Collection Title: Merthyr Pioneer
Institution: The National Library of Wales
Rights: The copyright status or ownership of this resource is unknown.
i The Failure of Parliamentary I Socialism. SEE PAGE 2
I Rhouddi Miners aud Compulsion. r- SEE PAGE 3
The Little Ones ChristmasI
The Little Ones' Christmas I k HIGH JINKS AT THE I.L.P. I I BUT WHY THE COMPETITIVE CONCERT?/ The kiddies of the members of the Merthyr I.L.P.-and we never thought there were so nia,iiy-tlioroughly enjoyed themselves on Christmas night at Bentley's, when the Branch set itself out to play Santa Claus, and al- though it was some twelve hours out of time, it succeeded very well. The hall was gay with bunting, and bright with mottoes in Cymric and English, not all of which breathed "the orthodox good wishes for the one season, but every one of which came nearer the spirit of Christ than does the usua Decemfber motto, since it embodied the Socialis- tic ideal of perfect justice and all-Peace. But brighter than all the bunting that was evei woven in Lancashire, dyed in German a,mlme dies, and sold through Birmingham middlemen were the healthy, chubby, clean-scrubbed and sparkling faces of the young guests whose eyes struck sparks of anticipation as they rested on the huge Christmas tree, loaded with good things, to be distributed later in the evening, and all aflame with its clothing of silvery arti- ficial frost as its slightly swaying boughs caught the glints from the electric lamps. All went to make up a. scene that was re- dolent with the spirit of the season, and though many might object to the sounding of the festive note this Marsmas, 1915, we are pleased that the Merthyr I.L.P. saw to it that the pervading gloom of Armageddon should not darken the lives of the tiny tots, a sentiment which was backed up by the stalwart khaki-clad members from various fighting regiments who managed to be present. One objection we do take to the evening, and that was in the inclusion of what was called a competitive concert as the main feature of the programme. Competitive concerts in Wales are known as eisteddfodau and are principally known as the media for keeping alive a narrow spirit of Welsh Nationalism. On the basis of principle, slender as it is in this case, we should object to the fostering of this spirit in any I.L.P. Branch in Wales, or elsewhere for the matter of that. But we have taken better grounds than those, and those are the compara- tive few entries for the competitions certainly not more than eight individual competitors com- bined in the whole of the programme—which, in itself, was a compilation, which, with the ex- emption of Miss Wheeler-Wilcox's "I protest." — -v I", ,c'ic'aJi"lkJerl to further a ca- tion or the child. Good poetry may he known from its literary beauty, combined with its ex- pression of the varying passions of the human race and good poetry inevitably and invariably lends itself to a natural elocution that cannot very well be missed though the competitor may not have been guided in his or her interpretation by the punctuation marks, as was somewhat foolishly we thought, recom- mended by the adjudicators on Saturday night. The truth of this will be immediately apparent to anyone who will ask his 12 to 15 year old son or daughter to declaim Portia's speech from the "Merchant of Venice," and follow it with the competitive piece for children of similar ages. "The Silver Lining," one of those com- mon little Kindergarten poems that can be strung together by the score with the help of a rhyming dictionary, and a few odd moments. And "The Silver Lining" was the best of the bunch. The two juvenile pieces were so much doggerel, despite the popularity which Try Again" might have gained in the days when Dr. Smiles' "Self-Help" was the companion book to the Bible in every middle-class home. We have not excepted from this criticism Keif Hardie's "Banner of Freedom," for deeply as we respected Hardie, and great as was our admiration for his stupendous ability, energy, and courage, we never laboured under the de- hasioBL that he was a poet in the sense that he was a, writer of songs. It seems almost a pity that Ella Wheeler- Wilcox's "I Protest" should have been included in this very mediocre prog- ramme for it only went to show up the taudi- ness of the rest by its splendid virility, and to strengthen our former or-ttioismoy producing from children, whose previous attempts had been singularly lacking in the very elements of elocubon, that modicum of dramatic protest that the lines demanded. But, and this is our main objection, whilst the Eisteddfod may have been interesting en- ough to the coiterie of children who had memo- rised the handful of wishy-washy verses, it was a time of trial to the little ones whose every thought was on what they were going to get from that Christmas tree in the centre, and upon which their little eyes were as fast glued ,-is are iron shavings to a big magnet. To them the "poets' hour" was a tedium, and we should suggest that in future years the compe- titions should be cut out, and the prize money spent in making the evening a real children's j party, with organised games, and healthy1 romps. They will enjoy it better. and though it may not help in their education, it will do as much in that direction as anything that we heard on Christmas Day. Having got all that off our chest, we do really congratulate the Branch on its thought- fulness and on the success that attained ita effort, for every child, we believe, was satisfied, though it may not have got the sum total of enjoyment out of the evening that would have come to it under our proposal, it still managed, with the adaptability of childhood, to extract a full, measure of enjoyment from the night, a,lid a few rebel spirits among the littler children anticipated our suggestion for future years by romping to their hearts' content at tie back of the hall. There were four competitors in the essay on the "Life Work of Jas. Keir Hardie, M.P. all of whom got a prize. The prize-winners were — Recitation for children 9 years and under: Nellie Adkins. Recitation for children between 9 and 12: Boys, Alfred Evans; Girls. Phyllis Nobes. Own Competition: Divided prize between B. JEvans, Phyllis Nobes and F. M. Jones. i i; Solo for children not over 15: Phyllis Nobes. Recitation for Children oetween 12 and 15: Boys, E. R. Nobes; Girls, Maggie White. Open Competition: Maggie White. Recitation for Competitors of any age- Divi- ded prize between B. Perkins and Bert Brobyn (j unior). T Essay on the Life Work of the late J. Keir Hardie, for children up to 15 years of age: Di- vided prise between L. Ashton and Elsie Perk- ins consolation prizes, Bert Brobyn (junior) and Phyllis Nobes. There were two impromptu competitions for grown-ups. but we failed to get the name of the successful singer of "The Banner of Free- dom," though we believe it was Jack Jones, and Miss Sylvia Pankhurst, who made a wel- come and unexpected visit, carried off the prize for the two-minute speech.
A Much Loved PastorI
A Much Loved Pastor. I TESTIMONIAL TO REV. e. R. JOHN AT I GILFAC'H-FARGOED. I Ainon Baptist Church, Gilfach, was packed on Tuesday night last to its utmost capacity with adm i rers drawn from all parts of the Rhymney Valley, and assembled for the purpose of paying tribute to the Iley. and Mrs. D. R. John on the occasion of their departure for the Rhondda Valley, w here Mr. John is about to undertake the pastorate of Bethania Baptist Church, Porth. Mr Waller Lewis, miners' agent, took the chair and in the course of his remarks, after reviewing the history of the church during Mr. John's association with it, referred in glow- ing terms to the noticeable development that had taken place in Mr. John's character. There was success and success and that of Mr. John was of the right kind. He was not a fuss*- busybody .Indeed, he ought to say, in justice to the church, that they had never asked him to bother with trifles, and the conse- quence was that his ministry had been one un- broken record of progress. He had never known Mr. John to enter his pulpit unprepared. He never preaphed his doubts, but his beliefs: and moreover, he dealt faithfully with questions af- fecting two worlds—the spiritual f/nd the ma- terial. He made statements that were not al- ways popular, but his authority for them was not economists, but the Bible. He regretted his departure on account of the great need for brave men in the Valley. He also desired to acknowledge the indebtedness of the church to Mis. John, whose untiring effort in face of very adverse circumstances had made it possible for her husband to do his work so efficiently. intfr Tom John endorsed very cordially and smsereh- the testimony of the Chairman. He felt their pastor's departure as a great personal loss. He had found him to be an able preacher and a consistent worker, and on that account had never for a moment regretted his share in inviting Mr. John to the district. On behalf of Ainon Church, ho had to express their un- feigned regret at his departure, but a cordial wish that in his new sphere of labour he may succeed in the same way as he had done at Gil- fach. MM W. C. Pa,rrish in a few well-olios en re- | marks, spoke on behalf of Noddfa Church, the pastorate of which, in conjunction with Ainon, Mir. Jolm had recently undertaken with con- spicuous success. He felt that the departure of Mr. John from the district just now was a great loss, inasmuch as undoubtedly the future had in store problems of far-reaching conse- quences, and for the solution of which they needed men of broad sympathies and keen in- sight. such as Mr. John possessed. Rev. E. B. Powell, Maesycwmmer, as an old acquaintance of Mr John, then addressed the meeting. He referred to the high opinion that had been held of Mr. John at school and at col- lege. He was always regarded as a, person with strong convictions and intense earnestness. They had been playmates together, had been at school together when preparing for the minis- try, and at college together, and in all the years had never known a single cloud of mis- understanding interfering with their friend- -lb-iP,. iMr. Jobn.was a good companion for f a minister; he was a student and a seer. He had been told that Mr. John was in the habit of saying strong thing's sometimes, but if that be the case, their presence in such numbers that night proved that the church appreciated his motives. He paid an eloquent testimony to Mrs. John s untiring devotion and her great hospitality. Other speakers werw Rev Hughes (Pont- lotyn), Mr. T. C. Jones (Gilfach), Rev. D. H. Rees (New Tredegar), Rev. J. G. Daviee (Gel'li- gaer), Rev Williams (Deri), Rev. D. Ley- shon Evans (Bargoed). Rev. Harri Edward's, and Rev. W. Lewis (Hengoed). Mr. John was presented with a beautiful sec- tional book-ease, the gift of the two churches, Ainor. and Noddfa, and outside admirers- several volumes of books by the ministers of the district, while a dinner service was presented to Mrs. John. I After the presentation ceremony had been performed by Mrs. Thomas and Mr. Walter Levis. Mr. John responded on behalf of his wife and himself. He felt he could say nothing at that juncture other than to thank all for the kindness they had always shown to h- i; since his advent 'to the district. He had done what he corald, but it would be not only un- gracious on his part, but contemptible also if he did not publicly acknowledge his indebted- ness to the unfailing devotion, care and fidelity of his wife. She was worthy of a,]l the praise and he desired to acknowledge it with gratitude. Musical items by Mr. D. Jones and Party contributed to the pleasure of the evening.
OUR PRINTING IS GOOD OUR TERMS ARE MODERATE, OUR STAFF IS TRADES-UNIONIST, And we give a guaranteed undertaking to DELIVER IN TIME.
South Wales Monmouthshire Buildir ing Trades Federation
South Wales & Monmouthshire Build- ir ing Trades Federation. A REPLY TO THE MASTERS' RESIST- I ANCE RESOLUTION. Yoii have been in the woody. just before a storm, when the leaves are gathered up into heaps formed by small whirlwinds you have heard the sighing among the branches as they sway to and fro; you have heard the almost human moan as the storm seems to break, and yet delayed its fury. Suddenly all is stii and quiet as the grave; the birds have ceased their twitting you are not deceived into thinking the storm will not come, because all the life with which the woods abound is hush- ed you know that animal life is only obeying Nature's law, "Self-preservation." It is also God's law, henoe they, in obedience to that law, have taken refuge in their "dug-outs." The storm comes with all its furious strength; trees bend and groan before it: here and there an isolated one is snapped and up-rooted (like the one reported at Cardiff to-day); yet the wood, becawise of its unity, stands. It may bend, as ft. does, before the storm, but it doesn't break, and life within its shelter is preserved. Moral support is a living force; it is not the word organisation that makes every- day life possible for men to-day, but the col- lective effort in which they are engaged. The other Thursday. employers of the Building Trades Federation of South Wales met at the Royal Hotel, Cardiff, Mr. W. War- ing presiding. Reports on the change of wage rates that came into force in October were given Several delegates gave reports of the demands by the building trade workers. It was resolved that these demands be resisted, as the trade was already severely handicapped by the abnormal conditions due to the war, and it was felt that no further Burden could be accepted. Yet some of the places that gave six months' notice for an increase on the 1st of November, have had no increase for years. Some have no agreed code of working rules; no allowance la to be made for these districts: no allowance for the years that trade returns have shown dontkiuous progress, while the Workers' rate of wages has remained stationary, and real wages—the most important thing for the wor- ker—have been failling for 20 years in virtue of the continual rise in the cast of living. That is hardly a satisfactory state of affairs. Is it not the best that can i; ppen for all in any circumstances that there should be a steady rise in the standard of living? When that does happen, employer or employee is not penalised, but all are greatly benefited. We do not say because wages, in say, New- bridge are only 9d. per hour, that employers are getting l-d. per hour more profit out of the building trade workers than the contractors in Cardiff, where wages are 1.02d. per hour; but we do say that it will be found to be the general experience in the building trade, and admitted by many employers, that high wages and high profits go together. South Wales is known for its,, one chief indus- try, coal, the workers of which secure a very much higher wage (and have had a war bonus merged into their standard rates) than the workers of the building trades of South Wales, aim.,d yet the latter have to pav for rent, clothing, food, etc., at the price of these commodities. which are fixed according to the purchasing power of the workers of the staple industry. The miner seeks to spend his higher wages in purchasing his own house, better food and clothing, to the benefit of the trades people, who require larger premises, and hence to the builder. We do not desire to say that the builder exploits the building trade worker by fixing his e-harqe for building because of the miners' ability to pay, but we do say that the builder's employee, if he had higher wages, would in like manner require his own house, better food and clothing, or should I say more of it. to the advantage again of the builder. It is the denial of this elementary right of the worker, to share in the progress of the nation, that leads to so many conflicts between employ- er and employees. According to the resolution at the builders' meeting, this decision is due to abnormal condi- tions that had been the outcome of the war. but does not the worker share this in the use of the material they require? They say that the price of war material has gone up; that is timber, glass, bricks, cement, etc. But have we not found that as business meii they have al- ways taken the first opportunity of translating the increased price of raw material into a higher price for the job? Is it not a fact, that the raw material that goes to make up labour —tkat is, bread, but- ter, beef, fish, bacon, tea, everything that makes a carpenter, mason, bricklayer, labourer more strong and of higher eiffciency, have gone up to a greater degree? They might say this is not logic, but is it not the eame reasoning as business men they use in their every day business? They also say that the increased cost of labour would prevent the jobs coming out, and there would be no work; but is it not better to have a quick death than one by slow starvation ? Would it not have been better for the build- ers to ha.ve called the Trades Unions together and offered to level up these low-paid districts, and suggested, say, a Board of Conciliation -for South Wales and Monmouthshire, having one code of working rules, one wage rate, etc.— something after the Miners' and CoaJowners' Conciliation Board? It is true we have the South Western Cen- tre. but there we must appear in sections. town, village or valley, or by trades. Would it not have been much better and fairer for all em- ployers to have had the same wage rates and conditions to apply when tendering in and for any district in Sputh Wales? Would it not have kept out the "foreigners"?
I 09* HELP THOSE WHO HELP 1101I YOUR PAPER.
1915 and 1950 I
1915 and 1950. I A Further Peep into the Future. I In my introductory and all-too-brief analysis of Dr, Homes' essay on "Physical and Mental Poisons that Prevent Progress," I cursorily touched upon the comparison he draws between the persons infect-ed by the "bacillus vinococ- eus" (or alcoholic bacterial germ) and the "bacillus patrioticooocous" (01 patriotic germ). With this comparison I hope to deal more ful- ly this week, and incidentally fill in some ot the gaps I inevitably had to leave in my review of the essay in my last article. Under the influence of alcoholic drink (which is the popular way of saying a man is infected by the "bacillus yinocoocus") the chief charac- teristic says Dr. Homes, is that the unfortu- nate person is bereft of reason, or at any rata shows all evidence of having lost control over his reasoning faculty. The person thus infected becomes a victim of his passions and lusts, liv- ing a degraded life worthy only of savages and Twine. Drunkards, in their irrational moments committed acts and performed deeds which, in their soberer moments, they were thoroughly. ashamed of. (Here the Doctor quotes cases of murders, rapes, thefts and outrages committed by drunkards who, in their soberer moments, admitted that they were ashamed of the foul and fiendish deeds they had performed under the influence of alcohol.) The Doctor then proceeds with an exact paral- lel analysis of the person infected by the "ba- cillus patriotococcus," and shows how this per- son loses all control of his reason, and com- mits deeds which are the very negation of all that is oestin civilisation. (Here follows a de- tailed account of the outrages committed in Belgium, Serbia, Poland, as evidenced by the carefully conducted Commissions of Enquiry, in their voluminous reports on the Great European War of 1914 and 1915.) Wholesale murder, rape. pillage theft, use of poison gas, shell fire (or, as the Doctor, with grim humour, interpolates, HELl" FIRE), high ex- plosives, machine guns, poisoning of water sup- plies, etc, were the fiendish commonplaces of the belligerentts in the European War. Also in his soberer moments, the person thus infected is thoroughly ashamed of the deeds he has per- formed on the batttlefield under the influence of this pernicious germ. The Doctor quotes examples of soldiers who, when they have re- turned from the front, and have come back home. refuse absolutely to recount or repeat verbally the horrible dewdti (e.g., the ripping up of abdomens and the mutilating of limbs) that they have witnessed, and as to the number of P e they have killed they are most reticent e thi_e.? ,r,V times the Doctor points out (pri- or-?t?Tifection by the "bacillus patrioticoccus") all workers are most careful to avoid explosives (sav in mines or other dangerous industries) and even where an explosion does occasionally take place, the public and the workers concern- ed are extremely sad and sympathetic about the many bereavements caused thereby, but in the great European War after the germ "pat- ricticocoeou" had gripped people, it was a com- mon thing to hear of explosions made to order, by electrically exploding earthmines, and what was more, the press lauded it and covered the act with glory aind with honour. What reason dictated: was wrong, unfortunate and undesirable to the people when not infec- ted by this bacterial germ, the absence of rea- son and passion amounting to the worst form of passion—Hate—labelled "right and laudible. after the "bacillus patriotieoeoccus" had done its work. In this passionate and irrational state, the drunkard foolishly mutilates his own body and the bodies of anyone on whom his passion seeks vengeance (it may even be his own wife who is decorated with a pair of black eyes or gets a few teeth banged in).. The Doctor draws an exact parallel again in the case of the people infected by the germ "potrioticococcus." And here, in his lurid passages. the Doctor does not draw on his imagination, but quotes from tual letters which were wuibcen by soldiers in the great European War. I cannot resist quoting a few passages from some of these first-hand letters: — "When the battery had ceased firing we went out into the field of fire. What a marvel of mechanism one of those machine guns is-280 bullets and more to the minute! You see it buzzing, and it spurts out bullets thicker than rain can fall. It is pointed on the middle of the body, and it sprays the whole firing line with one sweep. It is a.s though Death had scrapped his scythe for old iron and had specu- lated in murderous machine guns. They have ceased to mow corn down by hand nowadays. So with these machine guns; we mow men down by the thousands. We have passed on from retail to wholesale methods of slaughter. We would put to shame the pig-stickers and slaugh- ters in the packing -.vorks described so vividly in Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle.' The extravagance of people infected by the "bacillus vinococcus" (which, in the British Isles alone for the 1915 amounted to an aggregate of LI 60,CK)0,000) is even exceeded by the wanton, wilful and still- greater extravag- ance of patriotic people, who squander, seeming- ly quite cheerful, 1,600 million pounds in the British Isles alone. The extravagance of patriots, no less than the rakishness of the alcoholic person, makes not only himself a bankrupt, but saddles with a burden those who are, unfortunately, bound to follow. The immense war loans raised in all these countries infected with the "patrioticococ- cus" germ simply meant increasing the Na- tional Debtr" with whiok posterity would be saddled. In 1950, Dr. Homes says, these debts were a surb on the wheel of progress in those days, as much a.s the weakened constitution of the offspring of a drunken wreck was a handicap in the race of life. The greater the grip the alcoholic bacilli have on persons, the greater is their extravag- ance so also in the cae of the "patrioticoooc- ons." Nations under tlin) influence of this germ at the commencement of the war spends on an ] average on* million pounds a day; then to- wards the tad of the war their extravagance had inGieasea to 6 million pounds a day. The Doctoi winds up the comparison most powerfully by devoting about a dozen pages to the whole mythology of falsehood or illusions which are circulated, under the influence of both the "vinococcus" and the "patrioticococ- cus bacteria. Any old yarn or rumour without an atom of foundation if repeated often enough will be believed and repeated again as truth by an intoxicated person without even a blush or momentary hesitation. The credulity of the toper is a bye-word. The person thoroughly infected by the germ "vino- coccus" will swear there are ten policemen watching him when, in fact, there is perhaps not even one. This is perhaps the psychologi- cal explanation for the phrase "seeing the blues. The persons infected by the "patrioticococ- cus" are equally ready to believe in illusions, and myths, and also help in circulating them. The Dr quotes as typical examples of these the myths of the passage of a large Russian Army that travelled from Archangel through England on to Belgium, and the Joan of Arc- Ht? myth (of whi?h there were about twenty ?contradictory authentic accounts) of the Won- derful Angels at Mons. This, I am afraid, must suffice to indicate the powerful comparisons the Doctor makes of the "vinococci" and patrioticococci" folk. Next week I hope to give some selections from the speeches and writings of prominent people infected by the "bacillus patrioticocoo- l'u;, %of which Dr. Homes has made a very careful study from his study of contemporary writings and documents. As a last word I cannot resist this extract: — "Whenever in an election a retrogressive candidate desired to head the poll beer flowed freely and the' bacillus vinococcus' did the rest, by robbing the electors of their reason and secured the return of the unprogressive candidate. At the Merthyr Tydfil Bye-election, where a successor was required instead of Mr. Keir H,a,i-dia-the Peace prophet and stalwart—the "bacillus patrioticooocous" secured the same ,s" -??ure d the same effect as the bacillus vinoooccsu" would have done—the return of a retrogressive "patriotic" candidate at the head of the poll. ABRACADABRA.
Aberdare District Miners 7 Federation
Aberdare District Miners' ￼ 7 Federation. ?? SUB-AGENT FORECASTS END OF BONUS TURN GRIEVANCE. The monthly meeting of the above was held at the Federation Offices on December 21, Mr. David James, checkweigher, Blaenant, presid- ing. -onus Turn to Piece Work Repairers. Mr. Illtyd Hopkins (Sub-Agent), in his re- port stated that the owners' side at the Con- ciliation Board Meeting on the previous Friday, when dealing with this grievance, expressed a desire to refer the matter back to the Disputes Sub-Committee for settlement. That they (the owners) were fully alive to the seriousness of the position, and hoped that means would be found to effect a settlement. The owners' proposal was agreed to. He (the Sub-Agent) stated that this matter had been hanging since July last, out that, in his opinion, a serious attempt would now be made towards a settle- ment Conscription. The Fforchaanan Lodge had submitted a re- solution passed at a general meeting of its members to the effect That this meeting is resolutely opposed to any form of Conscription, and pledges itseff to do all in its power to oppose such a mea- sure and also asks the District Meeting to call upon the Central Executive Council to convent a special conference to deal with the matter. The Sub-Agent stated that this matter had been very fully considered by the Central Exe- cutive Council at its meeting on the previous Saturday. It was stated at that meeting that-, the M.F.G.B. Executive intended calling a Special Conference of the Miners' Federation immediately Conscription was introduced. Also, that responsible Members of the Government hatd informed the Executive that such an Order would not be given before discussing the matter in the House of Commons. After a discussion, it was ultimately resolved to ask the Central Executive Council to place the question of Conscription on the agenda or the Special Conference of Delegates to be held at Cardiff on January 24 next. Grants. A grant of 3 guineas was made towards the Cardiff Institute for the Blind, and a sum of £5 was voted to the South Wales and Mon- mouthshire Fund of the National Institute for the Blind.
Enginemen's Wages. SOUTH WALES DELEGATES AT COAL- I' OWNERS' CONFERENCE. A conference of the representatives of Lan- cashire and Cheshire coalowners, and represen- tatives of the Lancashire, Cheshire and South Wales Engineers and Boilermakers' Federation, was held oa Thursday of last week at the office of Sir Thomas R,atcliffe Ellis, coalowners' secretary, at Wigan, when it was decided to oontinue the present wages agreement with the colliery engimemen and boilermen for the period of the war. and afterwards a new agreement may be made, and, further that from the first making-up day in January next the stokers at collleries in Lancashire and Cheshire be con- ceded an eight hours working shift.