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Round the Home Office Camps.



THE CASE OF JIMMY EDMUNDS. I INFLUENTIAL LABOUR DEPUTATION I STUMP REACTIONARIES. SPECIAL MEETING OF COUNCIL TO RE-I CONSIDER POSITION. Thanks to the solidity with which Labour in South Wales has combined to demand that at least a semblance of justice shall be meted out to Jimmy Edmunds, the Cardiff teacher whose re- signation has been demanded on the grounds that he is a conscientious objector; the detest- able campaign has been halted, and the reaction- aries of the Cardiff City Council pulled up for the time being. Our readers are fully acquainted with the, main facts of the case from our articles of last week, and the issues of April 21 and 28 last. As a. result of the publicity given to the facts, particularly in Labour circles, an influential and representative Trades Union deputation waited upon the Cardiff City Council at its meeting on May 14th, and the Standing Orders were sus- pended in order to allow the deputation to wait upon the Council and state its case regarding the four teachers who had been requested to re- sign. The deputation was headed by Mr. W. Wil- liams (vice-president of the Cardiff Trades Coun- cil), Mr. Samuel Fisher, Mr. James Winstone (president South Wales Miners' Federation), and Mr. Tom Richards, M.P. Mr. Williams said those whom the deputation represented took strong objection to the policy of the council with regard to conscientious ob- jectors. They failed to understand why Mr. Ed- munds had been placed under the leash. T'here had been misunderstanding in the matter, and it was well to know that Mr. Edmunds had offered for service 011 a mine-sweeper, one of the most dangerous of all war occupations. They asked for the creation of a court where Mr. Ed- munds could be re-heard, and at which he could be represented by counsel and could call wit- nesses. Mr. Samuel Fisher, J.P., secretary of the Coaltrimmers' Union, said lie appealed to the council as Britishers and lovers of fair-play to re-consider the matter for fear they might have made a mistake, perhaps, through not having all the facts fully stated before them. If they did not re-consider it the deputation demanded a public inquiry. There was a little expression of approval during Mr. Fisher's speech on the part of a num- ber of people in the public gallery, in consequence of which the Lord Mayor (Mr. J. Stanfield) said, I must ask you not to give expression to your feelings from the gallery. This is the Cardiff Council Cham ber." Mr. Thomas Richards, M.P., thanked the council for the courtesy of allowing Mr. Winstone and himself to join the deputation. He said that at one time it was thought, in the coalfield, that the best way to get rid of troublesome em- ployees was to dismiss them. They soon found out, however, that that kind of procedure only made greater difficulties and developed men into something still more troublesome than they were as workmen—in fact, into something like what Mr. Wiiistorw, and himself were to-day. (Laugh- ter.) He strongly advised the council, on his own experience, to have a quiet talk with Mr. Edmunds to see if the matter could not be mutually settled. Failing that he was sure that they were in for troublous times in the city if the request for a public enquiry was not acceded to. Cardiff Corporation must respect the law, which said that conscientious objectors were to have consideration. "I do not know that I would give in myself," said Mr. Richards. "I do not understand them personally, but if the law says they are to have consideration they must have it." The Lord Mayor having thanked the deputa- tion.fol' the reasonable and fair way in which they had placed their case, a short discussion took place, on the initiation of Mr. G. F. Fors- dike, as to what form the inquiry should take and who should be the judges. The reply of Mr. Williams and Mr. Richards was that the council should decide that matter with the executive of the National Union of Teachers. It was decided to discuss the question later in the, day. When the minutes of the education committee were reached, about one o'clock, the question of continuing the meeting into the afternoon or of holding a special meeting was discussed, and, in view of the controversial questions in the min- utes and on the agenda, it was decided by four- teen votes to nine to adjourn and ask the Lord Mayor to call a special meeting of the council. TRADES COUNCIL MANIFESTO. I The Cardiff Trades Council issued the follow- ing manifesto under date May 9th: — Mr. J. E. Edmunds, the secretary of the Trades Council, is being subjected, not for the first time, to an attack by a section of the City Council. The Cardiff public will remember the charges made at the time of his removal from the Libraries Committee. On that occasion, after an agitation, an inquiry was held, and he was exonerated, but he was not restored to that committee. The latest move will deprive him of his livelihood. He. is one of four teachers called upon to resign their posts on the ground that they are conscientious objectors to military ser- vice. This was decided upon after a Star Cha Ti- ber inquisition. Mr. Edmunds' Position. I The tribunal granted him non-combatant mili- tary service. He was called to the colours and he reported for service. Upon examination by the Medical Board he was placed in a low meli. cal category. He was transferred to Army Re- serve W., and remained at his post as a teacher, Had lie been physically fit, he would have been, since July 31st last, in khaki, with the forces, doing military service. Some teachers who have declared themselves to have a conscientious ob- jection to military service are being retained. Mr. Edmunds, despite the facts detailed above, has been asked to resign. His competence as a teacher is not challenged. His honour in carrying out his duties is not im- pugned. The Trades' Council is of opinion that this treatment of our colleague is due to his many activities in the cause of Labour, and re- gards the whole proceedings as an attack upon the Labour movement. The Trades Council also regrets that three other teachers are receiving similar treatment in the pursuit of this purioose. Public Inquiry. I The lraaes Uouncil demands a. public inquiry into the whole of the facts. Let the public know the truth. This is absolutely essential 111 the interests of justice. Signed on behalf of the Trades Council H. HILES, President. May 9th, 1917. It is pleasant also to be able to state that the Executive Committee of the N. U T. is officially backing Edmunds, and demanding a public en- quiry.



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