Parliamentary Notes. 1 PREMIER OR PRESIDENT ? The defeat of the Government in the House of Commons last week is interpreted in parliamentary circles mainly as a con- demnation of the Prime Minister's contemp- tuous indifference to the claims that Parlia- ment has a right to make upon him. Mem- bers are asking whether Mr. Lloyd George is first Minister of the Crown or President- Premier, who is entitled to leave the de fence of his policy to subordinates in the House of Commons, and who need only attend the debates for the purpose of making some pontificial utterance. His plea that so many demands are made upon him that he cannot find time to deal with Parliament imposes upon nobody he can find time to rush about the country re- ceiving thefreedom of cities, the degrees of universities, and the applause of hand- picked admirers in crowded meetings; he prefers to state his policy to such meetings rather than to Parliament—and Parliament, justly jealous of its rights, does not like it. The House knows tbdt it has the remedy in I its own hands and begins to show a disposi- tion to apply it. OPENING OF THE SESSION. I On the re-assembling of Parliament last week it was at once apparent that contact with their constituencies had inspired the members with some sense of responsibility and had awakened in them a knowledge that they were elected representatives of the people and not merely the servile fol- lowers of a particular set of politicians. The Government had enjoyed a free hand for many months, but members discovered that Ministers have failed to satisfy the public by their legislative and administra- tive performances. An effort was made on the first day to obtain from the Prime Minister an under- taking that he would give more attention to Parliament during questions: but Mr. Lloyd George sees no new reason why he should attend more regularly than he did last session. The House is restless and dis- satisfied, and it is almost certain that if the parliamentary fortunes of the Government are left to the leadership of Mr. Bonar Law during the critical months ahead, the Gov- ernment will have many anxious and criti- cal moments. Already, evidence of latent hostility has been afforded by the Government's defeat on the Aliens' Restriction Bill. Many of the Coalition members do not regard the Bill as sufficiently stringent, while on the other hand the Labour Party regard Clause 3, which deals with the question of attempts to cause unrest, as unnecessarily harsh. Their efforts during Committee to have this Clause amended failed, but they re- newed the attempt on the Report stage. The main fight turned on sub-section of Clause 3, which provides that any alien promoting unrest in any industry other than that in which lie is engaged should be liable on conviction to imprisonment for three months. » Despite the assurance of the Government as to the limited intention of this Clause the Labour Party suspect it of being capable of a wide and dangerous application. In particular, they have in mind fraternal de- legates of national and international con- ferences held in this country, and it is claimed that if such. delegates deliver speeches favouring action to which the Gov- ernment was opposed, they might be ac- cused of incitement to unrest, and proceed- ings under this clause could be taken against them. It was, of course, not sur- prising that the Government were able suc- cessfully to resist the Labour proposal to omit this sub-section. The defeat of the Government occurred on the comparatively unimportant issue as to whether or not French pilots holding British pilotage certificates should be ex- cepted from Clause 4, prohibiting aliens from holding pilotage certificates for any port in the United Kingdom. It is doubt- ful whether the merits of the case were the cause of the Government's defeat so much as general irritation and dissatisfaction, and the Government were undoubtedly sur- prised that the result of the division showed them with a minority of 71. It is unlikely that this defeat will develop into a crisis. The probability is that the Government will manage to weather the local storm, and will emerge somewhat chastened by their humiliation. If this incident means that the House of Commons in general is going to re-assert its proper authority and -is going to insist on the Government fulfilling its functions with proper regard to constitutional practice, its demonstration of independence will have served a good purpose. NEW CONVERT. I th Edward Hallas, M.P. for the Dud- destou Division of Birmingham, has seceded from the National Democratic Party and has been admitted to membership of the Par- liamentary Labour Party. Mr. Hallas, who is General President of the Amalgamated Union of Gas, Municipal, and General Workers Union, was elected at the General Election by a majority of 6,516 votes over his Liberal opponent. It is an interesting commentary on the claims of the N.D.P. to be the" Patriotic. Labour" wing of the Coalition that one of the two genuine trade (Oootmued at foot of next colnmn).
The Cost of The Strike. I RAILWAY STOPPAGE INVOLVES 0,000,000 EXPENSE. MR. BONAR LAW'S EVASIONS. There were many significant points that trades-unionists should well note and re- member in last Monday's Parliamentary debates in the House of Commons. One of the most significant was the evasion prac- tised by Mr. Bonar Law in reply to direct questions as to the organisation of political strike-breaking machinery by the Govern- ment. The whole matter arose on questions by Commander Kenworthy as to the total cost to the Exchequer of the railway strike. Mr. Chamberlain in reply stated that the total cost to the Exchequer was believed to be roughly about £10,0001000, including the delay of demobilisation, estimated at The cost to the State in the wider sense was incalculable. The cost of publicity and propaganda was £ 32, 657- Mr. Bonar Law, replying to Mr. Bottom- ley and Mr. Adamson (leader of the La- bour Party), said that should there be a general desire for a discussion of th strike, he would be happy to arrange for it. Per- sonally he thought such a discussion might be desirable. NOT DESIRABLE TO DISCUSS. I Mr. Grattan Doyle (C.U., Newcastle, KJ asked whether the Government would con- sider the desirability of introducing legisla- tion to deal with the menace to the safety of the Realm and the prosperity of the country .from lightning strikes. Mr. Bonar Law assured his hon. friend that the matter had not been overlooked, but said he was not in a position to make any statement at present. Mr. Wedgwood (Lab.—Newcastle-under- Lyme) asked whether the organisation to meet such cases was to be continued in pri- vate and secret. Mr. Bonar Law What organisation ? If my hon. friend means the organisation set up by the Government in order that the life of the nation should go on, the intention of the Government is to continue it. (Loud cheers.) Mr. Wedgwood asked whether the right hon. gentleman also referred to the Citizen Guards. Mr. Bonar Law replied that he did not think it desirable to go into these matters, but whatever organisation was necessary would be brought into use. (Cheers.)
Mr. Ablett and Parliament. INVITATION TO STAND FOR PEM- BROKE DECLINED. INDUSTRIALISM BEFORE POLITICS. Mr. Noah Ablett, the Merthyr miners' agent, has declined an invitation from the Pembrokeshire Labour Party to contest that constituency in the next Parliamentary election. In a letter to the party he says "Iy work as agent for the Merthyr miners and as an executive member of the South Wales Miners' Federation, in addition to my hold- ing the position of chairman of the board of governors of the recently-opened Labour College in London, is of so pressing a na- ture as to leave me no time for the essential work of nursing the constituency. "It is pretty generally known in South Wales that my belief in the efficacy of the industrial movement of Labour far exceeds my hopes of the rapid success of Labour politics. My opinions may be wrong, but the fact that I hold them militates against my chances of being a successful candidate. It would also disappoint hundreds of friends whose regard I value if I gave up so much of my industrial and educational work for politics. You will see that I have given the mat- ter fair consideration, and I hope your exe- cutive will not think that because I have had to decline their offer that that in any way lessens my high appreciation of their confidence in me in inviting me to stand for the seat. I sincerely hope you will select a candidate who will succeed in winning the seat for Labour at the next election.
I Pontypridd Notes. MUNICIPAL, EDUCATION.—Under the aus- pices of the Pontypridd Trades and Labour Council, a very successful meeting was held in the Park Cinema on Sunday evening, October 26th. Mr. Griff. Maddocks, the able president of the Council-, took the chair. The speakers for the evening were Councillor D. L. Davies, who took for his subject the Municipalisation of the Milk Supply for Pontypridd," and County Coun. W. A. May, who spoke as one of the La- bour representatives on the newly-formed profiteering tribunal. Both speakers had their subjects at their fingers' ends. On the "Municipalisation of the Milk Supply" Councillor D. L. Davies was able to prove to his hearers the advantage of such a sys- tem, both in purity and in reduction oi prices. He was thoroughly against com- pensation for the milk vendors if the milk supply were taken over, but was quite will- ling to find real work for them to do, and as the universal cry nowadays is for in- creased production, the audience quite ap- preciated the point of from 30 to 40 being added to the country's producers. Council- lor May showed the audience the advantage of having Labour representation on the profiteering tribunal, though even with that he didn't expect much from the Act, con- sidering from whom it originated. Without it, however, there would be little hope of any redress for the working-class pur- chaser. After hearing him it struck us that a good definition for an optimist would be a purchaser who brings a complaint against a shopkeeper fully expecting to obtain re- dress from a profiteering tribunal on which there is no Labour representation. IRELAND AND LABOUR.—The meetings ir, the Park Cinema on Sunday evenings are to be continued indefinitely. Speakers have been booked till Easter. A branch of the Self-Determination League for Ireland has been formed, and has affiliated to the Trades and Labour Council, and it is hoped in the near future to have such speakers as Mrs. Sheehy Skeffington, Arthur Griffith, M.P., and Charles Diamond, the Editor of the Catholic Herald, to lay Ireland's cause before the Pontypridd public. A DARK STAR.—One of the very faithful members of the Labour Party in Ponty- pridd is Mr. Evan Morgan, the Secretary both for the Pontypridd Divisional Labour Party and the Pontypridd Trades and La- bour Council. He has been doing spade work for the party for over 30 years, and has no desire for the lime-light, though if he did appear there, there is little fear of his not shining. All his spare time is de- voted to his Party, and it has often been said that even his Sundavs. are not free. Thank goodness he has been blessed with an excellent partner, who is a help to him even in his literary work. OURSELVES AND LOCAl, NEWS.—Last Saturday, October 25th, Mr. Yates, the editor of the Pioneer, paid a visit, by re- quest, to the Pontypridd Divisional Labour Party, who were holding a conference in the Y.M.C.A. The object of his visit was to confer with the party as to the advisabil- ity of running a paper similar to the Mer- thyr Pioneer here in Pontypridd. The mat- ter has been deferred 'for three weeks in order to give the delegates present the op- portunity of discussing the subject in their various branches. That there is need of a local Labour press is very evident, if only to counteract the very erroneous im- pressions of Labour which are derived from the present local press. NOTHING DOING. — The Pontypridd Trades and Labour Council, by a unani- mous vote have decided to have nothing to do with the proposal for Proportional Re. presentation, sent round by members of the other parties who fear Labour is coming into its own. A GUILD SPREAD.—The Co-operative Women's Guild held a most successful social a few evenings ago. Everything the palate could desire was on the table, and evidence was given of the culinary abilities of the ladies attached to the Guild. An excellent programme was also pro- vided. As all the performers were A. -r, it would be invidious to discriminate, but still mention ought to be made of Mr. Llewelyn Lewis, for his monologues, and Miss Coverdale, who ably presided at the piano. Mrs. Jenkins, Treforest, made an excellent president, and she was ably sup- ported on the platform by Mrs. Lewis, Hopkinstown, the secretary to the Guild, and Mrs. Rowlands, Treforest, who takes care of the Guild's cash account. At the close of the entertainment a vote of thanks to Mrs. LewisA Hopkinstown, for the able manner in which she has carried out the secretarial work of the Guild, was proposed by Miss Coverdale and seconded by Mrs. Ware .o LABOUR'S IDEALS.—A very able discourse on "Labour's Ideals" was given by Mr. Rhys Williams, son of our Guardian Thos. Williams, to the Labour Party at Treforest. Mr. Rhys Williams is one of our coming Labour men, and he has only to be heard to be appreciated. The Treforest Labour Party were delighted both with his speech and with himself, and hope to have the op- portunity of listening to him again before long.
Russia. LONDON SOCIALISTS CONFERENCE DEMANDS RECOGNITION OF SOVIET REPUBLIC. At a delegate meeting convened by the London district council' of the British Socialist Party at Chandos Hall on Sunday, a resolution was unanimously passed de- manding the withdrawal of all naval, mili- tary, and air forces from Russia, the stop- page of supplies to Koltchak and Denikin or others operating against the revolutionaries, the raising of the blockade against Russia, the establishment of normal relations, and the recognition of the Soviet republic. Mr. A. A. Watts (L.C.C.), who presided, said that it was intended, with a view to the co-ordination of all effort towards the pre- vention of intervention in Russia, to form a strong Central "Hands Off Russia" Com- mittee for London on the lines of that al- ready established in Manchester. Prepara- tions are being made for the calling of a ren presentative conference of all London working-class organisations, from which a delegate will be chosen to attend the na- tional conference which will follow. COALVILLE DEMONSTRATION Addressing a meeting in connection with the "Hands Off Russia movement, at Coalville, Leicester, on Saturday night, Mr. Harry Pollitt, of Manchester, said the working classes of Russia were better off under Bolshevik rule than under the pre- vious autocratic rule; but the chief point was that we had no right to interfere with the internal affairs of Russia. We were told that the ifnancial position of England was such that we were heading for bankruptcy, yet we were spending 140,000,000 yearly on the war in Russia solely to protect the interests of British and French capitalists vested in Russia. Jt should be stopped. GOVERNMENT AND BLOCKADE. I The soft indecision of Government re- plies was delightfully illustrated by the re- plies of Mr. Bonar Law to questions 011 Russia in -the House on Monday. It was in reply to questions put by Mr. J. C. Swan (Labour—Barnard Castle) and Mr. Wedg- wood that the leader of the House stated that in case there was a general desire, for a discussion on the situation in Russia for which an opportunity did not arise in the ordinary course, he should be glad to ar- range a date. The Prime Minister did not modify the declaration of Government policy which he made on April 16th. Mr. Wedgwood Are we to understand that the present Russian policy of the Gov- ernment is to co-operate with Germany in blockading Soviet Russia, and to use the troops of Colonel Bermondt against the Bol- sheviks ? Mr. Bonar Law My hon. friend would only be justified in understanding that if that were the declaration of policy made by the Prime Minister on the date named. Mr. Wedgwood As circumstances have entirely changed since April, could not the Prime Minister make a statement to this House bringing the position of our relations with the Russian Government up to date ? Mr. Bonar Law If there is a general de- sire, the Government will be perfectly ready to have a debate on the subject at any time. THE WHITE TERROR. I Meanwhile that last representative of the traditional fairness and independence of the British Press on Tuesday had the following leaderette on its principal page — It is the fashion in this country to at- tribute unlimited atrocities to the Bolshe- viks and to assume that all suggestions that there is such a thing as a White Terror both are and must bej groundless. As we are officially the friends of the anti-Bolshe- vik leaders, as almost all our information about their doings comes from them, as very little comes out of Bolshevik Russia, and when it does it is ignored by the bulk of our press or disbelieved, on the mere ground of its source, it would be astonish- ing if people, generally recognised what is the truth—that in a civil war such as rages in Russia there is almost certain to be a White Terror no. less than a Red. We do not usually look for evidence as to the in- tentions of the Whites with regard to their Red opponents in the columns of the Times, but one piece of illumination appeared yes- terday in a telegram from its special corre- spondent at Helsingfors. He is describing the capture of prisoners in the advance 1 o Petrograd, and adds Only 27 of the Red Commissaries taken have been shot." If this means anything it means that the Whites are shooting their prisoners and are exe- cuting the Bolsheviks' political leaders sim- ply on the ground of their political import- ance, which is just- as much an atrocity as it would be for the Bolsheviks to shoot their own prisoners. We have said before, and it cannot be too often repeated, that a heavy responsibility weighs on us who arc seeking to put the anti-Bolshevik leaders in the scat of power in Russia. Civil war is being waged with cruelty on both sides, but we shall have no means whatever of check- ing the measures of repression which the Whites will almost certainly take to extir- pate their enemies, and of which the shoot- ing of the twenty-seven Commissaries on the Petrograd front is a small but illumin- ating example."
I To Ex-Service M en ESPECIALLY FEDERATION AND ASSOCIATION MEMBERS. Dear Ex-Service Men,—Before the war you were workers, and to defend your in- terests as such you were trades unionists- When the war started you offered your ser- vices, or were you, like myself, diddled by that "scrap of paper" argument? Any- how^ diddled or iiot, you had to go. From all industries you were taken and formed into one big army. Owing to so much labour being required for war-work whilst the war was being waged, a scarcity of normal produce was soon felt, and consequently prices began to rise. Now, those you left behind soon be- gan to feel that rise, and to meet it they had to use their trade union machinery to. get increases in wages to meet rising prices- You would have been in a sorry plight had J the Labour Party not done so. The Labour Party also fought hard to get adequate allowances for your depen- dants. Of course, this met with opposition from people in high places, and they mis- represented the Labour Party to you; in fact, the men who fought hardest for yout interests were slandered the most. Now the war is over and you are home, and you find, of course, that you have to- work again, so you link up with your fel- lows in your trade unions. But you find that you are something else now-an ex- Service maiij with particular interests as a result of service. Therefore you very sensi- bly formed organisations to protect those interests. Naturally, the first attempts at soldiers' organisations were not clearly defined, yott forgot for the moment that the only road salvation is through your trades unions,. and thought that your soldiers' organisa- tions would abolish all your troubles. And although you brought the authorities to heel in some instances regarding pensions, you soon found that what you really wanted was better wages and' conditions of employ' iiiciit. How can you get better wages and con' ditions of employment without the Labour Party ? You cannot, and you know it. Your particular claims as cx-Service men can also j be remedied quicker and better with the j help of the .Labour Party. To maintain a decent standard of living you will probably have to strike in the near future, owing to rising prices. N-,o W, if your soldiers' organisation is not affiliated to your Labour Party, how is it. going tO act when you are oil strike? If it is not supporting you then it is against you. you will be split up amongst yourselves. There is one organisation of ex-Service men—the National Union of Ex-Service -Alen-affiliated to the Labour -Party. Thj:; Union has a clean, straight policy, and i: working hand in hand with the Labour Party. Why not get your Federations and Associations to line up with Labour? ft you do that all that will be required wiIl be a change of llamc-plates and we would then merge into one great organisation. The folly of standing aloof is illustrated here in Ierthyr where we have ex-Senicc men opposing Labour men. NNI-orker OP" posing worker, how ridiculous! Both a-fc, organised against the same people, and, with a split vote probably their opponent will get the seat. If those organisations had been affiliated to the Labour Party that would not have happened, and the x-Set'. vice men would have had more men de- fending their interests on the Council. Suppose your soldiers' candidates are reo turned, what can they do? They will haVc to seek the support of Labour members iw side the Town Council, therefore the)' should co-operate with him outside. If the I organisations these men represent were working with the Labour Party we should not have a split vote in any in-ard, -incl man to defend soldiers' interests would more likely be returned. Don't forget, a big pension is no use to you if you are forced to work for small wages on accoiO1 of that pension. If you are interested in the ex-Servic^ Men's Union, call at Bentlev's Hall iielct Sunday, at 2.30 p.m., and hear more abotJ it. At last Sunday's meeting this Lllio passed the following resolution :—" Tl-lgt I this Branch urges upon all ex-Service niell to vote for the Labour Candidates at tile forthcoming election, as their best interest6 will be served by doing so, and the Branch further pledges itself to do all in its power to secure their return." There is no doubt that this Union is solid enough for Labour after that, is there? Think this letter over, and after you have decided to line up with the Lal)our Part) we will soon have one organisation of e' Service men, and then perhaps we shall be* gin to realise this new world we have heard so much about. Don't forget, the people you are organised against are very well satisfied with the w orld' as it is, and 1t is up to you to compel them to disgorge some of their ill-gotten gains, to enable you and yours to live a decent and healthy life- Labour is the name of the new redeemer. Now then, rank-and-file, are you going l to let officials dominate you ? Think for I yourselves, compel your organisation to join with your trade union movement as all erganisa-tion. If they will not, then act as commonsense tells you to act. Support th* Labour Parti,-the Party that always has and always will support you. P.T.
union officials in their Parliamentary Group should have found it desirable to leave its ranks and seek admission to the recognised Parliamentary Party of the organised La- hour and Trade Union Movement. RESIGNATION OF MR. J. W. TAYLOR I The application of Mr. John W. Taylor, Labour Member for the Chester-Ie-Street Division of Durham, could hardly have caused surprise in Labour and Trade Union circles. Mr. Taylor has represented Ches- ter-le-Street since the 1906 General Elec- tion, but during recent years his health has been very indifferent and at times lie has been seriously ill. I believe he underwent a serious operation a few weeks ago, and rumours of his impending retirement from politics have been more than usually per- sistent during the present year. His de- parture from Westminster will be deeply regretted by his Labour colleagues, several of whom he was closely associated with during his parliamentary career. Though not a brilliant parliamentarian 'he was al- ways useful and reliable in his own quiet way.