Collection Title: Merthyr Pioneer
Institution: The National Library of Wales
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James Winstone Looks Afield
James Winstone Looks Afield. I Our Future Member Ana Some Pressing Problems I That Christmas Should Not Allow Us To Forget. I The Duties of The New Democracy. I I am writing this article at the express re- quest and imperative command of the energetic Editor of the Merthyr "Pioneer," although he is not in iany way responsible for choosing the subject. 1 have never thought much of money, but I am bound to confess that this vain wish grows on me, and I should like to have sufficient to place the PiDneei-, with its r ring, ele- vating tone, industrial and political insight and sound economic teaching in every home in South Wales. There has never been greater need of its influence than to-day. THE NATIONALISATION OF MINES. The policy -of the British industrial and poli- tical movements of the country will very rapidly become the Acid Test," and it would more th.an repay the Federation to extend this paper's usefulness by making it, on terms, the medium for its propaganda. The benefits, I am sure, w-ould bemtttual. STARVINC EUROPE. Through my past-bag this morning there came to me anotlier urgent and pathetic appeal, to the many which I receive these days, for the starving peoples of that part of the world devas- tated by the war. What cruel monsters are Militarism and its natural corollary—war. This appeal is especially for and on behalf of tiie starving tpeople of Austria, and particularly in aid of the Hospital oi ietma. The .endi tiorn >. out, by an eye w itness are appalling and sufficient to touch the hardest heart. In his report he says:— In Vienna the amount of coal given out per day for the huuse and enoking lis one kilo, equal to 2} lbs. The ordinary ration for food for the week is 2} lbs. 'of bread, lb. flour, and a smaller quantity of beans or dry vegetables. This has now been reduced for the last week to a half, oii-itig to there being no supplies avail- able. There are very few potatoes to ibe 'had, and only 10 ounces of meat should be meted out every fortnight, but generally there are no sup- plies available. The schools have already been closed, the children not going to school through the rooms being cold and through thefir not being provided with food. They roam about the streets and generally get demoralised. Children of 11 or 12 already look like children of 7 or 8 years, the latter again looking 3 or 4 years younger than they really me, and tuberculosis and softening of the bones, etc., are spread to a terrible ex- tent. We are informed that-.many of the commodi- ties essential to these unfortunate people are within their reach, provided that English money can be Obtillitied to effect the exchange, as the Austrian currency has .so depreciated as to be practically iwort bless. He is true to God 'who is true 00 man, Where etc wrong is done, To the weakest, to the humblest Beneath the all beholding sun. That wrong is also done to us; And we are slaves most base. If love of right he for ourselves And not for all the race." May I add my personal appeal to that of others that everything shall be done that can be done to help these people. What ,a grave re- sponsibility rests on those who were responsible for the World War, With what little wisdom is this world governed, and how oOasy ItlO destroy a nation; but what wisdom .and forethought and energy are-required to rebuild it. THE OUTRAGE ON I-REL- AND. I Recent events in Ireland, Egypt and India must make every lover of Justice blush with shame. Hut for the moment the position of Ire- land conies under review. Con-stitutional Gov- ernment soems to have completely broken down, and it as quite within the realm of possibility that the Coalition Government, acting with the consent ,of its members, and at ithe behest of other Ulster Unionists, have determined to goad the Irish people inito further rebellion for the sole purpose of preventing them having Self- Determination. There is only one way to satisfactorily settlc, the Irish question. It is not 'by force, but by giving the people of the Irish Nation Justice. The cause of Ireland is the cause of all Mberty- £ roat and an almost irreparable wrong has been done to the Irish people. I am ashamed at the stupidity and lack of perception on the part of our legislators. They say to organised Labour in Britain: You cannot-, you must not, think of gaining your end by force; you must not hold a pistol at the head of the Government; force is no remedy. But if force is wrong, and is no remedy rin Bri- tain, how can it be right and a remedy in Ire- land? What is wrong in Britain cannot be right in Ireland. Ireland must have Self-Det-erraination. It is the duty of the New Democracy an Brirtain to see that it is given, not as a privilege, but as ,a right. Ireland must be freed and it is the boun- den duty of the British Labour Movement to be vigilant and morally, socially, politically it must be true to tradition, to the spirit of freedom that gave it birth. Merthyr has had its "Hands Off bclamd meeting, and the resolution passed there with so much enthusiasm, should be sent to every or- ganised body in Wales, passed, and sent on to the authorities. Ireland to-day is an armed c&mp, is governed not by reason but by 60,000 British soldiers at a cost of -LI 1, 000,000 per annum. What a mockery it is to prate about out- having gone to war in defence of Self-Peter in in at ion for small nations and to deny it to Ireland. HOUSING PROBLEM. v The failure ot the Government to redeem their promises to rebuild a now England after the war, and to make Britain" a fit place for heroes to live in," has become n national scandal. The latest theme oUf tli • Prime Minister is to I ;11:, luca' autiio/iiieii W bo ioc-jtl patriotism to find the money for housing the people. This will prove another Government failure. In proof we have such a Conservative body of County Councils Association, at its mca-ting tlield in London on the 3rd of December, supporting with unanimity the follow ing resolution received from the Pembrokeshire Clounty Council.- That the Council, having 'considered the question of Housing in the County, and having received letters from the Member for tllie County and the Ministry of Health, here- by record their unanimous opinion that in view of the difficulty .of raising loans locally, the only possible way in which the Housing Scheme can be satisfaotorily dealt with in the County, is by the State supplying tihe neces- sary funds." This above resolution wag" -considered by the Committee of the Association, and it was re- solved :— That the Committee do agree with the views expressed by the Pembrokeshire County Council and that the Government be urged to proceed on the lines indicated in the resolu- tion." The difficulty experienced by Pembrokeshire County Council is the difficulty experienced all over the Oountry. To say that the Housing Question is serious is to put it mildly. There are mohouses being built except on paper. Up to the present time, now 13 months after the armistice, there are only 150 houses built, and we want 1,500,000 to properly house the people of Britain. There is only one way to the rebuilding of Britain. The State must be made responsible for the housing of the 'people and the local authorities should be made the medium through which the State should operate. The State must take control of all building materials—commandeering them, if necessary, at a reasonable cost, based on pre-war prices. It is a national problem as much as the war and must be financed and dealt with la,S sueli,by t-fic Nation. OLD ACE PENSIONS. I Having taken a deep interest in this urgent question and advocated an increase in the weekly payments I am pleased that after con- tinual pressure something has been done to gjve relief to he old 'warriors of industry; both men and women. This is only ta modicum of justice to a very deserving class. It is described in the news- papers as A Fine Christma's Box." The new scale of payments will be as fol-lows:- Ten shillings a week in cases where the means of the recipient does not exceed £ 31 10s. per annum. Where the means does not exceed— 12/- per week 8/- pension weekly 14/- 5, 16/- „ 4/- 18/- 2/- 19/- „ 1/- 1) There will be no pension where the means ex- I ceod 19/- weekly. It will mean an addition of I 220,000 new pensioners, an increase of £10,350,000 per annum, the total cost will be £28,000,000 per annum. The outstanding re- grettable feature is tha the old worn-out veterans of industry or anyone else in these days should be expected to live on a pound ia week when its purchasing value is not more than 8/6. On Friday morning last it came to my know- ledge that orders had been received in the Mer- thyr Borough not to pay ild age pensioners for Christmas week. I immediately sent the follow- ing telegram:— Griffiths (Labour Whip), v House of Commons, London. Orders just received Dowlais not to pay old- age pensions on Christmas week. Very hard for old people. Please inquire and urge pay- ment. On Saturday morning I ireceive-d the following letter House of Commons, December 19th, 1919 Dear Winstone.-Wi, raised the question of postponing pay to old-age pensioners in the House to-day, and as a result Government climbed down and old veterans will be paid. Government have introduced very unsatis- factory bill to-day. However, it will help the old veterans to the tune of 2 6 weekly for the present. We shall fight for improvements in Com- mittet- Yours truly, T. Griffiths. More power to their elbows say I. Yours fraternally, J. WINSTONE.
THE EDITOR AND STAFF OF THE "PIONEER" Wish all its readers and advertisers A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A JOYOUS NEW YEAR. NEXT WEEK.-In ju xi week's issue we beginaseri-es of articles from the pen of Mr. T. 1. Mardy Jones, dealing with the inipoita-ut movement for the devel- opmenft of County Boroughs in the teem- ing rallies of the South Wales coalfields. A finsit conference of Labour men to forward the movement is reported else- in this issue.
Merthyr leathers National ScaieI
Merthyr leathers & National Scaie. DELEGATES INSTRUCTED TO VOTE AGAINST REPORT. At a special general meeting of the Merthyr Tydfil N. U .T. Association held at Abermorlais Boys' School on Thursday, December 18th, the report of the Standing Joint Committee on the National, Provisional Minimum Scale of Salaries was the important matter under consideration. The President of the Association (Mr. Hugh J ones) occupied the chair. There was a good at- tendance of members present. Aftiar ample dis- cussion, the following resolutions were unani- mously agree upon:— (1) That this Association instructs its repre- sentatives to special N.U.T. conference in Lon- don on December 30tli to reject the report. (2) That if the report be not rejected we in- struct the representatives to (submit amendments on the report: (a) Dealing with clauses 3 re pay- ment of minimum scale to cortaifica-ted teachers; (b) Deletion >af clause 15 a • introducing the prin- ciple of compulsory arbitration; (c) The grading of schools to be on the basis of accommodation amd not average attendance; (d) The addition of a clause (Safeguarding those areas above the N.P.M.S. # ine representatives to tne comierence are Misses M. A. Williams, S. Price, M. L. Davies, and Messrs. Harry Evans, D. H. Evans, E. R. Hughes, E. Williams, T. R. Evans, and the Secretary (Mr. D. Price).
A Welsh Alaska
A Welsh Alaska BARMOUTH COLD MINE DISCOVERY. According to statements in the Press this week we should be experiencing the woolly^ life that Bret Harte paints iso w4 of thfl^Western gold- mining camps, for tmysterious hints of a great strike of Paw 4CEIt ly at tin; Canon Cloga.n mine near iBaumouth are thrown out. For isome time six men and a. foreman have been atrtihe working, but it was only last week thatt they struok a really valuable find, and for three days and three nights they worked without cessation at the task of digging isovereigns in a state of na- ture from the earth. At different intervals they dispatched the produce, and now they have been rewarded for their aeal for the owner has given the foreman tjo 4and tho six workers £ 5 each. Not aU the papers that have told the story are agreed that the latest extracting plant is to be installed.
The Need of Our ilmesI
The Need of Our ilmes-I CLEM BUNDOCK ON THE CALL FOR I PRINCIPLE. It was appropriate, as Mr. J. Adkins said from the chair at last Sunday's I.L.P. meeting, that when, after a summer in -the wilderness, a new home for the great propaganda meetings of The Merthyr I.L.P. was found in Shiloh, one of the first visitors to the new hall should be Mr. Clem Bundock, who had become known to Merthyr from the forum of the Rink, and had there es- tablished himself as a favourite with the Mer- thyr people. Mr. Bundock's address constituted a strong appeal to the workers to arouse to a sense of the urgency of the need for men of principle at the helm of the nation's affairs. That the pre- sent Government had proved their total absence of principles lie amply demonstrated in a shrewd criticism of the Government policy that lie de- veloped in the course of his speech. Principle more than anything else was what the country needed. The condition of chaos and of stark poverty with which we were confronted were due not to the sins of the mighty, but to the workers' (negligence and refusal to see that principle was placed in the throne of power rather than ag- gran.dis.ement and self-seeking. Our national politics and destinies were .in the hands of ad- venturers, because the people themselves were always ready to give ear to the adventurers and to hoot and decry the men of principles whose adherence to principle refused to allow them to lie itnd deceive as the adventurers did to get the ear of the public. So long as tlha.t Ista.nda.rdof judgment was appealed to in filling high places ef the nation whether in politics or in any other sphere, iso long would the country fail to rise to the greatness and glory that it ought to oc- cupy as the leading nation in the civilised world. I THE PREMIER'S POSITION. For a long time Mr. Lloyd George had defied classification in the political world, but in his recent address lto the Liberal Federation Mr. Lloyd George, for the first time in his political life, had come out on the side of Capitalism and private enterprise; ,and against the Labour Movement. In that speech Mr. George had de- clared himself on the side of those who main- tained that the prosperity and strength of the oountry have been built up by the stimulating amd invigorating appeal to individual impulse to individual action," but ''the ¡State must pro- tect; the State must educate, the State must assist where necessary, the State must control where necessary, he State must shield the weak against the strong." Mr. George allied himself with that, and against those who, he himself said, contended that Private Enterprise was a failure, it has been tried and found wanting, that it is a complete failure, a cruel failure, and must be roote dout, and community must take charge, must produce, distribute and con- trol." The speech could be accepted as a fair statement of the position, and the I.L.P. frankly accepted the challenge that the Premier then threw out, and ranked itself behind those who contended that private enterprise was a oomplete and cruel failure that must be rootedi out by the energy and forward thrust that the Socialist Movement in the country gave to the great organised working-class movement of the nation. (Cheers.) I RESPECTABLE. I And already the Socialist movement had pro- gressed so far, and was becoming so respectable that nowadays it was quite fashionable for every- body to isay "I am a bit of a Socialist myself, you know!" without exactly describing the bit," and in order to discredit the real leaders of the Socialist Movement it became necessary to drop calling them Socialists and to begin call- ing them Bolshevists. But that had been over- done, and when it had been applied freely to such men as Mr. Robert Smillis ",the greatest, the most courageous and truest trade union leader in the country "-(cbcers)-who had won their way into the hearts of the people, then na- turally the people said, Well, if Smillie is a Bolshevist, let's have Bolshevism." (Cheers.) A TRIBUTE TO BOLSHEVISM. I And if it came to a dhoice between Lenin and Trotsky on the one .hand, and Lloyd George and Winstone Churchill on the other, then he would not hesitate to range himself on the side of the former. (Cheers.) In lability, in intelli- gence, an political understanding, in energy and capacity, the Government of England was not fit to wipe the boots of Lenin and Trotsky. (Cheers.) Those two leaders were reorganising a State reduced to absolute chaos, building lip industry, building up a social system, looking, after the health and welfare of the women and children, and doing that whilst faced with war on nine fronts inside their border. Whether we agreed or did not agree with the system that the Bolshevists were trying to set up in Rusia, we were bound to look with admiration on the great (Continued at foot of next oolumn)
The Need of Our ilmesI
social experiment they were conducting and to use every effort we possessed to demand the right for them to make the experiment free from external opposition so that we might learn from that experiment when it was established. (Cheers.)
Something Wrong. EBBW VALE COLLIERS' EXPERIMENT RESULT. STORMY MEETINC, BUT A GOOD ENDINC. There has been more workers than work at the Ebbw Yale collieries recently, and about a month back the men met to discuss the situa- tion, with the result that a decision was come to under which ais am experiment, and with the safeguard of the company undertaking to pay the bonus turn to afternoon mcti-a partial double shift system, withanagre-ed system of partnerships and a consequent wage pool, was to be tried. But things have not worked out quite so happily as was hoped, "and the agreement of the afternoon and day men to a crossing sys- tem of partnership," was, at a somewhat lively meeting last Saturday, stated to be a double •cross of the old, old order, and not of the type intended. At all events, the afternoon men don't think that their end ,of the deal has turned out as it ought, and they said so quite plainly and unmista kably. AN OLD STORY. One of thorn aroused a great deal of trouble by talking about the JEO, £ 10 and £12 a week of the day-men, in quite the grand pianos and" gold-plate" style of war-time papers. The day-men denied tha.t (received anything like what he said, but tlie speaker said he knew that whilst he had to ,go home with R3 4s. lid., the man "crossing" him had 211 on his docket. Mr. Ben Griffiths, who was in the chair, natur- ally asked if this last lucky man had shared with the speaker. He hadn't, according to that disgruntled experimenter. Other speakers expressed the opinion that the day-men were not playing fair, and Mr. Young took the somewhat philosophic view that the men had brought the whole trouble on them- selves by taking on their backs burdens that rightly belonged to the management. Mr. E. Davies, J.P. (the agent) had the diffi- cult task of oiling these very troubled waters, and he began it by telling the meeting quite frankly that the time to start shouting was after the system had been given the fair trial that it had not had up to now. The alterna- tive to the scheme, he pointed out, was the aboli- tion of the afternoon shift, and the consequent dismissal acoording to the figures given by the management of 800 workers. He showed just what this meant, and urged that in the best in- terests of everybody the ischeme should be given a fair trial for a month. It was 'hard advice to accept, but when the meeting codied off, its better sense prevailed, and after swallowing ttheir clioler the men agreed to fall in with the agent's advice.
I Gas Off
I Gas Off ABERAVON AND MARCAM MEN INDULGE IN LIGHTNING STRIKE. FOR HIGHER PAY FOR WEEK-END WORK. Aberavon and Port Talbot were cities of the dark fob the greater part of the ng hours on Satm-day-that is, -so far as the consumers of gas were oonoo-for there was ia strike at the Aberavon and Margam Gas-works. However, there was a conference of the men's representati ves and the officials of the two authorities in the afternoon at which an agree- ment was reached, and work resumed; and by seven o'clock the gas was running through the pipes, sufficiently forcefully to provide a re- stricted supply, at any rate. The trouble arose over a claim for time-and-a-half for all hours worked between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Satur- days, and double time from that last hour tiU Monday morning ushers in the normal week. The issue was mot decided at Saturday's conference at which the authorities contended that since arbitration was opening on MondJay on a claim of the South Wales gas workers for -an advance of 10/- a week, their men should have waited for the publication of the award before making new claims. The men's retort is the obvious one that no general question of wages effects the demand for extra pay for week-end work. The" company however, feel that any such issue should be a general and not a local one. The men's opinion of the point can be guw-ed from the fact that they made it quite clear when they cancelled the strike on Saturday that fail- ing a settlement satisfactory to themselves by that day week, then Aberavon, Port Talbot, and the area supplied by the two Authorities would again be An difficulties with its lights.