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New Left Review I/9, May-June 1961

Lawrence Daly

Elastic Conscience?

“even tom mann—the best of them—is rather fond of saying that he is dining with the Mayor”. Lenin’s caustic observation springs to mind when reading Arthur Horner’s Incorrigible Rebel. The fiery little Welsh miner, whose burning hatred of injustice led him from the Baptist Chapels into the Communist Party, gets a significant satisfaction from the congratulations of an Earl Attlee or the kudos of a National Coal Board. That he doesn’t attempt to conceal this is a measure of his honesty. Nevertheless, after fifty years activity in the British trade-union movement, his frankness is still constricted by fear of his own conclusions. A highly personal account of the struggles of the miners and their unions throughout that period, his story adds nothing of importance to the record. But the vivid descriptions of the conditions against which the miners were in constant revolt should enlighten those who wonder at our bitterness.

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Lawrence Daly, ‘Elastic Conscience?’, NLR I/9: £3

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