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Ernest Bevin

The 61st Trades Union Congress


Ben Tillett's Day Out

 The 1929 Annual Congress of the T.U.C. was held this year at Belfast under the chairmanship of Mr. Ben Tillett, M.P.

 What decided the choice of Belfast, we do not know. That Belfast is far enough away to preclude the embarrassing presence of embittered workers from the mining and cotton districts is fairly certain. Windy platitudes, therefore, had free play.

 Mr. Tillett’s presidential address was received by the Press with more than the usual flattery that is doled out to the trade union and Labour leader.

Trade Unions and the State

Trade Unions today are respectable organisations. Their leaders move in lofty circles, both nationally and internationally, and sit on royal commissions and boards of major charities. Unions, too, are to some extent partners with employers in the management of production, and are consulted to varying degrees by governments who need their advice and cooperation. But this situation is fairly recent: less than fifty years ago, union involvement with government was minimal. It is only just over a century since unions achieved any adequate legal status, and fifty years before that they were actually illegal.

Obituary: Jim Flowers

It is with great sorrow that we report the death on 10 March of Bristol comrade Jim Flowers following a stroke.

Jim was politically active right up until his death, attending meetings and following up his well known correspondence with the local press. He joined The Socialist Party in 1936 and for several decades was a well known figure on Durdham Downs, where he struggled to keep alive the ideas of socialism.

Jim had a secular upbringing from which he never strayed. His father, who refused a CBE, was a co-founder of the TGWU along with Ernest Bevin. He was a trade unionist the whole of his working life and, when a local newspaper report referred to Jim as the draughtsmen’s leader in a DATA strike at the British Aircraft Corporation, he promptly wrote in to point out that he was merely their representative. Of his early experience in the Labour Party Jim said he always thought there was something wrong because there were so many parsons in it.

Editorial: Cripps and the Labour Party

Political  groups are nowadays two-a-penny. Facing the Tories, National Liberals and National Labour Party, which make up the Chamberlain Government are the opposition Liberals, the Labour Party and its affiliated parties, the Co-operative Party, the I.L.P. and the Communists. Then there is Lloyd George’s Council of Action, the Labour Co-operative joint campaign, the Churchill-Sandys-Atholl  'Hundred Thousand' movement, and the latest addition, the Cripps' Manifesto for an alliance of all genuine friends of democracy and opponents of the Chamberlain Government. Sir Stafford Cripps argues that if all the genuine friends of democracy got together, they would be numerous enough to defeat Chamberlain at the next election, but lots of genuine friends have lost no time in telling Cripps that he is a disruptionist, and they will have none of him and his movement.

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