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BOTHA'S BARBARISM. I "This is a miners' war." -J oseph Chamberlain. Botha, the former Boer general, has, with the connivance of Lord Gladstone, a former Liberal minister, deported ten trade union leaders. They were secret- ly and under armed escort smuggled on I a ship, and are now on their way to this country. Thus a trade union leader in a territory under the British flag is treated as an outlaw, and trans- ported as we t.ransport convicts to Botanv Bay. banished as we banished the Dorset labourers in 1834. Botha and Gladstone now display the same intelligence, or want of it, that our rulers displayed in the early part of the last century. Like the Bourbons, they learn nothing. They have not realised the elementary fact that you I cannot cast out ideas by casting out -men. Some of our Tory newspapers not only fail to see the tyranny of I Botha, but actually applaud his action. Well let them try a similar course when the next big strike occurs in this ¡' country. It won't be labour leaders who will be shipped from these shores. __A i
y f THE BOOM IN BOXING I
> y f » THE BOOM IN BOXING. I There is an undoubted boom in box- ing in South Wales. Last Saturday about 8,000 people attended a fight between Bombardier Wells and Gaston Pigot, the Frenchman, and the vic- tories this week in London of Jones and Edwards, of Porth, as well as the display by Wilde of Tylorstown, and I others, have proved immensely popu- lar. The revived interest in "the noble art" does not meet with the approval of the unco' guid who at recent con- ferences have spoken pretty strongly against the "beastly and gory" boxing bouts. There are no doubt unpleasant features in many boxing contests, and there is a ridiculous tendency among the youth of Wales to lionise successful pugilists, but there is nothing inherent- ly wrong in boxing, and the kill-joys will not succeed in discouraging young men from following that sport or any other in which they may be interested But spa it may lj^ccy&e an olxsebsdon instead of a recreation. There are literally hundreds of young men in the Swansea Valley who have an encylo- f pdic knowledge of football and foot- bailers, and the memories of some of them, and their knowledge of ohscure I points and incidents in the game rival that of Datas himself in another sphere. No sensible person complains of this. A man has as much right to be passionately interested in football or boxing as in sermons, or temperance Teform, or Socialism. What does call for protest is that the sport interest is cultivated to the exclusion of all else. There are many who follow the fortunes of the "All Whites" with greater zest than they do their own fortunes as reflected in their trade union. In the last few months the circulation of "The Daily Citizen" has increased by over 50,000 copies, and the beginning of the increase dates from the publication of racing news. This indicates a sig- nificant fact about the interests of a large section of the working-classes. Socialists have long been awake to their interests in permeating the trade unionists, why should they not be alive to the field that sport offers for pro- paganda. A first-class football team in itself offers a magnifioent object lesson in Socialist principles. Verb. sap.
SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION IN MINES
SPONTANEOUS COMBUS- TION IN MINES. The Departmental Committee in- quiring into spontaneous combustion in mines has issued a first report. The committee have as yet little to say on the cause or causes of spontaneous com- bustion, or the means, if such can be devised, of preventing it, but they make some practical recommendations for safeguarding the lives of miners. They suggest that notification should be sent to the Inspector of Mines:— (1) When gob stink, smoke, or any other sign of combustion is ob- served (2) When the temperature of the air in any accessible part of a nune is 20 degrees Fahr. above the normal temperature, or where the temperature at such place attains to 110 degrees Fahr. (3) When any flash hw been observed coming from any pack or waste. When fire is suspected they aavise in- spection by the management and re- presentatives of the workmen, and where its existence is established, a.lo when the work of "damming is un- I dertaken, the withdrawal of al js the men in the particular seam alfec and in seams on the same level, from the mine. Fortunately the danger from spontaneous combustion is less general in South Wales than in other parts of the British coalfield, and the phenomenon is extremely rare in steam ?! mines. In the anthracite districts j the seams most liable are the Victoria and the Swansea Five Feet, or Llanelly Four Feet. For precautions designed to kill gob fires at their inception we must await a later report of the com- mittee.
ELECTORAL REFORM A Far Reaching Problem THE LABOUR PARTY ATTITUDE I 9 MR BRACE AND THE ALTERNATIVE VOTE j Writing on Monday in a contemporary on the important subject of Electoral Re- form, Mr Wm. Brace, M.P., observed Writing before the publication of the King's Speech makes it difficult to say- with confidence what may be the busi- ness ofi the coming session, of Parliament, which opens on February 10. We all know the Home Rule Bill and! the Disestablish- ment Bill will be part of the business, but the political barometer also points to electoral questions of a very impGrlt. ant character being dealt with. J HOUSE OF LORD REFORM I Presumably the propoosals for a re- formed House of Lords will be brought forward, a.nd while it may be thought j that the Labour party cannot be deeply interested in such a subject, as a fact there is no body of citizens in the coun- try more so. I confess I am not en- amoured with the idea of any kind of Second Chamber which would have power to cancel measures passed by the House of Commons. Neither am I in favour of a Second Chamber elected for such large constituencies as would make it im- possible, because of financial reasons, for the woskers to put forward candidates on their behalf with any hope of success, Whatever may be the form any suggested Second Chamber may takt, it seems to me the workers have not much, if any- thing, to gain from. it. Hence the reason why I have supported the policy of a Single Chamber Parliament, allowing the electorate to be the final tribunal as to whether their representatives. have carried out in their legislative work the pledges they gave to their constituents. If they have not, the electorate can change them, and that, surely, is suffi- cient safeguard for any country which aC- acepts the principle of democratic govern- ment. I COMMONS ELECTORAL SYSTEM I But not. only are there electoral ques- 1 jiifecting the House of IÃll' '.4>0 on the political horizon, but the House of Commons. is concerned as well, j No one pretends to say that the present system of electing members to the House of Commons is the most complcte that the mind of man could devise. It) is at best but a crude system. Whilpolitics were divided into two parties there was much inducement to leave things alone, despite the inequalities and anomalies which ex- j isted. But since the interposition of the labour party it has become an imperative necessity, if governmønft by the majority of the people is to prevail, to re-cast our electoral system so that it will be an im- possibility for any man with a minority of votes of any constituency to be elec- ￼ ted a member of the House of Commons. It ia all very well to demand that three- corne.rad contests should be avoided, but with the greatest dea-ira in the world to j do that, it cannot be done as a fixed policy. The Labour party is bound to put forward their own candidates in con- t stituencies where they think they have a reasonable hope of winning- the seat. I WHAT SHALL THE NEW SYSTEM 11 BE! I The question is what system ought the I Labour party to aim for. Up to now I I three amending systems have been sug- I gested I 1. Second ballots. ¡ 2. Alternative vote. 1 3. Proportional representation. I As to second ballots, I have only to say that, whoever may stand to gain from them, the Labour candidates in the long j run must suffer a serious handicap. A second election campaign for a Labour candidate is out of the question. The additional strain upon the workers' re- sources would be too heavy. As a de- monstration as to how Labour candidates would suffer in second ballots, one has only to turn to the operation of the second ballot in Germany. In 1909 the Social Democrats had to fight second ballot elections' in ninety constituencies. In the first contest forty-four of their candidates in ninety constituencies were at the head of the poll, but when the results of the second ballots were declared Labour we. only able to win fourteen out of these ninety seats. Not only would the Labour candidate, be open to be defeated by a hostile coalition in the second ballot contests, but he could not put up the money in the same ex- travagant manner as his more wealthy op- ponent could for the short, but hurri- cane, campaign in which money in plenty would be all-important. I PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTA- I TION. The alternative vote method of elec- tion would not require a second ballot, which means a second contest. The elector would simply mark his ballot paper according to his preference, using the figures 1, 2, 3, or more, according to the number of candidates. In the count- ing of the votes the candidates who had received the fewest No. 1 votes would be dropped, and his votes transferred to the candidate whom the elector had marked as his second choice. This sys- tem would ensure that any member of | Parliament elected would have a majority I of the votes of his constituents behind I him, and the unsatisfactory conditions ( now involved in threelcornered contests would be eliminated. The system of Fro- portional rc-preserit-ation is a new pro- position brought forward recently, but it has behind it much influential support. (Continued at bottom of next column )
(Continued fiom preceding column). On paper it appears a. perfect electoral system, and appeals strongly to minority sections because it practically guaram- teca minorities representation proportion- ate to their strength. The Labour party are divided upon this proposal, hence the necessity for a conference decision to guide the M.P.'s if this subject is tabled in the House of Commons for discussion and decision in the coming session. j A LOCAL EXAMPLE. lo carry it out would require a re- I arrangement of all constituencies. Con- stituencies would have to be planned so that they would elect a number of M.P.'s at the same time. For instance, the num- ber of M.P.'s for England and Wales, ex- cluding university goats, is 490. The population is 36,075,269. Upon this basis the number of the population per member would be 73,623. If South Glamorgan was joined to the city of Cardiff and ma.de one constituency under the proportional representation method, Cardiff, including South Glamorgan, would be entitled to five members. This aouxds very acceptable, but the size of constituencies would, I am afraid, be an enormous handicap for a Labour can- didate. On the whole, I incline to the system of the alternative vote as being the most aceepta-ble method of electoral i reform for the working classes, and would not be surprised if the conference in Glasgow tormorrow were to arrive at this conclusion. But whatever the conference determines must be the policy for the Labour party both in the Commons and in the country, for only by concentration will Labour be able to get out of the boiling pot of electoral reform a system. which will give them reasonable political justice.
NEW COMPENSATION POINTi APPEAL
NEW COMPENSATION POINT i APPEAL. ANTE-DATING OF AWARDS I The Master of the Rolls, Sir Samuel Evans, and Mr. Justice Eve, sitting as a Court of Appeal to hear workmen's compensation cases, have had before them the case of Williams v. Bwllfa and Merthyr Dare Steam Collieries (1891), Limited. This was an appeal by the respondents, the employers, for a reversal of the decision and award of Judge Bryn Roberts at the Aberdare County Court. Mr. John Sankey, K.C., and Mr. Parsons were for respondents, and Mr. R. Vaughan Williams, K.C., and Mr. A. T. James appeared for the appellants. Mr. Parsons, in opening the case, said the employers appealed from the decision of the county judge, whereby he awarded the injured workman, an infant at the time he met with the accident, an increase of compensation. The workman appealed under the pro- visions of Schedule I., paragraph 16, of the Act of 1906, which stated:- "Any weekly payment may be received at the request of either of the employ- er os of the workman, and on such re- view may be ended, diminished or in- creased, subject to the maximum above provided, and the amount of payment in default of agreement be settled by arbitration under this Act, provided that where the workman was at the date of accident under 21 years of age, and the review takes place more than 12 months after the accident, the amount of the weekly payment may be increased to any amount not exceed- ing 50 per cent. of the weekly sum which the workman would probably have been earning at the date of the review if he had remained uninjured, but not in any case evceeding £ 1." What the county court judge had done was that he had acceded to the application of the workman, and in- creased his compensation to a consider- able amount, and in increasing the i compensation he was retrospective. The judge, in fact, ante-dated to a period roughly of a year and a half before the date of the request for review. The employers now said that in the first place the county court judge had no piwer to do this, and that he could not do more for the workman than to ante- date the order until the i$rne the appli- cation was made. The facts were that the applicant Williams suff-ereh from nystagmus as from February 6th, 1911, and was not at that time of age. As a collier he earned abiut 26s. a week, and lOss. compensation was paid until April, 1911, when Williams went back to work j as a surf acje labourer at 26s. Id. a week. On some dispute arising the county court judge made an order re- viewing the previous decision, and in- creased the compensation, ante-dating it as stated. Mr. Roland Vaughan Williams, for the workman, submitted that the view taken by the county court judge was the right one, and that he only applied his mind, as a jury would do, as to the man's earnings at the time of the re- view and to those he earned earlier. THE JUDGMENT. I Sir Samuel Evans said the real ques- il tion in this appeal was from what date the county court judge, acting as ar- bitrator, could increase the amount of compensation paid, under the proviso. There was no evidence before the Court of Appeal as to any fixed date being mentioned in the court below, but as to what the probable earnings were at the date of the application the judge appeared not to have directed his mind. The judge was also wrong in his con- struction of the paragraph of the schedule as to his powers for the re- trospective order which he made, and t. the appeal must be allowed with costs. Their Lordships ooncurred and the appeal was allowed.
SOCIALIST UNITY IN GREAT BRITAIN
SOCIALIST UNITY IN GREAT BRITAIN IMP0BTVNT INTERNATION- AL MANIFESTO A STRONG APPEAL I Most of our readers pill be aware that a great effort is a\ eni. lunug made to unify the r. l'ee principal Socialist organisations in Great Britain viz., the Independent Labour Party, the Fabian Society, and the British Socialist Party. Conferences have al- ready taken place, and arrangements are being made to hold further joint meetings of representatives of the three organisations to promote a basis of settlement for common action in the future. To the International Social- ist Bureau the credit is due for bring- ing this question once again to the fore, and the following manifesto, issued to the entire Socialist move- ment in Great Britain should be read with .much interest. In it they de- j clare: Comrades,— We address this manifesto to you in the name of the whole International movements When we met your delegates at the preliminary Conference on the 18th July, 1913, the Executive Committee of the International Socialist Bureau was already acting in the name of all affiliated parties, in pursuance of the Resolution of Amsterdam on Socialist unity. The International as a whole showed its desire, by the presence of all its delegates in London on 13th December, to give open approval and encouragement to our efforts in favour of the establishment of Socialist unity in Great Britain. There is no doubt that in principle all convinced Socialists* recognise the utility and the necessity of opposing to the growing concentration of the Capitalist forces the effective concen- tration of the forces of the working- class. This is proved by the fact that as long as 1904, at the Congress at Am- sterdam, the British delegates, with- out distinction of shades of opinion, unanimously adopted* ihe weii-knoirn resolution of unity, which was signed ? which was si g ne d by Bebel, Adler, Kautskv, Troelstra, and Vandervelde. The Executive Committee of the Bureau was, then, in duty bound to seize the most favourable moment for bringing about an understanding, and it cannot be reproached with having attempted the "rush" matters, since it has waited nine years before taking any action. Great Britain has presented to the world the spectacle of a country where capitalist evolution has taken place more rapidly than anywhere else. The hope was justified that Socialism would follow a similar evolution. But un- fortunately it has turned out that re- grettable differences have arisen, and even to-day it seems that in certain quarters there is more inclination to cultivate a sectarian sp rit than to maareh in common agreement against the common enemy. Sf, h a mistaken policy must not continue !• The con- sequences would be ruinous for the class-conscious proletariat, for more and more we are finding that all over the world Socialism only plays a part worthy of itself, when it is solidly united. From a practical point of view, moreover, we cannot see that the differences of outlook are greater in your country than elsewhere. Look at France. Has she not given to the Socialist world an admirable example? The French Socialists, in spite of old quarrels now forgotten, have established a powerful unified party-thus giving to all an example of political wisdom and of loyalty to the principles so solemnly affirmed by the Congresses of the International at which you were represented. Socialism must not be obscured, and h the Socialist movement biust not be hindered, even temporarily, by con- siderations of secondary importance, by personal differences, by a sectarian spirit, or by divergent conceptions of political methods. Those who are guilty in this respect commit a real crime against the working-class, for they retard the hour of complete vic- tory. The delegates of your three parties have realised this. Then unanimous vote proves* that there no longer exists any plausible reason for refusing the necessary agreement. The Executive Committee of the B.S.P. has already recommended to its members that they should affiliate to the Labour Party on condition that the Labour Party recognises their position as Socalists aiming at the abolition of Capitalism. We also appeal to our Comrades of the I.L.P. and the Fabian Society to use their influence within the Labour Party to obtain for candidates at elec- tions the right to run as Labour and Socialist candidates. The slight alter- ation in the constitution necessary for this purpose will only mean the formal recognition of what already exists in fact-the alliance of Socialism and Trade Unionism. We renew our appeal to our Com- rades of the B.S.P. to bear in mind the truth, which is recognised every- where, that Trade Union action can have no other logical issue than the (Continued at bottom of next column.)
SOCIALIST UNITY IN GREAT BRITAIN
fOomttmed from preoedlng eoln-.a. abolition of Capitalism, and that Socialist ideas must inevitably prevail in organisations which are in fact carrying on the class struggle. The final request which we make is that you act quickly and without hesi- tation. At the Congress of Vienna British Socialism must speak with one voice. You must give to the Socialist world a new example of discipline, in order to enable us to continue else- where the work of consolidation and harmony, on which depends the ulti- mate tn umph of the gocialist move- mate triumph of the Socialist move-
GOB FIRES IN MINES
GOB FIRES IN MINES "NOT MUCH CAUSE FOR ANXIETY IN S. WALES" The first report of the Departmental Committee appointed by the Home Secre- tary upon the question of spontaneous combustion in mines has. been issued. The report states that during the. last twenty years 177 persons have lost their lives through accidents caused by spon- taneous combustion throughout, the United Kingdom, though doubt. is ex- pressed if all the cases of incipient fire were actually reported. "GOB STINK." The Committee expressed the opinion that notification should be sent to the in- spector of mines when gob-stink, smoke, or any other sign of combustion was ob- served when the temperature of the air in any accessible part of a, mine was 20deg. Fahr. above the normal tempera- ture, or where the temperature at such pkce attained to 110 degrees Fahr. when any flash had been observed coming from any pack or waste, and that as soon as any work was commenced for the purpose of discovering or combating a fire the inspector should be notified of the fact. After carefully weighing all the evi- dence as to the question of the with- drawal of workmen from mines on the outbreak of fire or during the operations of dealing with the fire, the Committee express the opinion that in mines in which safety lamps were used or in, mines in which i per cent. of inflammable gas ha,d been found in the return airway of any ventilating district of the mine on any occasion-when smoke or other signs indicative of a fire occur in any such mine—the whole of their workmen should be withdrawn from the ventilating dis- trict affected, and before they were re- admitted the manager and two representa- tives of the workmen (if the workmen elected to appoint two such represent.a- tives) should make an inspection, the re- sult of which should be entered in a book to be kept at the mine for the pur- pose, and should be signed by the parties making the inspection. The men should not be re-admitted to that part of the mines unless fuch report stated that it was safe to do so. In the event of a fire being dammed off the whole of the men should be with- drawn from the mine until the work was wpl.,d..Etd should not be re admitted until ah inspection had been made in the i rinannrer recommended, and the conditionf reported safe. The only special reference in the re- port to South Wales is as follows :— Fires duo to spontaneous combustion are reported to have occurred at thirteen col- lieries (it is doubtful, however, whether one of the cases was due to spontaneous combustion, and it is interesting to note that the coal worked at this colliery is anthracite). One occurred last year at a ste-im coal colliery, "in which," says Dr. Atkinson (the divisional inspector) "cases of spontaneous combustion are ex- tremely rare. The seams most liable are the Victoria and the Swansea Five- feet or Llanelly Four-feet. Mr J. Dyer Lewis senior inspector of mines in the South Wales Division) reports that "spontaneous combustion has not been in the past a cause for much anxiety in the South Wales coalfield. The most serious case occured at Court Herbert Colliery on June 1, 1906, when a gob fire brought about an explosion of fire-damp, resulting in the lass of five live,- and causing injury to four persons." In view of the references made at the Senghenydd inquiries to the use of inr combustible dust in fiery mines, it is im. portant to also note the memorandum signed by four out of the five members of the committee (of whom Mr R. A. S. Redmayne, his Majesty's Chief Inspec- tor, is one), as follows :— "We are of opinion that one of the means which might and should be adopted as effective in stopping an ex- plosion of coal dust is the use of. incom- bustible dust, and we are in agréement in thinking that the necessity for the withdrawal of the workmen from the ventilating districts other than that in which the fire occurs would cease to exist if such other districts in the seam or seams worked from the same level were adequately protected by incombustible dust on the roads of such districts, the dusting being in the proportion of at lea.st two parts of incombustible dust to one of- coal dust; and we are further of opinion that in whatever part of the mine a fire oociirrs, all accessible parts of the mine immediately contiguous to the fire should be dusted in the proportion of at least four parts of incombustible dust to one of coal dust. Our reason for suggesting a higher proportion of incom- bustible dust that that put forward as a minimum in the Fifth Report of the Ex- plosions in Mines Committee is that, having regard to the fact that mines sub- ject to spontaneous combustion are more prone to dangerous conditions, a higher scale should be insisted upon.
■ w 9 m ■ Nantyglo and Blaina Urban Council has sanctioned an application to the Local Government Board for a loan of L24,600 for the erection of 100 houses in Blaina.
THE MINERS GREAT TASK
THE MINERS' GREAT TASK I Dangers of Foes Within I Strikes v. Parliamentary Action I LEADERS' TIMELY WARNING. (By Mr Vernon Hartshorn, Miners' Agent.) There are strenuous times ahead of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, and the efforts of all the- members should be directed to building up our strength for I the big tasks which will have to be tackled in the immediate future. It is essential to our success that we ig-hall not adopt any lopsided policy. We shall need all the industrial strength we I CM1 command, but we shall also need much greater political strength -than we now possess if we are to secure the re- forms which we now have upon our pro- gramme. The greatest enemies of our movement will be those within our own ranks who may seek to cause misunder- standings and friction between the in- dustrial and political movements within the Miners' Federation and the Trade Unions generally. The revolutionist who thinks that the only way of bringing about working class emancipation is by direct action, and who with wild and bitter words denounces the politicians, will do incaluculable harm to our pro- spects of success, and if he secures the support of the majority of the members he must inevitably involve our move- ment in disaster. I DIRECT ACTIONISTS But the one-idea man to whom direct action is the be-all and end-all of Trade Unionism can do no more harm than the pedantic politician who turns round on the Trade Unions when they are engaged in strikes and plays into the hands of employk-rs by preaching the fatuous doc- trine ttt&t strikes do not benefit the workers, and that a revolutionary trans- formation of Society can be brought about by academic argument pure and simple and a simple-minded reliance upon the good will of the employing classes. The facts of very recent history give the lie to both of these types of advi&ers. South Afrka haa ^ivesi .vaf II. striking example of hove direct action run* the risk of being smashed by force of arms in communities where the working classes have neglected the importance of politics and left the executive power and the control of the itnilitary and police forces entirely in the hands of capitalists, who, instead of using those forces for national and civic interest only, devote them to the purpose of perpetuating class domination, based upon economic, not social, considerations. POLITICAL POWER lOur own history shows how direct action may be partially or even sub- stantially Successful, and yet may be robbed of full sucess by the failure of the workers to grasp the political power which has lain within their reach since the extension of the franchise. The great effect of industrial action in the civilised communities of to-day is to drive the economic and human problems of industrialism on to the floor of Par- liament. The national Parliament is, and always will be, and ought to be, the most powerful institution in the land, greater than any Trade Union or com- bination of Unions. Parliament is bound to have a power- ful influence in the final settlement of our problems, and therefore the working olaasea will nevecr get justice until they realise how important it is that they should be represented in that assembly in full proportion to their voting strength. The national strike of miners in 1912 was the most imposing and successful demonstration of direct action that has ever been undertaken in this country. It forced Parliament to set aside all the important measures with which it was occupied at the time and deal with the, question of a minimum wage for under- ground workers. Had Labour been strongly represented in the House of Com moos the miners would un-doubtedly have won the schedule of wages. The lesson for Labour is obvious. When direct action by the Unions forces in. dustrial problems on to the floor of the House of Commons our representatives there must be insufficient strength to complete the victory. That is the policy by which we must promote the new de. mands. I THE SURFACEMEN'S QUESTION. The surtacemen s question is fast de- veloping to a criaim6 In some districts the men and the employers have had local conferences. In some areas there has been secured for some of the grades as much or more than is being asked. In others the men have had something, which does not, however, represent the whole of the 15 per cent, demanded. But in the majority of districts the owners have either declined to meet the men, or have refused to make any advance at all. The Miners' Federation of Great Britain are now asking the coalowners to meet the men in a National Conference to en- deavour to make a settlement. In some districts the ooalowners seem reluctant to do so, but the general secretary of the Federation has been instructed to give them another invitation. If the coal- owners finally decline they will- have no cause of complaint if we formulate de- mands and take our own course. I DISTRICT RULES. Then there is the task of pressing for- ward the amendments to the Minimum Wage Act. which were approved by the M iners' National Conference. With re- gard to the amendment that the district rules should not be applicable to day- wage men there has been a tactical altera- tion. It is now proposed to set aside such l (Continued at bottom of next column.)
THE MINERS GREAT TASK
tn. 81.-). of the rulee in thel district awards 88, in the opinion of the National Executive of the Federation, ought not to be imposed as a condition of receiving the minimum wage, and the executive are now calling upon each of the districts to aend in a statement as to what rules in their awards they consider to be unfair to the work- mem. This means that while we may not ask for the abolit4on of all the rules as now applicable to day wagemen, we may, and probably shall, ask for the abolition of some of them both as to day wagemen and pieceworkers. I REQUEST TO THE PREMIER. A request has been made to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, and the President of the Board of Trade that they should meet the National Executive oe- fore Parliament opens to discuss the pr b. posed amendments, and we shall see whether they are prepared to introduce on behalf of the Government an amending Bill. If not, the Miners' Federation will draft its own Bill and get it introduced into the House of Commons by the Lab- our party. In the meantime we must keep our industrial powder dry and get I on with the negotiations for a common understanding with the National Union of Railway men and the Transport Workers' Union.
I SENGHENYDD. "FEDERATION FIGHTING TOOTH AND NAIL." I THE COMMISSIONER ASTOUNDED The Home Office inquiry into the Senghenydd colliery disaster was re- slimed on Wednesday at Cardiff. Pro- fessor Redmayne, C.B., the Commis- sioner, was accompanied by his two assessors, Mr. Evan Williams (chairman South Wales Coalowners' Association) and Mr Robert Smillie (Miners' Federa- tion). On the Court being reopened Mr. Edward Shaw, manager and agent at Senghenydd, went back to the witness- box, and he was under examination the whole day. At the outset the colliery records were asked for, the fan book, the firemen's reports, and the baro- metric entries. Replying to Mr. Williams, witness said that analysis of the ventilating air I had been made at Senghenydd from time to time, and with regard to the presence of gas '6 had been the result ) of the examinations made in the main return. It had never reached one per cent. Hv adhered to the theory ex- pounded by him at the coroner's in- quest that the indications of force were inwards from the lamp cabin after the II explosion and not outwards from the distant workings. The Commissioner: At the time of my inspection I drew attention to the accumulations of coal dust on the Jen- kins-road. Mr. Shaw: I was not present at the time. The Commissioner: There were some falls there?—Yes. The Commissioner: Those did not exist prior to the explosion ?—No. Mr. Brace: What you say as to the point of origin of the explosion can only be a theory?—Yes. Mr. Brace: Based upon the balance of any evidence that may be adduced ? —Yes. Mr. Nicholas: We are fighting the lamproom theory tooth and nail. The Commissioner: Mr. Williams suggested that it be tested on Thurs- day. Being questioned as to where the report books were at the time of the explosion, Mr. Shaw said they were found at the top of the pit. Mr. Nicholas: Right throughout the coroner's inquest we were allowed to assume that the firemen's books were in the locking station below the sur- face. Now the witness tells thpy were not there. It has a bearing on the theory which he has put forward as to the point of origin. To Mr. Shaw: Do you agree with the proposition laid down in this book (holding up a volume). The Commissioner: A book by whom ? Mr. Nicholas: It is by Professor Red- mayne. (Laughter.) The Commissioner: Then you must call him as a witness. (More laughter.) Mr. Richards, M.P.: I put it to Mr. Shaw that all the indications of force were quite as inconsistent with the explosion having started in Mafeking as with its having originated in the lamp station?—I cannot accept that. Mr. Richards (to the Commissioner): With regard to the readings of the barometer, you, sir, have been cited against me: but, with great deference, I think you are wrong. (Laughter.) The Commissioner: On what point? Mr. Richards: As to recording the readings ? The Commissioner: I thought I had been careful not to express an opinion. Mr. Lewis: I think it is a matter for argument. Mr. Richards: What I am suggesting is that it was the duty of someone to keep a record and to enter it in the book. The Commissioner: That is quite clear. The Commissioner (to Mr. Shaw): Did nobody report the readings of the barometer ?-No. The Commissioner: Is not that an astounding fact?—Our practice was to read it, but the readings were not re- corded. The Commissioner: Well, I am very much surprised. The inquiry was adjourned.