22 AUGUST 1958, Page 6

rr IS ODD to think that as recently as five

years ago, the British Trade Union movement was looked up to with respectful admiration by all classes of the community, and all varieties of political opinion. Now, the TUC is coming to be regarded with mild amusement which will soon change, if it does not find some way to put its house in order, to contempt. The report of the General Council of the TUC on the London bus strike, with its revelations of the dissensions over strike policy, appears at an unpropitious moment: the moment that the busmen's leaders are trying to get the men to work to rule, against their union's advice, as a protest against the cuts in services which have had to be imposed because of the strike's effects—a nice essay in confused think- ing by the busmen's leaders. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Frank Cousins fares at Bourne- mouth next month, when an inquest is conducted into the whole ridiculous business. He has shown himself extremely adept in handling Congress in the past; and he has also been astute in taking public credit for Union victories while avoiding having his name too intimately linked with failures. And the impatience of delegates with what they feel to be the spinelessness of Sir Vincent Tewson will undoubtedly put many of those who would otherwise have no particular love for Mr. Cousins on his side. Yet it is hard to believe that a man whose union members have made such a mess of things in the past few months will be able to convince Congress that he comes before them as a potential saviour. We shall see.