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The British Coal Strike


(The crimson invites all men in the University to submit signed communications of timely interest. It assumes no responsibility, however, for sentiments expressed under this head and reserves the right to exclude any whose publication would be palpably inappropriate.)

To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I am again assuming my self-appointed and totally obnoxious duty of correcting your very recent history, this time in connection with the British coal strike. In an editorial on this topic you said that Premier Lloyd George offered to submit the question under dispute to arbitration, but that the miners, contrary even to the advice of their leaders, refused. On the very face of it, from the newspaper reports that both sides were still open to negotiations the first part of the statement may be branded as false. Then besides, let me refer you to the truth: A report has actually been submitted on the coal industry; the trouble is that Lloyd George has consistently refused to act on it. I refer to the Sankey Report which may be found in the Nation for May 3, 1919.

It is the apparent conviction on your part and that of many others that in this strike wages play a minor part, that nationalization is the fundamental question, and that Great Britain a opposed to it. I grant that nationalization is probably the moving idea behind this strike, but insist that intelligent Britain does not stand wholly opposed to it in any form. The Sankey Report says, paragraph nine: "Even upon the evidence already given the present system of ownership and working in the coal industry stands condemned, and some other system must be substituted for it, either nationalization of a method of unification by national purchase and, or, by joint control."

Here, indeed, is sufficient evidence that the miners have some support for their demands. The trouble is that the government tried to soothe them, at the time and since, by mere wage raises, without even giving consideration to the fundamental questions which its own commission investigated and reported upon.

As to the question of the miners refusing the advice of their leaders, that is absurd. Robert Smillie has been a figure of national importance in England and always he has been in the miners' van, not tagging along behind trying to hold them back by the tall. EDWARD M.RUBIN '22.

OCTOBER 19, 1920.

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