diversity of char- acter and interest of the areas grouped illus- tra;t,es the utter impr act iioility of a political compromise arrived at at the last moment un- ,]or pressure from the House of Lords, who in- stinctively clutch at Proportional Representa- tion in the hope that it will save them from the oncoming tide of Democracy after the war. UNWORKABLE HERE. I The object of Proportional Representation is to secure representation in Parliament in pro- portion to the strength of party opinion in the country in such a way as to enable a consider- able minority opinion in any part, of the country To secure representation. To do this it is neces- sary to have constituencies big enough in popu- lation to return at least three members jointly. With five, or six, or seven-member divisions Propoitional Reprentation will work still bet- Ter. But the necessary population in compact •areas can only be found in big cities; the coun- try areas are too huge in size and, usually, too diverse in their industrial interests, or in their geographical character, to be workable under Proportional Representation. This applies with particular force to Glamorgan. Mainly on -there grounds, at the local inquiry held a,t Car- diff on April 4th last all the political parties and most of the local authorities opposed the proposal to group the seven one-member divi- sions for Glamorgan into an Eastern division re- -turning four-members jointly, and into a "Western division returning three-members tointly with Proportional Representation as the method of voting. iUNANIMITY. I All chamibei-s of trade, trades councils ana ttie tike that agree with my case against the appli- cation of Proportional Representation to brlam- organ, irrespective of party, should at once -end resolutions of protest to the Home Secre- tary, WhiteHall, London, and to the Boundary •Commissioners Local Government Board Office, London The substance of my evidence against the proposal at the local Inquiry was as follows: Proportional Representation may work satisfac- torily in the small" compact area of a densely- populated parliamentary borough where the can- didates can cover the constituency in five or six JHJ blic meetings in two or three days. But the. facts set out as follows concerning the huge size ;.and diverse character of proposed East and West Glamor own r-enstiiueneuas will mam- !fest the fact- that Proportional Representation is impracticable and undemocratic for those two EAST GLAMORGAN. I Area, about 353 square miles; extreme length, aoout 28 miles from the top of the Rbymney Valley to either of the following three points in a straight line—Barry Island, Aberthaw, Nash Point—all widely separate on the Bristol Chan- nel coast. Extreme width about 25 miles ah the crow flies from the Western boundary of the Maesteg U.D.O. across the midway to the Eastern bound- J ary of the parish of Llanfedw; and abou t 22 miles in a straight line from the Western bound- ary of Porthcawl U.D.C. across the southern portion of the constituency. PHYSICAL FEATURES. I The greater portion of the area South of the G.W.R. main line from Cardiff to Bridgend is lowland served by the G.W.R., the Vale of Glamorgan line, and the Cowbridge section of the T.V.R. line. It is also well served by the main county road which traverses the heart of the agricultural portion from Cardiff to Brid- gend; and by numerous other roads in fair con- dition. This, area is easy of access by rail and road in normal times. But at present the train services are very restricted and motor-cars are either unobtainable or prohibitive in cost for electioneering purposes. North of the G.W.R. main line the country is very hilly, and over the coal-mining portions the constituency is inter- sected by ten mining valleys. From East to West these are: Miles long in th area. 1. Rhymney Valley. about 25 2. Bargoed Rhymney 7 3. Cwm Bargoed 7 4. Aber 5 .5. Taff 10 6. Ely „ 10 7. Gilfach Goch 5 8. Ogmore 10 9. Garw 6 10. Llynfi 8 Total 93 These ten valleys are separated by mountain ranges from 1.000ft. to 1,500ft. high. In most cases there are no mountain roads and inter- communication is by means of primitive sheep tracks and footpaths. The only modern means of communication is by road and rail along the lie of the valleys. This is circuitous, slow, tedions, and costly especially since the recent drastic restrictions in train services and the in- crease in train fares. Motor cars are unootain- able or prohibitive in cost; and are likely to con- tinue so for a few years at least. A large sup- ply of powerful motor car's are indispensable for candidates and agents in a huge constituency like East Glamorgan, and the lack of them will seriously hamper legitimate electioneering. INDUSTRIAL CHARACTER. About 70 per cent. of the population is en- gaged in the coal-mining industry; and about 10 per cent. in agriculture; about 10 per cent. in commercial pursuits; and about 10 per cent. in railway and dock work. The data concerning the Local Government bodies. and areas, popu- lation, electorate, and polling districts in each of the seven one-member divisions are approxi- mately as follows, as culled from the 1911 Census returns and other Government publications: .1 '_c..¥J. Area in Approx No. of Statute acres, Population voters at 1 in Total C?t?cy. L.G.B?,in?. Land & Inland in ,hùy, :3 of pöp. Poll Water. 1914. in 1914. District ICAERPIDLLY- 14,426 37,118 1:> 3 7 3- CaerpMb- D.C. ￼ ￼ uj>x 13,371 < 31,198 77,232 25,744 19 IPONTYPRIDD— 8 140 ?? 15,316 11 Pontypridd U.D.C. R,140 ;15,949 15,816 11 S??'<Fl?tFa?R.D.C: ? 1?9 gg • Cowbridge II.D.C. 40,016 ￼ 8,212 2.737 j CowbritIge mb 1 66,67:3 74,218 24,739 22 "LLANDAFF& BARRY— 65,299 35,751 11,917 15 Llandaff and Dina.Po? R.D.C. 6ój,299 35,7õl 11.917 15 Bar? U.D.C. 3,9,7 a5,455 11,818 7 69,076 71,206 23,735 22 "OGIORE-" 1-" -jGArOliK- 3'r> 28,458 9,486 7 &?. ?1? .?? ? 8,454 5,942 _t Rridcrend tl D.C. 1 ',21 8,454 2,818 1 D-.q??R?.(?rtof) 33,566 17,827 5,942 _4 .39,416. 82,220 27,4()7 16 59,416 82.220 27,407 16 TOTALS for the proposed East Glamorgan 226,363 304,876 101,625 79 Note that the eelleeccttoorraatte e for Ea,? Glamorgan will be almost equal to the combined Glamor ￼ n Gower,?a?d. Qf South G l amorgan, East Giamorgan, MId- electorate for the fhe d ^JJ"ndd abolished. These had a total e Glamorgan, Mid- Gkmorgan ,Gower, and RlOndda now 2'oohshoo. ese had a total eledoraœ of 116,928 on the Parhamentary RegIster for 1910. Its area is actuall, 7,593 -wres greater than on the S?o?? h ind B?t Glamorgan divisions. In thec?e of the ￼ the (-olli b ine d ,trea.4; of tk greater than the combined areas of propo?d ?est ? ??"? ?. ? ? ?.; ?-?t the electorate ?U be .31.?1 ?re??r ￼ ￼ ￼ ?.id ?o d?io? ? the.e .1? .1 '40,.3R5 electors on the 1915 rûgist.('L INCREASED COST OF ELECTIONS. I I The benefits of one free postage and ot the State payment of the Returning Oiffcer's fees are distinct gajn. But these are more than balanced by the enormous increase in the cost of printing and distributing election literature, of wages for necessary clerical and other assist- v ance, of travelling expenses, and the like. All these items will be more costly in JÏÃtst and Wet Glamorgan than for the seven one-member divi- ?; A% 11 (,-ont-est the sions; whether candidates will contest the seats ( singly or jointly. For example, the average, population for each of the four divisions can be taken at 75,000, and the average electorate of I •each at 2.5,000. Under the Fourth Schedule of the Act each single candidate is allowed a maxi-1 mum of 7d. per elector or a total of €729 in election expenses. Under Proportional Repre- ¡ sentation the population for East Glamorgan l will be 300,000, and the electorate 100,000. In I that case a sinKle candidate coidd pend up t,()) A maximum of ?2,916 at <d. per elector. ^w° -a mayimiim of at 4d. per or more joint candidates are allowed one-and-\I half times the 7d. per elector for a single candi J date, or lO?d. per elector jointly, or a total oi £4,374 as the maximum whether the joint can- didates are two, three, or four in number. Thus a. single candidate under Proportional Represen- tation oould spend up to P,2,916 to win one seat out of four, or as much as four single candidates could spend at the maximum of JE729 each to enable ench to win a seat in four one-member divisions. If two candidates run jointly in East Glamorgan they will spend t4,374, or an aver- age of £ 2,187 each to win a seat each. Thus two seats under Proportional Representation would cost £ 1,458 more to win than it would -coat to win four seate in four one-member divi- sions. Moreover, as Proportional Representation is devised to enable a candidate who represents an. appreciable minority opinion in the constituency to form a quota it follows that single candida- tures will prove costly and prohibitive to all can- didates who are not wealthy men, or who axe. not, supported by wealthy organisations. For to bring out more than one minority candidate in East or in West Glamorgan would belie the claim that Proportioinal Representation is Pro- portional Representation. Thus Proportional Representation perpetuates the very privileges of pelf and power which the Franchise Act, 1918, was passfd to abotish or it fails to achieve its object of minority re-presentation as the. huge cost debars minority candidates from contesting a seat or seats. ALTERNATIVE VOTE v. P.R. I The sole defect with regard to one-member divisions is the retention of the X method of voting. The adoption of the Alternative Vote method would remove all danger of the election of any candidate by a minority vote. It is easier and wiser for Parliament to pass a short Act to enforce it in one-member divisions than to impose Proportional Representation in un- wieldly county areas. ELECTIONEERING DIFFICULTIES. I There are 79 Poll districts in Eawt Glamorgan. At least 120 public meetings wilil be required in as many separate towns and villages to enable each single candidate or joint candidates to make a complete tour of the constituency. On an average of two meetings per day for five days a week this will take up twelve consecutive weeks of strenuous electioneering. Two com- plete tours would" take up half the year. This factor alone will debar many excellent men of the best tvj>e in all parties from contesting in the fact of such ,a herculean task, and the na- tion will "lIffer r he loss of their valuable ser- vices. For such men cannot spare the time and energy for such sustained and prolonged elec- tioneering. As all elections will be held on the same day they can get little or no outside assist- ance. It is, therefore, self-evident iliab no candidate nor any combination of candidates can effectively cover the huge areas of East and Wet, Glamor- gan in less than three months; arid it would take half a year to do it twice. For joint can- didatures do not do away with the rightful de- mands of the electors iV every town and village to be given adequate opportunities to hear each candidate expound his views, and to test his view- by way of public question and public answer. The fact that many electors never at- tend election meetings does not do away with the greater fact. that the mass of electors will insist, on such opportunitiies to test the qualifi- cations of each and every candidate. It is the time-honoured privilege of the elector, and woe betide the oandidate who ignores the fact. Nei- ther parties nor Governments dare disregard this vital feature of British politics. Once this sheet anchor of public challenge and correction is lost representative government is lost. For in the last resort elective representation in Parlia- ment is a delegation of power vested in trust by geographical groups of citizens to the Members of Parliament. The only ultimate means the electors have to estimate the qualifications of candidates and to test the stewardshiip of mem- bers is by means of public meeting. No device of Proportional Representation can eradicate this ingrained feature of British politics. VITAL PRINCIPLE IN COUNTY DIVISIONS. 1 Nowadays, an M.P. in the small and compact one-member county- divisions created under the Act will be fully occupied with State affairs at Westminster during Sessions: and with the manifold duties placed upon him by his constitu- ents. He will also be expected to intervene fre- quently with various Government Departments on behalf of the L.G. Bodies in his constituency concerning the multifarious functions increasing- ly imposed upon local authorities by Parliament in connection with the war and with after the war problems. Further, the member will need to make periodical visitations to his constituency between the parliamentary sessions. In each of the proposed East and West Glamorgan divisions there are exactly 20 local authorities. Each member would need a staff of clerks to cope with his correspondence and an army of party agents to maintain his hold on the constituency. Labour candidates and Labour members in Glamorgan would have far less to fear in this connection than other party candi dates and members, as they could adjust their Labour or- ganisations to cope with the work. But Labour strongly objects to two such unwieldly, unwork- able. and unfair divisions for Glamorgan, as they would debar the best types of candidates of ail parties from contesting seats. Most of them could not afford to give up* the, necessary time to embark upon the preliminary and superhuman task of touring and nursing either of such mam- moth monstrosities politely designated "single constituencies." For the foregoinig reasons the South Wales Miners' Federation and the Labour Party respectfully submit that the Parliamen- tary interests of the Parliamentary County of Glamorgan will be best served by adhering to the seven one-member county divisions, originally and wisely allocated by the Boundary Commis- sioners.
I Merthyr Municipal Employees. I CORPORATION AGREE TO El FLAT-RATE I ADVANCE. A special meeting of the General Purposes Committee of the Merthyr Town Council on -Pri- day considered the position of non-able-bodied workmen, who under the wag As award of the Committee on Production were given no stipu- lated advance, their treatment being left to the discretion of the Coi*poration having regard to the tl per week increase conceded able-bodied employees. A letter from the Municipal Em- ployees Association was read demanding that the £ 1 per -4,(,k given under the award should also apply to the non-able-bodied men. and in the event of the Corporation failing 100 accede to the request it was stated that drastic action would be taken, "six dayt)' notice to make up iheir minds being allowed the council. Aid. Charles Griffiths: What is the sovereign given the workmen for ? Is it for work done or is to meet the high cost of living ? Mayor (Mr. N. F. Hankey, J.P.): We are going by the terms of the award. Mr. J. Marshall (Borough Engineer) stated there were of the hundred employees in the Public Works Department 50 non-able-bodied. Mr. D. Parry: What is the method by which you distinguish between the two classes CLASSIFICATION OF THE UNFIT. I Mr. Marshall: In the first place by age. We have many over 70 who can't really do a hard day's work. Some of them, again, have failed at. the collieries whom we have put on road- sweeping. Others, classed non-able-bodied with these former type of workmen, are those inclined to be laggazdly. Mr. Parry protested against the classification of road-sweepers as non-able-bodied. It was a shame, he said, to describe them as such, par- ticularly when it was observed r-hat, their work was performed under the most trying conditions in all kinds of weather. Mr. F. T. James said that the Committee on Production's award being granted to meet the increased cost of living, he thought it extremely difficult to diffcrentiate bet,wee-n the fit and un- fit. To him it seemed only logical if the £ 1 ad- vance were agreed to irrespective of distinction. Mr. David Jones concurred and moved that the increase, should be extended to the non-able- bodied employees. WORKMEN AND OFFICIALS. I Mr. L. M. Jones, seconding, whilst realising the burden involved upon the rates. pointed out that officials of the Corporation had been given large advances in salaries. Was it then fair that 50 pea- cent, of the lower paid workmen should be ignored They, too, had physical needs. Mr. D. W. Jones, after referring to the award, declared that, it, was clearly the intention of thie arbitrator that the non-able-bodied should not receive the full tl concession, and objected to both classes being put on the same wages standard. Mr. A. Wilson stated that this would not be so, as (he understood) there was a difference of 41 a week in the pre-war wages paid them. An amendment was put forward by Mr. D. W. Jones and seconded by Mr. H. M. Lloyd that a bonus of 18/- a week should roe conceded the non- able-bodied employees. On a division the amendment was lost.
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Soviet Government. INDUSTRY THE CELL UNIT OF SOCIETY, INTERESTING ITEMS FROM DECREE OF COMMISSARIES. BY W. G. COVE. It was a mis-take to imagine that Socialism would ever be brought them on a platter," Of course they still had a long road full of difficulties, paved with sacrifices and blunders; for what they were now doing was an entirely new thing," declared Lenin to the All Russian Congress of Soviets," and in these laconic words lie emphasises the fact that the work of achiev- ing a revolution is not a work for soft-gloved gentlemen with aching hearts and musing spirits, and that the Russian Revolution is as yet a long way from achieving its gaol. In the same speech, too, he points out the essential differ- ence between the Russian Aims and those of the French Revolutionists, and states that the for- mer had constituted itself exclusively on the workers and the poorer peasantry, to the exclu- sion of capitalist* and imperialists." Let us at- tempt a little more detail. FRANCE AND RUSSIA. A comparative study of the French and Rus- sian Revolutions is fruitful of much knowledge that is of practical import. Such a study, too, gives us the assurance that there has been a marked progress in revolutionary ideas, and shows quite clearly that the intelligent minority have succeeded in their efforts to define the aims of the working-class movement. The Russian Revolutionaries are succeeding because they have learnt a lesson from the French middle- clatss, in that they know exactly what they do not want, and very approximately what they do want. The men who formed the Soviets were aware of the danger of confused ideas and of the danger of what is termed "democracy." and they were determined that this confuon and the specious pleas for Democracy should not be exploited for capitalist purposes as was done during the French Revolution. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. The aim of the French middle-class was to cap- ture political power in order to ha.ve freedom to exploit the workers..For the achievement of this aim the bourgeoisie did not scruple to use the destructive force of the workers, and they fully realised that representative govern- ment based on the Knglish model," would not be brought to them on a platter." The econo- mic degradation and the ignorance of the French workers were used by the enlightened minority of the middle-cla-ss to secure their freedom from the restrictions of an effete Feudalism. While the workers shed their blood it was the enlight- ened minority who secured the rewards of the workers' heroism, for their own class purposes of aggrandisement. This is the tragedy of the French Revolution. THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION. The Russian Revolution, on the other hand, gives cause for optimism, because there is evi- dence that the enlightened minority know the form of Society best suited for the control of the menus of life by the workers. Lenin assures tIS, too, that The way the peasantry had grasped the meaning of the regime was remark- able. They had now become the most faithful Allies of the working class." What is the form of Society and upon what is it batied ? A study of the Decree of the Council of People's Com- missaries makes it perfectly plain that the form of Society they a.re endeavouring .to estab- lish is based upon industry, and that industrial Councils are taking the place of political forms of government. The social significance of the individual is no longer to be measured in terms of citizenship," with its implication of the possession of property, but rather in terms of economic contribution. There has been a radical revision of the functions of Capital and Labour, and the control of industry associated with the former has passed to the latter. INDUSTRY AS CELL UNITS. The Commissaries have taken the workshop and the factories as the cell units of the new Society which they wish to establish. They state that" Control is exercised by all the workers of a given enterprise, through the medium of their elected organs, such as factories and works committees." It is evident from this. and from the fact that they abolished the Con- stituent Assembly, that the political form of Society was one which was not suited for the purposes of achieving or of maintaining the re- volution. Both those who are in favour of poli- tical action and those who are against will have to take this fact into consideration when judging its efficacy for achieving the workers' emancipa- tion. It seems to me that the important point to bear in mind is that even during the period of transition—the period of the dictatorship of the proletariat "—the Russian workers had to destroy the Constituent Assembly so that the revolution might proceed on its way. There can be little doubt that the strategic position of the industrial workers, and the force they com- manded because of this position, were the powers behind the Bolsheviks. Their rule is frankly a rule based upon a dictatorship and the use of force and not upon the popular will, and they claim that this must be so during the period of transition. As the revolution progresses and the masses become educated—especially the peasants —the need for the use of force will disappear, and forms which have now to be thrust upon tihem will become germane to the organic life of the people of Russia. HOW CO-OPERATION FARED. It is interesting to note that in-the first pia/rar graph of the Decree it states that "Oontrol by the workers is instituted over all industrial, -com- mercial and agricultural undertakings anc societies, and those connected with banking and transport, as well as over productive Co-opera- tive Societies, which employ labour or put out work to be done at home." It seems clear from this that the revolution had to treat Co-opera- tive Societies in exactly the same manner as privately owned concerns. No body of employers, whether private or Co-operative, have the right to control the industry. In practice this means that no Co-operative Committee, however generous it might be would have the right. to dictate hours of work or the rates of wages, and the pleasant duty of declaring dividends would be taken from them. This perhaps will shock keen co-operators, but they must remember that no exceptions to the control of industry by tho workers in that industry Cûuldûe allowed, and that the control they claim for themselves must be granted to their employees who work in their Co-operative industry. OWNERSHIP RECOGNISED. in one respect the Decree is rather a shock to our preconceived ideas, for there is in it an im- plied recognition of ownership. In article 9 it says: "Three days are given to the owners or the administrators of a business to appeal to a Workmen's Superior Court of Control against the decisions tiled by any of the lower organs of Workmen's Control." This recognition is evi- dently a compromise on the part of the revolu- tionaries, and is, we imagine, due to the chaotic state of the country and the undeveloped state of Russian industry. The interest- and know- ledge of the owners is still demanded on these accounts, and the principle underlying the policy of the Commissaries is that of defunc- tionalising Capital." The owners still have an interest in the industries, but not a controlling interest. This controlling interest is in the hands of the workers, for they have the power in conjunction with the technical experts of or- ganising the industries, and in their own right of fixing hours, wages and prices. The owners, too, may sit on the Council or Committee of Control, but they do not sit there in virtue of their ownership. If they participate in the con- trol of industry they do so because they have been delegated by the workers, and they assist in this control on the behalf of the workers. This again appears to be an inevitable compro- mise, and has probably been dictated by the immaturity of the Russian Workmen and Rus- sian industrial development. It is thus plainly to be seen that the Russian Revolution in Lenin words has "still a long road full of difficulties to travel." It is not an accomplished fact," but it Is full of promise, and the attitude of the workers in all lands will determine whether its promise will be fulfilled.
I Merthyr Electric Theatre. There are few leaders of fiction who have not fallen under the spell of Guy Boothby, and to all who have read anything of the writer's work the announcement that. his best Dr. Nikola yarn is to be screened at the Electric Theatre next week will come as a welcome delight. "A Bid for Fortune," the title of the work, is taken from the book, and remembering the stirring, healthy adventure, and the complete mystery with which Nikola shrouds his episodes, it should provide a theme for the cinema equal to the very best we have had to date. The same bill, Monday to Wednesday, includes another of those delightful Billy West comedict, The Hero," Raemaker's Cartoons, and Gloria's Romance offers a fine instalment. There are other fine features. From Thursday there is a splendid list headed by The Valentine Girl, as fine a, drama as has ever been photographed. The Grey Ghost is an exciting episode, and A Regi- ment of Two is a fine comedy. There have been two outstanding programmes this week, Mary Pickford never did so fine work as won all hearts from Monday to Wednesday in the big feature "The Pride of the Clan. There was a funny Billy West comedy, and a fine programme of excellent short films. The Walker drama, The Undying Flame," that heads the present list, is one of the most powerful dramas that has ever been released. It has a strong story, a plethora of great situa- tions, and a caste of excellent artistes.. Then there is a Charlie Chaplin of sheer fun, The Knock-Qut." "The Grev Ghost" is a splendid I serial instalment. PLAYGOER.
MERTHYR I.L.P. GREAT MUSICAL TREAT. OLYMPIA RINK, MERTHYR Tuesday, April 23rd. MR. EDVARD StERMUS, One of Europe's Greatest Violinists. ADMISSION: FRONT SEATS, Is.; SECOND SEATS, 6d.; BACK SEATS, 6d. (Tax Extra). For further particulars see Posters, &c. Doors open at 6.30. Commence at 7.15.