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Wellington Journal & Shrewsbury News, September 30, 1911
The Miner's Ideal.

 

It must have been exceedingly gratifying to all concerned to recognise the note of harmony and the spirit of good-fellowship that prevailed among the Shropshire miners assembled at Oakengates on Monday. All their erstwhile bickerings and disputes, to which we had become so accustomed, appeared forgotten or lulled to rest for the moment, and good-natured badinage was exchanged where good-natured words had hitherto unfortunately been too uncommon. This was as it should be, for the gathering was designedly of a convivial character and one from which all exhibition of petty wrangling was properly excluded. The sight of a thousand miners sitting down together in comradeship to an appetising collation is something seldom witnessed in the county; but so successful were Monday's proceedings that these gatherings promise to recur at frequent intervals in the future.

The function was not limited to the satisfying of the gastronomic appetite, for there was also a mental feast provided for the men in the form of an encouraging address from Mr. Enoch Edwards, M.P., the president of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. What Mr. Edwards does not know about miners, their rights and wrongs, may be regarded as of little moment; what he does know is of the first importance, and what he told the men on Monday should prove of the greatest value to them. He incidentally instanced what the Miners' Federation had succeeded in persuading successive Governments to do for them, particularly in the matter of alterations of hours and conditions of labour to compensate the men more adequately for the many disadvantages they suffer by the nature of their work.

He summed up the objects of the Miners' Federation as on attempt to make the motherland, so far as the miners were concerned, a happier, nobler, and better place to live in. And in that attempt, he said, he could not conceive anything which should cause them to falter, as they were seeking not the ruin or destruction of anybody, but that the men who risked all that they had for the good of the country should, with their wives and families, be well and amply fed. An address so broadminded as was that of the president of the federation, so fair both to employer and employed, should go a long way towards stamping out the bitterness that has of late years been engendered in some quarters in the dealings between masters and men, and which has been at the root of most of the misunderstandings that unfortunately have arisen in the past.

 


Submitted by Steve Dewhirst

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