Larkin Kept Out. I THREAT OF IRISH GENERAL STRIKE. The executive of the Dublin Trades Council has summoned an adjourned trade union conference for Tuesday next to con- sider a general stoppage of work throughout Ireland for 24 hours as a protest against the s Government withholding passports from Jim Larkin, who has long desired to return from America. It is stated that a, conference on Monday favoured the proposal, but deferred a defi- nite decision. Rumours of Larkin's return have been afloat.
YOUR'EYES DESERVE The Best Attention procurable. Coxsrj/r MR. B. ISAACS, 101 High Street, MERTHYR Opposite Town Hall, entrance Castle St.
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Political Notes By F. W. Jowett. THE KING'S,navy. i Mr. Walter Long is the Minister ap- pointed to persuade the House of Commons to grant money to the King to meet the ex- pense of the King's Navy. It is therefore assumed—according to the theory of Parlia- mentary government—that he answers en- quiries put to him by members of the House of Commons concerning the Navv for which they are expected to grant money. Inl Practice, however, Mr. Walter Long, like I all other Ministers who, in theory, are charged with similar duties, limits the answers he gives so as to afford the smallest Possible, amount of information on those Matters relating to the Navy which are like- ly to expose the Government to unpopular- Ity oil account of things that have been done or left undone. So it happened that, on October 22nd, when he was asked whether any British ships were still taking an active part in the Russian Expedition. Mr. Long replied that if the questioner re- ferred to Murmansk and Archangel the answer was in the negative, and left it at that. On being further questioned 011 the subject, however, lie admitted that there is a British force of considerable dimensions in the Baltic. On this point, which was dis- tinctly covered by the first question put to him, Mr. Long had kept discreetly silent. OUR VAUNTED DEMOCRACY. I When Mr. Walter Long admitted that a large British force was operating in the Baltic against Russia, Mr. Jack Jones en- quired whether the Government could make Mar without consulting the House of Com- mons. He received no reply, so he repeated his question, whereupon he was told by the Speaker he must give notice of the question. It is an idle question, however, for in Great IS an idle question, however, for in Great Britain, in spite of our vaunted democracy, it is still the prerogative of the King to de- clare war. It has become a custom—es- tablished by long usage—for the King to exercise this prerogative on the advice of his Ministers, but neither the people nor the House of Commons are ever consulted beforehand on the subject. All that the House of Commons can do is to refuse to pay for a war when it has been entered upon. This power of refusal is a mere sham, for when confronted with an accomplished fact the Government can always rely on its pledged supporters to vote the necessary supplies even if the war is not a big and hazardous adventure. If it is a big war that has been entered 1IIP011, on account of which the country has been placed in danger of defeat and disaster, the House of Commons is even less free to withhold sanction for supplies; and moreover, the people, stam- peded by fear or driven may by press- fomented hatred, have no use for the free judgment of the House of Commons in such circumstances, even if it were disposed to exercise free judgmen. THE WAR-MAKERS. I When Mr. Jack Jones gets his question answered and he realises that the Govern- ment can, and, in fact does, make war without consulting the House of Commons, We trust that he and his colleagues will take action with the object of depriving the Government of this dangerous power. But it is necessary to do more than give the right to the House of Commons to be for- mally consulted before war is declared or begun. On this point Lord Fisher's me- moirs are illuminating. He throws a veri- table flood of light on ways which lead to war. After reading the lengthy quotations from his book given by the press, much is clear which was not previously visible at all to the majority of people, and which others only saw as in a glass darkly. We now have it established that persons acting on motives and under influences then undisclosed, and afterwards, when the war came, falsely de- nied; were for years deliberately steering this country into war. HONOURABLE OBLIGATIONS. I The most important thing to be remem- bered in relation to the revelations con- tained in Lord Fisher's memoirs is the fact that in the past the attitude of nations to- wards each other has depended almost com- pletely on persons whose individual preju- dices and preferences have determined in- ternational policy. Lord Fisher openly boasts of the plans he had made when he was First Lord of the Admiralty to fall upon and destroy the German fleet without warning and without even waiting for a formal declaration of war. He admits that this plan and also a further plan of landing a nanny on the Pomeranian coast less than a hundred miles from Berlin; became known to the German Emperor. When it remem- bered that King Edward personally carried on the negotiations which linked together France, Great Britain and Russia, by means of "obligations of honour" which pras- tically constituted a league of war against Germany; and that this fact was also known to the German Emperor, the state of inter- national relations prior to the war is not difficult to understand. The personal visit of Lord Haldane to the German Emperor and the rulers of Germany did not remove the impression which had been formed of British intentions. EDWARD THP: "PHACEMAKHR." How anylxxly concerned could expect that Lord Haldane would be able to remove the impressions left by the personal activi- ties of King Edward and Lord Fisher, it is difficult to imagine. He would just be re- garded as a smooth-spoken lawyer sent to hoodwink the Germans. Lord Haldane's glib-tongued professions of friendship and good intentions would count for very little as compared with the outspoken bellicosity of Lord Fisher who had previously replied through a civilian friend to Admiral Tirpitz that he would see him (Admiral Tirpitz) damned firt" rather than agree to a cer- tain proposal for limitation of armaments. OPEN DIPLOMACY. 1 The fact which the people of this country will have to take seriously into account if the nation is to be saved from a repetition of the experience of the last five years is that international policy is not directed by the representatives of the people, but by persons. The House of Commons can only effect this object through a committee ap- pointed for the purpose to transact all inter- national business on behalf of the people. This involves the appointment of a Foreign Affairs Committee with full power to call before it any individual Minister or State Official concerned, and to demand the pro- duction of all documents and correspon- dence relating to the affairs placed under the direction of the Committee. There is no other wav by means of which the activi- ties of the Churchills, the Fishers and the Longs-so long as their existence in office is tolerated at all—may be kept within bounds. THE BIG BUSINESS JANITOR. Mr. Lloyd George has re-constructed his Cabinet, but Mr. Chamberlain remains in it. Why lie has been retained is a mystery ex- cept to those who control the Coalition in the interests of Big Business. There never was a Chancellor of the Exchequer whose budget proposals fell to pieces so complete- ly and so soon. It is only six months since he produced his Budget. His outside esti- mate, at the time of the Budget, of the de- ficiency to be met by borrowing was £ 250,000,000. It is already clear that the deficiency will amount to no less than £ 474,000,000 He had no business" to re- duce the Excess Profits Duty, even on his estimate of six months ago. The duty last year was So per cent., and he cut it in half and made it 40 per cent. The whole amount of the reduction is going straight into the pockets of the profiteers. Not one penny- worth of the benefit has reached the consu- mer by way of reduced prices. Mr. Cham- berlain estimated that the cost of the reduc- tion to the Exchequer would amount to £ 50,000,000. It was an absurd estimate. In all probability he has given the profiteers nearer £ 100,000,000 than £ 50,000,000. This magnificent act of generosity has no doubt endeared Mr. Chamberlain to the powerful ring of capitalists who speak for Big Busi- ness in this country, and may afford an ex- planation of the otherwise insoluble mystery of his retention in the re-constructed Cabinet. LIBS AND THE LEVY. The weakness of the position of the Gov- ernment with regard to its financial propo- sals has brought the Labour Party's de- mand for a levy on accumulated wealth to the front. The Liberals, as usual in such cases, are preparing to exploit the idea for political purposes without committing themselves to carry it into effect. Mr. As- quith has given the cue to his Party by sug- gesting an enquiry, but a few of his leading supporters have put forward, as an alterna- tive suggestion, the taxation of war profits. As for the enquiry favoured by Mr. As- quith, we know what that means. Past experience is a good guide in these matters. Mr. Asquith knows that if the Government were to appoint a Committee to enquire into the possibility 1:1 collecting a levy on accumulated wealth good care would be taken that it should be a packed com- mittee of persons who could be relied upon to wet-blanket the proposal with a mass of irrelevant and unnecessary complications, and then produce an adverse report. THE LEVY ON WAR FORTUNES. I With regard to Sir Donald McLean's al- ternative suggestion to make a levy on war profits, there are two points to be noted. In the first place it would only provide suffi- cient to pay off a very small portion of the war debt. In the second place it would give rise to unlimited contention as to what are and what are not war profits. Pro- viding, however, the simple method were adopted of making a general levy on a steeply-graduated scale on all individuals possessing more than, say £ 1,000, to men- tion a noutside figure, along with an addi- tional levy on the difference between the amount -possessed by the same individuals in 1914 and the amount they possess at pre- sent, there would be no objection to the plan. Everybody would like the Govern- ment to take back the extra plunder which the Profiteers have made out of the disaster which has fallen upon mankind. PEACE PROFITS TOO I There is more to be thrown into the melt- ing pot, however, than war profits. Indeed, the present social order will probably go to pieces along with the industrial system on which it rests. In the meantime, to relieve the pressure of high prices, and the burden of heavy payments on account of interests, which will shortly become an intolerable charge on production, the levy on accumu- lated wealth, real and unreal, will be un- avoidable. By no trick of capitalist con- juring can the enormous charge which in- terest will shortly become, be laid on the producer except by enormously decreasing his share of the product, or, in other words, by reducing his standard of living not a little, but by a very great amount. To this reduction the worker will not submit, and therein lies the one hope of the future. THE PRICE OF ONE LITTLE WAR. The monthly cost of the British Army of Occupation in Egypt and Palestine is £ 2,400,000. This is the estimate given in the House of Commons (October 23rd) by the Financial Secretary to the War Office, Mr. H. W. Forster. There are 21,000 Bri- tish troops and 79,000 Indian troops in Mesopotamia. Of the British troops only 501 are volunteers. Of the remainder 20,499 British troops—kept in Mesopotamia against their will, many have been there al- ready four years.
YOUR CANDIDATES The following Candidates ONLY are the Official Labour Candidates in the various Wards of the Town. Selected by Trades-Unionists, and confirmed by Trades-Unionists at the (Labour Party Meeting-they Claim the Vote of Every Organised Worker in their district Dowlals D. Dalies, N.U.R. Penydarren, Lewis Jones, S.W.M.F. Town J. E. Jones, N.U.R. Park Tom John Evans, S.W.M.F. Gyfarthfa, John Williams, S.W.M.F. MerthyrVale, J. W. Watkin, S.W.M.F. The ONLY Workers' Candidates are those with the Trade-Union Endorse- ment. VOTE AS A CLASS AND GIVE YOURSELVES A CHANCE.
I Ex-Servicenien and The Llection. I TO THE EDITOR. I Sir,—Allow me to thank you for the pub- licity given to the causc of the ex-Service man in your last issue. I would like to sup- plement this by giving some reasons why every ex-Serviceman should make a strenu- ous effort to secure the return of Labour on Saturday. It is surely a compliment to the Labour members of the Merthyr Pensions Commit- tee, when men like Mr. Nelson Price state that had it not been for their presence there, he does not know how the local ex-soldier who had .occasion to come within the scope of their activities would have fared. This has been expressed to Guardian Harry Evans, who is a member of the Pensions Committee. Their interpretation of the regulations has always been a generous one, and not a single case has ever come under their consideration that they have riot fought for the utmost that could be ob- tained. The employment -of discharged soldiers has always had the heartiest support of the Labour members on our public bodies. The Labour members on the Board of Guardians have invariably advocated the claims of the discharged soldier, and when a recent ap- pointment was considered it was suggested that instead of giving this post to a man who had only been assistant temporarily, it would very well be done by two men who had been maimed whilst It serving their country." The income was about 46oo a year, and as one of the Labour members stated, many a discharged soldier would consider half that amount comparative affluence. Take another case. Oilly a couple of weeks ago a man who had "been admitted into the workhouse had ft ]>aiwy ^ension of about 6/3 a week, and a proposal was made that he should be deprived of this whilst in this healthy establishment, as a contribution (towards his keep. I would like to impress upon the ex-Service men that it was the ac- tive interference of the Labour members on the Board that ensured the ex-soldier re- taining his miserable pension. A few week's accumulation would, at all events, ensure his having a small amount of money when he left this Home of the Miserable. Let me give another example of the man- ner in which the Labour members of the same body took a humane view of the case of a man who was asked to pay out of earn- ings of about £2 10s. per week towards the maintenance of his wife in an asylum. A long period of trying to live on the Govern ment dole probably deprived the woman of her reason—12/6 per week, what generos- ity This man was asked to contribute what was something like half his income. Again the Labour Party proved the friend of Tommy. One could go on multiplying these cases, which are incidental to the great economic struggle, but which prove that the men who were ready to send people out to fight, with great promises on their lips as to what they would do when the fighter returned, hide behind rules and regulations when asked to give practical expression to their promises. Ex-Eervice men you entrust the improve- ment of your labour conditions in the hands of your leaders in your various Trades Unions. When your masters tried to make you work for a i 2/- (and sometimes more) a day less than they should, you took your complaints to the proper quarter, and your miners agents, and others saw that you were paid what you were legitimately en- titled to, then why should you listen to the promises of huckstering politicians at pre- sent ? Think of the idiocy of the position of asking your agent to fight your claim on a Monday morning, and for you to vote for the master class on a Saturday The National Union of Ex-Service Men is out for the return of the Labour candi- dates on Saturday. This Union does not hob-nob to anyone, and does not»vant any doles of any kind. It is out not for well-lit billiard rooms, so much as a comfortable home in which to live. We can settle our own means of re- creation. We had sufficient" recreation in the dry canteen, now we want to spend some of our time at home, of which we were deprived for so long a time, whilst others made fortunes and invested it in that kind of patriotism that takes the form of 5 per cent. Labour's defeat is our defeat, and La- bour's victory is our victory. There is no rum ration, but we go over on Saturday next, and we will take our objective all right.—Yours, etc., I R. F. JONES I (Sec., Merthyr and District Branch, Nat. Union of Ex-Service Men).
Pistol At Our Heads." LABOUR COUNCILLOR & MERTHYR VALE COMPANY'S ACTION. Tuesday's meeting of the Merthyr Town Council was comparatively uneventful. Discussion for the most part centred around a request from the Nixon-Naviga- tion Coal Company to extend the offer of £ 7 ns. per lamp per annum offered by the Corporation for six months for street light- ing to twelve months. The company com- plained that the pending six months, being the winter period, would entail heavy con- sumption of gas and they asked for the ex- tension to enable them to recoup themselves over the summertime. Mr. Enoch Williams, opposing the appli- cation, pointed out that the previous price per lamp paid the company for lighting Merthyr Vale was £ 4, ar-d he considered them generously treated in being given £ 7 lis. for six months. In Merthyr the charge was £3 still. During the war the majority of the street lamps were unlighted and Messrs. Nixons were paid £ 4 each for those lighted and half-price for those un- lighted. Thus, in. his opinion, they stooj to gain in that period. Yet now the light- ing was again normal they promptly asked for tremendous increases. The position was that either the Corporation had to concede this new demand or allow Merthyr Vale to be plunged into darkness. It was the hold- ing of a pistol against the Corporation's head. Mr. Dd. Parry mentioned the recommen- dation of the Public Works Committee that the borough engineer should report -as to an alternative means of lighting the district. but Mr. W. T. G. Marsh pointed out that it would take twelvemonths before thf' nerc-r sary plant and. arratv^&ient could be estab- lished in Merthyr Vale. Mr. T. Williams remarked that the gas undertaking of the company might prove I so unremunerative that with the cessation of street lighting supplies to private houses and business premises might be discon- tinued. An incident, not without a certain hu- mour, was a speech by Mr. Wm. Lewis, the keep-the-rates-down champion, in which he supported the application of the Navigation Company and was subjected to much chaff relative to his connection as a shareholder with another gas company. Mr. D. Da vies On which side is Mr. Lewis now ? Is it on that of the ratepayers or on that of a private monopoly ? (Laugh- ter.) A harangue on the high cost of gas pro- duction followed from Mr. Lewis, but on a vote adherence to limiting the Corpora- tions offer to six months was carried by 10 votes to eight. The Quaker's Yard Gas Company must continue under the present contract until six months after the war. On the motion of Mr. L. M. Francis it was decided to empower the borough con- troller to pay any increases to municipal em- ployees immediately on the issue of future wages aw ards without the formality of con- vening special meetings of the Corporation or their committees to sanction payment. Much delay will be obviated thus. A deputation of ex-Service men were in- formed that public works for the provision of employment for out of work soldiers were being put in hand next day, and that a con- siderable number of men were being taken on during the week. Mr. Francis assured the deputation that the Corporation had done all in their power to provide work for such unemployed and remarked that had the council membership been flooded by ex- Service men's representatives nothing more could have been done. In reply to Mr. Francis, the chief-con* stable stated that the police had taken cog- nisance for ten years of the enforcement of I the Shops Hours Act.