How Important Was The Governments Use Of Propaganda In Bringing The Strike To An Early end
The governments use of propaganda in bringing the strike to an early end was very important because the Britain was running out of coal rapidly so other countries such as India started producing there own supplies. This was good for Britain because if other countries had started to produce there own supplies that meant that they will be no need of the importing goods from Britain, so this way Britain will have money coming in which could result in poor living conditions. By April 1925, Baldwin put Britain back on the gold standard.
The pound was overvalued at $ 4. 86c, killing exports. Baldwin ordered a repeat of the Royal Commission ploy, setting up the Sir Herbert Samuel Commission, but the miners had seen all this before with the Sankey Report. There were no members from the Labour movement present. The miners for their part had three points, No wage cuts, No extension of hours and keep the national agreement over wage bargaining. The government wanted to end the subsidies paid to the coal industry. This meant the owners would cut pay.
Big mistake came at the start, Saturday May 1st 1926, when the MFGB handed over the power of negotiation to Citrine and the other ditherers at the TUC. Lines of communication were over extended. The delegates from the miners’ districts went back to their areas, leaving Cook to mind the shop in Russell Square. The TUC officials disregarded the miners’ wisdom that the employers would not negotiate. The miners knew their own bosses. The TUC did not. Moreover, the TUC had a patronising view of Cook.
Fred Bramley, the secretary of the TUC when Cook was elected to head up the MFGB called him “a raving, tearing Communist”. J H Thomas later said of the miners “They were not trade unionists in a proper sense and did not understand or very much care about what happened to the rest of the movement. The strike period started for real on the Sunday, when Winston Churchill, spoiling for the fight, engineered the Daily Mail incident. Churchill visited the editor, who needed little persuasion to publish a virulently anti union editorial.
The London print workers refused to print this, which suited the state fine, focusing attention on this supposed suppression of free speech. Throughout the strike, Churchill edited a government paper, the British Gazette. The British Gazette had 8 editions, rising from half a million on 5th May, to 2. 25M by the 12th. During the General Strike, the BBC took what ever came to them they didn’t care if it was the truth or if it wasn’t but most of it was all propaganda. However the lies of the British Gazette and the BBC had little impact on the strikers, however.
Overall the General Strike was a massive success, but it was lost by the TUC bureaucrats. Somewhere between 1. 5M to 2M workers came out on strike out of a total workforce of about 11. 8M. One of the major tactical errors of the TUC high command, and a factor in their effective sabotage of the strike, is that industry was divided up into five sectors: (1) Transport (2) Printing (3) Iron/ Steel / Chemicals. (4) Building. (5) Electricity and Gas. Each category would be brought out in a phased way, one after the other, rather than hit the system with everything on Day 1.
This doubt was created in borderline – overlap areas between trades. Many workers ignored the TUC directives, and operated ‘if in doubt – come out’ policies anyway, but the net effect of the TUC games spread confusion and ended the strike. At the end of the strike some people were still angry so security had to be tightened. In each town a ‘Council of Action’ or ‘Strike Committee’ was formed, often from members of the Trades Council. These gave out permits for foodstuffs to be moved. Many roads were picketed and almost all of the railway system shut down.
The state tried to keep transport moving, with scab buses driven by Oxbridge students or members of the Plus Four Brigade. (Plus Four – Minus Conscience) Buses had to have barbed wire round the engine and a cop riding next to the driver to try to deter attacks. Amateur attempts to run trains caused four deaths and 35 injuries through collisions. Overall it was very important for the government to use propaganda in bringing the strike to an early end because if they hadn’t done all of Britain would have suffered due to the General strike.
The reason for this is because other workers who didn’t work in the mine mill had also joined the miners in the strike so no goods were being produced by Britain for exporting to other countries, which meant Britain was loosing money so the government did what they did because they had to. If they didn’t Britain would have suffered greatly. What the government did may not be the right way of dealing with the problem but they had prevent Britain form “dying”.