22 FEBRUARY 1952, Page 3

The Miners' Due

Coal miners have to be singularly unreasonable or extra- ordinarily foolish before they forfeit the admiration and respect in which the general public normally holds them. But there are always a few miners who manage to achieve this feat. No doubt this week's prize for sheer silliness must go to Sir William Lawther, president of the National Union of Mineworkers, who, in announcing that the union will ask the Coal Board to suspend recruitment of Italian labour, has given as the reason for this request a remark by a Tory M.P. to the effect that miners object to Italians because miners' womenfolk find Italians unduly attractive. To give as the unplausible excuse for a wrong decision a facetious remark made by a person who has since apologised is to get pretty close to rock bottom. By such standards the action of certain South Wales miners' lodges in calling for a strike in protest against the abolition of workmen's fares on the buses, and for the abandon- ment of Saturday shifts in protest against cuts in the social services, looks almost reasonable. Perhaps there really are some South Wales miners who are so deeply impressed with the falling value of money that they wish to cling to the tangible benefits of cheap bus journeys and free spectacles. But it is much more likely that they simply do not realise that bus services and health services have to be subsidised out of the production of the people—including the South Wales miners. It is some comfort that the more responsible trade union leaders are condemning this industrial sabotage.