Our City Fathers To Be. MR. J..E. JONES, N.U.R. If I were a representative of vested in- terests on the Merthyr Corporation I fancy that one of the last wards I should like to represent would be Town. Not because the burgesses of Town Ward are essentially dif- ferent from those of other wards in the bor- ough, but because I should be haunted with the uneasy certainty that some November, and probably the next after that on which I was elected, I was going to be well beaten at the poll, and my place taken by a stockily built railwayman, with a quiet voice, the patience of Job, and the persistence of malignant fate—J. E. Jones. I might win over him once, I might beat him twice, but that is about as far as any candidate could get, and after that the seat would be lost to all but Labour for all time, unless on the top of a wave of electoral insanity such as swept the country last November). it was regained temporarily only to sweep back more confirmed Labour than ever before. ■. I have seen Mr. Jones at work under a multitude of trying conditions. I have seen him handling trade union work under try- ing secretarial conditions, I have watchecl him on the Trades Council—upon which 4 has served from its earliest days, and gener- ally in an official capacity; I have heard of his work on Pensions Committees and fight- ing for the representation of the smaller unions on the Hospital boards—and always I have been struck with the remarkable consistency of the man- As I know him privately and on the street so I know him in the public place—a man of determination, firmness and lear vision; a man whom no provocation can ruffle. A man so firmly based upon a clear J!o"l.edge of principles, a imi-t awaken a keen scnst of personal responsibility and duty to fur- ther those principles; a man of convincing argument, and one strong enough to stand alone in a hostile atmosphere advocating, fighting for the view that he holds. I do not mean that he is ever anything but sweetly reasonable—the trouble is that the majority of men are not that. To too many of us conviction is not a question of strict adherence to the laws of evidence, as it is with him. He makes mistakes—and admits them when they are pointed out. That makes him all the more dangerous as an op- ponent.. I am glad he is for Labour—and I am glad that it is reason that has made him for Labour and held him for Labour through the strenuous years of his active life. He will win Town Ward this time, and the man who will henceforth oust him from the seat has yet to come into the borough. A.P.Y.
Except The Bolsheviks! MR. H. S. BERRY'S GIFT TO EX-SERVICEMEN. CARLTON HOTEL AS CLUB-HOUSE. Mr. Seymour Berry, Merthyr, has pre- sented the ex-Service men of Merthyr with the Carlton Workmen's Hotel as a club. The premises are to be handed over to out- side trustees, who will let it for five years at a nominal rent of i a year to the Mer- thyr branches of the Welsh National Dis- charged Soldiers' and Sailors' Federation. The Federation, however, will only possess half control with the Discharged Soldiers' and Sailors' Association, who will further have equal right of membership. The club, said Mr. Berry, would be open to all ex-Service men except those with Bolshevik views. An interesting point is that the Comrades of the Great War, stated by some of the deputation meeting the donor at the Hotel to be politically inclined toward the Autocratic Party ".as an or- ganisation, are to be admitted, on the other hand, as ex-Service men. Considerable friction was evidenced be- tween the federation and the association as to the power of management of the club, and though an apparent conciliation of the condition outlined above was arrived at there is likely to be further trouble from the Federation, who already have in existence a club of their own. It was following an appeal for subscriptions towards the Federa- tion club that Mr. Berry conceived the idea of an ex-Service men's club. Hence, the Federation ask for full control of the proposed new club if they are to participate in it. The Carlton Hotel, the present purchase price of which is not stated, was with- drawn from public auction recently at £ 1,125.. It will require £2.000 to furnish as a club. The public are to subscribe this.
MR. B. ISAACS F.S.M.C., F.I.O. (London) QUALIFIED OPTICIAN 101 High Street MERTHYR Opposite Town Hall, entrance Castle St. Repairs and Broken Lenses replaced at shortest notice. Call for Lena Clonnor.4 Free of Charge.
BRING YOUR RATION CARDS ———— AND- REGISTER WITH LfPTOIN'S For BUTTER A 8UGAR I UPTON'S, LTD. CITY RD., LONDON. e.c.1. Branches and Agencies throughout the United Kingdom.
Political Notes By F. W. Jowett. THE BLOCKADE THAT ISN'T. I In reply to a question in Parliament on August 5th last thç Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said :—" No blockade has been declared, or is being exercised, against any part of Russia. No blockade exists either in the White, Baltic or Black Seas." There was, of course, no official blockade when this reply was given, but nevertheless the reply was in substance untrue, for at that time tfhat the 'French have named the Cordon Sani- taire was in operation, and it effected the object of a blockade. No official declara- tion of a blockade was necessary whilst a ring of enemy forces was drawn round Soviet Russia, effectively excluding from her all foreign supplies—no exception being made in favour of medicines or hospital re- quisites. With the withdrawal of British forces from Northern Russia, however, to- gether with the lifting of the' blockade against Germany, a gap has been made in the cordon sanitaire," and it becomes no longer possible to maintain the unofficial blockade. The Allied governments have therefore been obliged to decide whether they will forego the blockade altogether, or whether they win abandon all pretence, and declare officially, a blockade against Soviet Russia, CAMOUFLAGE. I The position of the Government, having regard to previous denials that there was a blockade, was difficult. To acknowledge, after having deceived the public on the sub- ject, that it is the policy v-i ernments to starve 170,000,000 people for no other reason than that of disapproval of their Government was, to say the least, in- convenient. And yet the blockade must be maintained. So. as usual* the Government has had recourse to secret diplomacy in the matter. A secret request has hecn forward- ed to the governments of Sweden, Norway, Denmark. Holland, Finland Spain, Switzer- land, Mexico, Chile, the Argentine, Colum- bia and Venezuela asking them one and all, to join with the Allies in blockading Soviet Russia, and cut it off from all intercourse with the outside world. The intention of the Allied Governments is that no ships shall be allowed to proceed to or from Soviet Russia, or goods of any sort be con- veyed by another means. Passports are b be refused to any person going to or coming from Soviet Russia, and all intercourse, whether by post or telegraph, with its po- pulation. is to cease. All this is stated in a similar communication from the Allies to Cermany. o that, presumably, the coun- tries with whidi we were previously at war have been invited to join 111 enforcing the blockade. THE FAILURE OF WAR. I It should already be clear to all unpreju- diced persons that the war has been a ghastly failure—that it has not ended war, but has, on the contrary, fomented more bitter feuds in the world than existed before, and developed infinitely more horrible and destructive methods of warfare. This at- tempt, however, on the part of the Allied Governments to press the Governments of the peoples they have defeated mainly by starvation, into applying the starvation methods to their neighbours affords further proof of the fact that the war has failed. It is evident that the Allied Government have become still more callous and indif- ferent as to the means they employ to obtain the ends they seek. If it were not so no such a request as this would have been made to a defeated enemy. THE STARVATION WEAPON. I It is unfortunately the case that when Governments go to war starvation by block- ade is one of the possible cruelties innocent people may have to suffer in consequence. One of the results of this war is that where- as previously the inhabitants of towns in a state of siege were exposed to starvation; in future wars entire populations of enemy countries may be contlemned to starvation and millions may die of it. This prospect is no less terrible than others that are open- ed up by newly developed forms of warfare i by means of aircraft and submarine. What 1 'is most appalling, however, than all other ] results of the w ar is that accounts of 1 slaughter, famine and death have become so i commonplace that the awful facts are only ] realiseel where they are seen and felt. ] Nevertheless, the Government wishes to withold the truth from the people concern- ing the decision of the Allied Governments to blockade Soviet Russia. One would like to feel that this fear on the part of the Gov ernment was due to the belief that the peo- ple of this country would realise the full meaning of the contemplated step and would revolt against it on the ground of its inherent injustice and because of the crimc it involves against humanity. It is a sad thing to have to admit that the Government had little reason to fear on that account. The Government, however, had no doubt as to the attitude of the British public to- wards the blockade on account of the econo- mic effect of applying a substantial part of the national resources in men and material to such a purpose. Hence the desire to com- mit the outrage in secret. MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENT. I The attempt to withhold information ot the fact that the Allied Governments had decided to isolate Soviet Russia and starve 170,000,000 people has failed. It was too much to expect that nations defeated by starvation would submit to the disgrace and humiliation of serving as executioners on behalf of their victorious enemies in such a matter. Therefore, although the faithful Reuter appears to have been instructed to short-circuit the news scrvice relating to this particular piece of information the Ger- man Government has, very properly, made sure that the information reached the Bri- tish public. The result is, one more dis- closure of the dark and sinister operations directed in the interests of capitalism and the old social order from the Thieves' Kit. chen at Paris, and one more warning to the British public that statements and pledges of Ministers in Parliament cannot be trusted when the interests of the ruling classes conflict with the welfare of the com- mon people. NEWSPAPER WANGLING. I The Daily Herald has rendered the public another useful service by the disclosure oi a circular letter addressed to all the news- papers in the country (with the significant exception of the Daily Herald) offering free supplies of information on industrial affairs. The letter is signed by Mr. R. S. Long, who edited the Strike News for the Government during the recent Railway Strike, and Mr. Long states that a bureau has been estab- lished for the pm-pose of supplying the in- formation, and that it would be controlled by himself and Mr. Sydney Walton. Mr. Sydney Waltoji, it is desirable to remember, had charge of the Government's advertising scheme during the strike. It will be readily understood, therefore, that the nature of the free supply of information to the press will be such as the Government desires that it should be. The information is offered to the press in the form of articles and para- graphs in protof or in stereo. This is a further development of the process of manu- facturing public opinion which was ex panded enormously during the war. INNOCENT INFORMATION. I Mr. Long has stated in regard to the In- dustrial Information Bureau that neither Government money nor party funds arc being supplied for the purpose of conduct- ing the operations of the Information Bureau. Probably the funds are to be pro- vided by the party of millionaires who met recently at No. 12 Downing Street, the Office of the Coalition Whips. The meet- ing is said to have been called by Lord Weir and was presided over by Mr. Bonar Law. The millionaires who attended were asked to contribute towards a fiyid for the finan- cing of a scheme whereby the Press could receive free supplies of accurate infor- mation 011 industrial affairs. £ 250,000 was subscribed on the spot. As the "accurate" information is to be sent broadcast in proof or in stereo there is good reason to believe that the fund subscribed at the meeting of millionaires under the patronage of Cabinet Ministers at the oil-ice of the Government Whips is the source of supply from whence the Industrial Information Bureau is financed. The innocent and unwary reader will read the leading articles and the news paragraphs in the newspaper lie is accus- tomed to buy and imbibe the accurate information supplied at the expense of mil- lionaire. capitalists. The attempted sup- pression of information relating to the blockade of Russia is one recent example of the policy now rampant of misleading pub- lic opinion. The floating of the scheme for providing free copy to the newspapers con- veying "accurate" information in accord- ance with the interests and requirements of Big Business, is another. The methods by means of which British capitalism fights its battles against the workers arc subtle and far more dangerous than openly declared opposition. I THE COST OF LIVING. The cost of living it still rising. Accord- ing to the Board of Trade figures the excess over pre-war cost has risen another five per cent. during the last month. The rate of interest is also going up as a result of the strike in the money market three weeks ago. On the other hand, Mr. Lloyd George has stated that the bread subsidy which has pre- viously modified the price of bread is to be withdrawn. This n)ill mean an addition of from 2/- to 4/- a week to the household ex- penses of working-class families. The housing difficulty is also becoming more acute and the million new houses the people have been led to expect would be erected are still castles in the air." And yet the unofficial, undeclared, shameful war against Russia has cost £ 100,000,000 at the very least since the Armistice was arranged with Germany—a sum which would provide the funds for 125,000 new homes at £ 800 each. I HOW TO REDUCE CLOTHING PRICES I The huge stocks of clothing material which the Government should have begun to supply to the general public as soon as the war ended are now at last to be released. Apparently Big Business is satisfied that prices are established on a scale sufficiently high and that they can hold the market if the Government stocks should appear on the market. The Government admits the existence of stocks ojj 16,000,000 yards of Khaki cloth and 20,000,000 pairs of socks. By a judicious manipulation of these and other stocks in the possession of the Gov- ernment the present high prices of clothing could have been considerably modified. If, in addition, the Government had instituted a system of costing such as was put into operation to limit the prices charged for clothing and boots for the Army and Navy during the war the saving to the consumer's pocket would have been enormous. It was well understood by everybody interested in the clothing trade through all its stages from the raw material to the finished gar- ment that the end of the war would bring even greater opportunities for the profiteer than were available during the war. The advisors of the Government were as well aware of this as anybody else, but the in.. terests of Big Business, as .usual, dictated the policy of the Government and, there- fore, although there were large stocks of material in hand which might have been put into competition with other goods in the market to keep prices in check, nothing was done with them, and prices were allowed to mount up higher and higher without any attempt on the part of the Government to protect the public.
Further Facts from The Coal Commission. BY R. PAGE ARNOT. I I [Labour Research Department, 6d. Quan-I tity rates on application, ] Those who enjoyed and profited by the damaging facts which came out at the early sittings of the Coal Commission, and ap- preciated the handy and telling collection then made by R. Page Arnot under the title Facts from the Coal Commission," will rejoice to hear that the same author has dealt with the second session of the Com- mission in a pamphlet uniform with the first. Now that the Prime Minister is try- ing to side-track the whole question of Na- tionalisation and the miners' demands, and is hoping that it may all sink into oblivion, it is the duty of every Labour man to see that it does not sink into oblivion, and that in every town and every newspaper in the country demands are made of the Govern- ment to carry out its pledge to the miners. This booklet, which summarizes the pro- ceedings before the Commission, picks out the important parts, and shows the argu- ments given both by supporters and oppo- nents of Nationalisation, will help to do it. It is a packed sixpenny worth.
Booksellers' and publishers' employees went on strike in Paris for a monthly wage of 450 francs, and 350 francs for Women.
Mine Disaster. I PRIMITIVE MAN-ENGINE SMASH IN CORNISH SHAFT. TEN KILLED, 21 MISSING. The retention of an obsolete 70-years-oM man-engine in the Levant tin mines of St. Just, Penzance, resulted in one of those terrible mine-accidents that are even more terrible in their drawn-out hours of sus- pense, than in their toll of life. Though with ten dead bodies stretched out in grief- stricken little cottage-homes, and 21 men unaccounted for, the toll in the matter of death has been terrible enough in all con- science. It was about three in the after- noon when the primitive lift-ladder, used for raising and lowering the men from and to the workings, was loaded with its human cargo, broke and plunged twelve feet down throughout its three-hundred fathom range. The platforms connecting the twelve-feet steps were smashed down with their bur- dens of miners, afyl the task of rescue work rendered extreme difficult by the block- ing of the shaft. ISurface workers were at once organised in& rescue gangs, and, as is the case with miners the world over, no sooner was the news received in Orever than they floclred over to assist in the work of rescue. Other shafts were utilised for getting to the workings, but the blocked shaft with its knocked-out platforms made the task a terrible, one, and even when the rescuers were witfcin talking distance of the 12ft. and 24ft. levels they could do nothing until a road was put in for these men and they were freed from their awful plight. Rescue work proceeded throughout Mon- day night and Tuesdayy when nine dead bodies had been recovered^ and about a score of men landed—of whom one r died shortly after his liberation. In the shaft the rescuers came across one man pinned by the leg, and it took nearly four hours to get him out From that fact the horror of the situation can be guaged. A word as to the engine that caused the havoc—an obsolete solitary survivor of an early age of invention, that should have been scrapped years ago, and that to-day has worked such disaster. It is a primitive lift devise that raises men hvelvc foot at a step in upward lifts. At the summit of the life the miner steps onto a wall platform and w aits until the descent of the machine shall have brought to him another step that lifts him a still further twelve-feet-and he repeats the process until he reaches the top. A central beam carrying the steps extends down the shaft for three hundred fathoms, raising and lowering in twelve-feet lifts and drops. When the accident happened the whole of the underground shift was in the machine forming a body of men from top to bottom on steps and platforms.
Mr. Asquith on Russia. PROTEST AGAINST RUSSIAN POLICY I TAX ON WAR WEALTH URGED. I I' Speaking at an overcrowded meeting c f the London Liberal Federation on Tuesday Mr. Asquith described the present Govern- ment as an orchestra gathered together from all quarters of the political world; a medley of instruments, wood and wind, sounding brass and tinkling cymbals and a medley of performers." Dealing with Russia he said he would be very much surprised if our expenditure from the time of the armistice up to the end of the present month in regard to military pperations in Russia did not amount to one hundred millions sterling. This country had nothing to do with in- fluencing the action of the Russian people, and he protested against money, material, resources or men of this country being em- ployed one way or another in the settlement of what was a purely domestic and internal question for the Russian people. This country, he declared, was not bank- rupt, and it was not poor. They had only to look around them to see unmistakable signs of comfort and even superfluity. There were still large accumulations of wealth made during and, to a considerable extent, in consequence of the war, which should in justice and equity be the primary contribu- tors to the relief of our greatest and most pressing burden—the debt created by the war.
The National Federation of Furniture Manufacturers announces the end of the furniture trade lock-out. The works were re-opened on Wednesday.