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Vol. 13, 1960

The 'Khaki Election' in Gower

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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 An exception has occured

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