Rowdy Meeting at Conisborough – Rival Anthems – Cheers for the King and Cook

January 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times January 14, 1927

Rowdy Meeting at Conisborough
Capt Matthews Faces the Communists
Rival Anthems
Cheers for the King and Cook

At the meeting held at the Church Hall, Conisborough on Wednesday, Capt Reynolds was unable to attend, owing to long-standing engagement. Mr F Ogley, J.P., of Conisborough, presided.

Throughout the meeting there were many interruptions, and to the finish feeling rang very high. Whilst Capt RW Matthews of Doncaster was speaking, the audience objected to his reference to Mr Joseph Jones, secretary of the Yorkshire Miners Association, and the meeting ended in disorder to the competitive singing of “God save the King” and the “Red Flag.”

Capt Ronald Matthews said that however satisfied the miners themselves were with their leadership in the past dispute, there was no doubt that if they had accepted the Royal Commission or the Samuel Memorandum they would have had far better terms than they had today.

There would not have been the misery and suffering. That dispute was not an industrial dispute, but a political coup engineered by a small minority of extremists in the miners ranks, with the sole object of enforcing nationalisation. They had the ballot box, and if they voted for nationalisation and obtain a majority, they would have it.

“It was purely a political stunt,” he added, “and the leaders of it were not safeguarding industry and the workers, but were paid to create in this country, through the misery and hardships which were bound to accrue, a revolutionary spirit.”

There a great many people present were very pleased with Mr A J Cook; he was their leader and they were loyal to him.” (Here, here.) In his visit to Russia Mr Cook had given the show a way. Not one single word was reportedly in any speech about the miners. The whole of it was about revolution and the spirit exist in the working class of this country. “Mr Cook is a British Lenin. I am more prepared to put my confidence into Mr Joseph Jones.

A voice: “What about the money from Russia,”

Voices: “We’ll not hear another word unless you shut up about that. He’s a traitor.”

“I hope,” said captain Matthews, “you are prepared to tell Mr Jones that. Mr Jones is on the right tack. He is going to root out communism in the coalfield, and it is up to every man and woman in this country to help Mr Jones in his work.

Voices: when we get in power we will send him to Russia.

Capt Matthews: you are insulting one of your best men. He ought to be ashamed of yourself. He is not right and honourable man, and a credit to his own class.

A voice: We are satisfied with our leaders.

Capt Matthews: I prefer Mr Jones to Mr Cook

the meeting at this point broke into uproar, and shouts of “shut up!” “Pull him down?” “Let us go out,” were heard. A red handkerchief was produced and the majority of the audience commenced singing the “Red Flag.”

Captain Matthews stood on the platform and commencing in the “National anthem,” and was followed by the rest of the audience. This was continued for about five minutes. At the finish captain Matthew last for three Cheers for “The King,” followed by three Cheers for Prince of Wales. At the same time “three cheers for Cook” were demanded.

The room clear to the refrain of the “Red Flag,” and Cheers for cook. When all was quite captain Matthew set to the rest of his audience: “Shall we sing the first verse of God save the King, to take the taste out of our mouths?”

The Anthem was sung and captain Matthews continued his speech. It appeared, he said, that free speech in England had gone. The Conservatives were tried in the interests of the workers to reach a higher standard in the industrial world.

The object of extremists in this country had failed, and there were now trying to get at England through China. If they were successful then our cotton Mills would either closedown or work short time, more will be unemployed, and more misery and hardship would follow. He wanted every man and woman to try and raise the standard of every industry in the country.