once in a score of years a trade union conference expressed the mood of the workers. For the General Strike - 3,653,527; against - 49,911; unable to reply in time - 319,000. The executives rose and sang the "Red Flag" and left the gloomy old hall for the sunshine of the streets, to mingle with the greatest May Day demonstration London had ever seen. Strange though it seems, the T.U.C. leaders immediately resumed their begging perambulations to Down Street. While still trying to avert the strike they were suddenly horrified to learn the fight had already started. Late on Sunday night, May 2nd, the leaders of the miners and the T.U.C. were meeting the full cabinet at Downing Street when the news of the first skirmish reached them. The Daily Mail was about to appear with a particularly vicious anti-strike article. The type had already been set and moulded, the machinists set up the proof copies run off. When the machinists read the bitter words of editorial hatred of the workers the machines stopped, the Natsopa chapel met and quickly decided to tell the management to delete the leader if they wanted their paper. All other departments met and decided to back the machine room. Monday, May 3rd and no Daily Mail appeared.
UNWILLING TO WAR
When Baldwin heard the news he jumped up from the table and ended the negotiations. The T.U.C. leaders still groveled to avoid the fight. Said one of the most prominent of them:
"With other union leaders, I sought an interview with the Prime Minister and his colleagues in a last-minute effort to show that the compositors' strike was isolated and unofficial, without our approval, and to plead, almost on our knees, for a less cruel arbitrament than he was forcing upon - an open fight between the workers and the Cabinet. But the Cabinet had left No. 10, and the place was deserted save by a single sleepy attendant." - Memoirs of J. R. Clynet.
Think of it - a general repudiating his soldiers on the eve of battle and condemning them for being ready to fight!
In the House of Commons the groveling went