appearance of the Eisteddfod bard, who taught at Capel Gomer Sunday School.(21) In industrial affairs he had often played a stormy role he had been one of the minority of miners' representatives who had declined to sign the settlement ending the 1898 stoppage, and had clashed violently with Sir W. T. Lewis himself.(22) But plitically he was conservative. His union voted by 23-10 against endorsing Hodge's candidature, and Williams intervened in the campaing on the grounds that the offical candidate of the Liberal Association should be accepted.(23) He defended himself on the charge of political blacklegism'. The attitude of leading miners' representatives turned the scale. The campaign was run by the Liberals on the traditional church and chapel' platform. Only faint echoes of the South African War were heard after the official nomination. In the event Hodge ran Aeron Thomas close, polling 3,853 votes against 4,276. There followed a torrent of recrimination and abuse in the press which almost brought the editor of Llais Llafur one of his frequent appearances in a libel case. The Labour Leader reviled the coal- master, moneylender, brewer and employer of women dockers,'(24) Aeron Thomas, with a brave artistic licence. Once again, the religious humbugs' had exploited fear of employment, credulity and greed.(25) John Williams in particular was much abused. The traditional excuse of over-confidence was also offered as an explanation for defeat. But to those who could look further afield, the emerging power of organized labour was a more significant portent than a temporary setback. In 1903 the secretary of Cardiff Liberal Association noted that Gower was lost to Labour ’.(26) For if Labour lost the battle in Gower in 1900, it ultimately won the campaign. The hysteria of the Boer War passed, while the threat to labour contained in the Taff Vale decision and the Glamorgan stop-day' verdict stirred even the S.W.M.F. to self defence. A Miners' Parliamentary Fund was set up in 1901, and in 1900 Labour (though not yet the Labour Party), far better organized by now, fought Gower again and won. Their candidate was none other than the erstwhile political blackleg', John Williams.(27) At this same general election, Hodge was returned for Gorton and in due course was to serve in the wartime coalition government. (28) The tinplate unions revived also under the impact of the Conciliation Board in 1904 Phillips was replaced as secretary of the Tin and Sheet Millmen.(29) Labour candidates, encouraged by recent successes at Swansea, made gains in many elections for local councils, Boards of Guardians and School Boards, particularly at Pontardulais. Until 1914, the process of change was slow in the Western valleys the population remained more homogeneous and less influenced by the ideologies of the new immigrants. Even so, in the year of the Khaki Election can be seen the emergence of a new pattern, which has survived personal recrimination, economic depression and cultural upheaval, down to our own time.
This text was generated automatically from the scanned page and has not been checked. Typical character accuracy is in excess of 99%, but this leaves one error per 100 characters.
The National Library of Wales has created and published this digital version of the journal under a licence granted by the publisher. The material it contains may be used for non-commercial purposes only while respecting the moral rights of the creators.