Haldane: The Life of Viscount Haldane of Cloan, K.T., O.M

By Frederick Maurice | Go to book overview

Chapter IX
LAST YEARS 1927 to 1928

Parliament met for the spring session of 1927 with a general desire to forget the past and promote industrial peace, though there were a few of the Conservative right wing who wished to make the most of the defeat of Labour in the General Strike. It happened that one member of that group drew a lucky number in the ballot for private members motions, and on February 18 he moved the second reading of a Bill to make it illegal for trades unions or their members to invite or accept funds from foreign sources. The Government left the motion to a free vote of the House but put up the Home Secretary, Sir Joynson-Hicks, to oppose it. The Home Secretary said that the Government drew a sharp distinction between strikes for political and for industrial objects, and that if this motion were accepted they would be justifying the accusation brought by the Labour Party that Conservatives were the enemies of the trades unions and meant to strike a blow at their existence. It was, he said, the declared policy of the Conservative Party to do nothing to hamper the industrial development of trades unions.

The next day Haldane wrote to his sister: 'I was in the gallery of the Commons yesterday more by chance than by design. I went there to talk with a couple of people about the Institute of Adult Education. As we agreed, I have now to give up some things, and I am looking for a successor as President. I stayed to listen to an attack on Trades Unions by a

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