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NOTES OF m DAY ....-I

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NOTES OF m DAY From our London r'orrea pendent. A REMARKABLE -PAIR. A REMARKABLE FAIR. THE Geddes brothers have this week been in the forefront of the par- liamentary stage, Sir Auckland holding forth on the coal problem, Sir Eric on the railways. They are a very remark- able pair. Scotsmen of powerful physique and strong personality they have pushed their way forward until to-day they occu- py commanding positions and are two of the hiof* tT»vjr»iv a;. ifi the Govern- j ment. I ERIC. j ) ERIC has from his boyhood been con- nectcd with railways,—in America, J in India, in England. When the war be- gan in 1914 he was manager of the North Eastern Rajlvay, and had made his mark in the railway world by his energy and foresight. His great reputation as a rail- way administrator was such that his ser- vices were invoked by the Government, and he undertook administrative work at the War Office. The chaotic conditionsor our transport services in France in the j second year of the war induced Mr Lloyd George to appoint him to superintend the whole of them, docks, railways, roads, and mechanical transport. In their dull, unimaginative way the generals resisted the proposal to bring in a civilian, but Lloyd George broke down their obstinate opposition and Eric Geddes was ap- i pointed. It was high time. In a few months lie effected a revolution. Order j was evolved out of chaos; new roads and j railways sprang up as if by magic; and the transport services of the British army from the dock-side to the battle- lino were soon working with clock-like regularity and precision. It was a great f achievement and made possible our mili- tary successes. Subsequently Eric Geddes became 1st 1 Lord of the Admiralty, and to him be- longs the odium or the credit-it depends on the point of view—of firing Lord Jellicoe out of his position as 1st Sea: Lord. Thereby hangs a tale that cannot jet be told. When the Government de- cided on a bold policy of revolutionizing the transport services of this country, Sir Eric was made Minister-Designate of Ways and Communications. It is in that capacity that lie appeared before the I House of Commons this week. He has I taken on a gigantic responsibility, but he is emphatically the man for the job. AUCKLAND. AUCKLAND GEDDES is taller and '— not so burly as his brother. The latter looks a man of action, stern, dour, ruthless. Auckland on the other hand with his high forehead, intellectual air and pince-nez suggests the man of thought and speculation. He was a pro- fessor of anatomy in Canada when the war came. Inspired by the spirit of patriotism he instantly crossed the Atlantic to place his services at the dis- j posal of the British Government. He made good in various posts; was appo i nt- ed Minister of National Service when that i department had become derelict; and is now President of the Board of Trade. Of his capacity and energy aiere can oe no 1 doubt. He does not mean to stick to j Politics, and has in fact, accepted tho position of principal rf the great McGill j University in Canada. At the earnest j request of Lloyd G?orm he has, with the j approval of the governors of McGill, con- sented to remain at the Board of Trade for a year until the pressure of the To- ) construction work is over. Like his j brother he has great energy and im- j mense powers of work. I THE COAL BOMBSHELL. 1 IF a bombshell had come smashing through the roof the House of Com- mons could not have been more startled than it was on Wednesday by Sir Auck- land's announcement that as from July 16th the price of coal at the pit-head is to be increased by six shillings a. ton. Consternation was writ large on -every face. After a pans ■ fn si lade of Ques- tions rattled on th- roasur, bench. The President faced then, with his usual com- posure, Without i ttering one word of censure on the mh, ,s he made the House understand nt the increase í1! solely due to the .1, in wages and the shorter hours v. v-g by Mr. Smillie from the Coal Coinwii&ion. Manufac- turers were made • • m\ bv the Presi- dent's anncnini--err.( tree CI NL-consuxning public indignant; t' mi bitterly resentful. 7 rere wj'.i be wigs on the green in the d • u* ori y' onday when tie whole subject h bp c-plored. DEFICIT ON TPF ?)\ YS. /^OAL mines and railway s are both for th& time bei' '• S?tte control. th.e time bei? cor?trol. 0', ?othy pro-s- t: pective deficit for the current year, about £45,000,000 on coal and £60,000,000 on the railways. Every penny of this will have to be found from the taxpayer's pocket unless each service, is as it ought to be, placed on a self-paying basis. The increase of 6s. a ton on coal is intended to prevent a loss on the collieries. But_ what is to be dono about railways ? Sir Eric Geddes took the House into his con- ¡ fidence on Thursday. He is hopeful that great economies will be effected by stan- dardization, by reducing the idle time of waggons, by harmonizing dock and rail- way interests and by common user of rolling stock; finally by an increase in I freight rates, which have remained un- changed in spite of the war. One effect of the low freight rates is that our coastal shipping trade has been temporarily j killed; and this in turn has re-acted on j the railways, which have to carrv I 70,000,000 tons per annum of traffic that I was formerly sea-borne. The truth is i that from one cause and another our transport system is on the verge of col- lapve." Sir Erie Geddes will deserve weIll of 'his country if by his reforming energy he succeed in re-vitalizing it. No man 1 ever had a more difficult job; few have had such an opportunity. He does not hnnself seem to be keen on State owner- ship, but to every thinking man it is obvious that the unified control of all transport under his direction must lead inevitably to nationalization. The reign cf monopolies under private interests is over and done with. We have moved un- consciously into a new realm of ideas and a-Tiew order of society under an impulse j begotten of the war.

«»BITUA H,Y.I ——.———I

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