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The Cynosure

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Of Action were federated into a regional council covering the important industrial area of the northeast, controlling the two coalfields and the ports and shipyards of the Tyne, Tees and Wear, with the great engineering and chemical works and the north-south traffic routes.

The councils suffered a great deal from lack of daily contact with the masses of strikers and most of the stirring and really effective actions were unorganized and spontaneous.


The Government's chief weapons were a great display of military force, police terrorism and heavy propaganda. Attempts to run the economy of the country were secondary to these. No newspapers appeared (though most newspaper offices published a few duplicated bulletins) until the government issued the British Gazette. Churchill was chief editor. The paper was published at a great loss. In Durham the paper was distributed by dropping copies from aircraft, a method reminiscent of war. In most localities copies were slipped into the letterbox of working-class houses at night. The B.B.C. however was the Cabinet's chief propaganda weapon.

The T.U.C. could have overcome any effects of the B.B.C. by holding a thousand or so meetings every day. Those were the days of open-air Labour propaganda and crowds would have quickly assembled. Instead the General Council discouraged meetings. "In common with my principal colleagues, I avoided speech-making and advised against mass meetings of strikers or sympathisers." (Clymes)

Printed propaganda for the strike had be prohibited by the T.U.C. ban on all printing, even the T.U.C.'s own Daily Herald coming under the ban. Local strike committees got around the ban by issuing cyclostyled bulletins. After a few days the General Council issued the British Worker in reply to Churchill's British Gazette.

In the House of Commons Sir John Simon, speaking as a lawyer, declared the General Strike to

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