SIR,-A lie is always a sin and nothing can make it lawful, not even the industrial column of the "Catholic Herald" written by Hugh Kay.
I stated in my letter to the CATHOLIC HERALD "that Jim Slater is also being backed by the ten thousand Catholic seamen who ship out of the Port of Liverpool. But Mr. Kay states in his reply to my letter, "If there are 10,000 seamen in Liverpool (in some sense). they are certainly not all Catholics". But the late Jim Scott at the 1961 A.G.M. of the N.U.S. gave the figure at 22,000. So. therefore. I think I gave a very conservative figure.
As "Industrial Correspondent". Mr. Kay should really check his facts, especially as he is writing for a Catholic paper.
Mr. Kay also doubts whether we have 10,000 members in the Reform Movement, but at the same A.G.M. Mr. ,Scott mentions the figure of 14,000. Please, Mr. Editor. ask your Mr. Kay to get himself a copy and get with us.
He then comes out with the stupid statement, "how I know what is going on in the minds of 10,000 seamen scattered all over the globe." I never made this statement, but it does remind me of a poem I learned in Waterford many years ago by Kipling, "If you can hear the words you've spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools"!
Another bit Of information for Mr. Kay: before the late Jim Scott was elected General Secretary I met him in London and I informed him that the Reform Movement were going to vote for him. He thanked me and when the vote was counted be received the biggest vote ever recorded in the history of the N.U.S.
According to Mr. Kay we are receiving money from a lot of sources, but your readers may like to know that we are in the red to the tune of £1,000. We have never received as much as a penny piece from the "Australian Seamen's Union". Regarding the Canadian branch of the S.I.U. we never denied receiving cash from them during the strike, when we won the 44-hour-week for British seamen and also got them an in(Tease in wages.
In case your readers don't know who the Canadian S.I.U. are, they are the right wing Seamen's Union who took over when the Communist Canadian Seamen's Union was crushed in 1949. Let Mr. Kay explain this away, But in place of leaving well alone he drops his greatest clanger in his last paragraph when he says he doesn't know what Mr. Rowe means by his assertion that Mr. Hogarth was supported for his present job by the Reform Movement.
Mr. Hogarth was not elected to his position by ballot but was elected by delegates to the last
A.G.M. At this meeting we had twenty Reform Movement delegates, and at our meeting held the night before at the London Hospital Tavern we decided to back Hogarth. He was informed of this decision before he went into Maritime House the next day.
Among seamen this is common knowledge, but apparently Mr. Kay is out of touch, so to keep him informed for the future T have put him on our mailing list for future copies of our paper FO'C'STLE.
Chairman. National Seamen's Reform Movement.
HUGH KAY COMMENTS:
No one with any spirit could fail to enjoy a tussle with Paddy Neary. Having called me a liar and a twister, he won't mind if I call him a likeable old fraud. His references to sin, the honour of the Catholic press, and Waterford arc not lost on me, though I wonder by what peculiar alchemy an Irishman became such an enthusiast for Kipling! We might argue it out over a pint some time. Meantime, here are one or two retorts to Paddy's latest broadside: I. ASK ANY SEAMAN how many of his colleagues ship out of Liverpool, and he will tell you that it varies enormously from day to day. A Liverpool man may sail from his home port today. from Southampton next lime, and from Glasgow the time after. Mr. Neary's reckoning is meaningless. In his original letter he was pulling a fast one by seeming to assert certain knowledge that (a) 10,000 Catholics regularly sail from Liverpool, and (h) they all support Jim Slater. The latter assertion was surely turned into a nonsense by the letters from some of the alleged 10,000 which we published in last week's CATHOLIC HERALD.
2. IT IS A LITTLE ODD that, when it comes to assessing the strength of his own movement, Mr. Neary offers no estimate himself, but merely quotes the late Jim Scott, who was not a member.
3. HOWEVER MUCH the "Reformers" backed Jim Scott for the election, they certainly made war on him when he was in office, and he certainly made war on them.
4. I HAVE NEVER said that the Reform Movement has received money from the Australian seamen. I did say, and there is abundant evidence of it, that the Australian seamen have collected a few thousand pounds on behalf of the Reform Movement here. The puzzle is that no one seems
to be in a position to say what has become of this money.
5. CERTAINLY the Canadian S.I.U. is a non-Communist union. But it is a branch of an American union whose policy may deprive British shipping of contracts.
Ibis union has forced the American seamen's pay packet up to a highly inflationary level. It also forces American shipowners to carry 50 per cent. American crews.
The only way it can justify itself to the American employers and to
foreign seamen is by campaigning for shipowners in other countries to pay their seamen wages comparable to the American rates. It is campaigning hard to this end in a number of European countries.
Its approach has no regard to the needs and problems of local economies, nor to the fact that inflationary wages will drive some shipping companies to price themselves out of the world market. In this context, Britain is exceptionally vulnerable.
That the Reform Movement should tie itself up with a body whose policy may put British seamen out of work is surely a clear sign of irresponsibility. Right-minded members of the N.U.S. are very conscious of this, and very bitter about it.
6. J AM WELL AWARE that Mr. Hogarth was elected by A.G.M. delegates and not by national ballot. This is precisely the reason why Mr. Neary had no right, in his original letter, to give the impression that the Reform Movement's internal arrangements in regard to the Hogarth election could be in any way compared to the national campaign, more appropriate to a national ballot, which they are now waging for Slater. In any case, once Hogarth was in, the Reform Movement sharply turned on him, just as they did on Scott.
'7. LET ME ADD that, In the election for the assistant general secretary, Mr. Hogarth had only three rivals. Not one of them was pro-Reform Movement, any more than he was, The Movement had to vote for someone, and they doubtless chose Mr. Hogarth because, like him, most of the London Hospital Tavern assembly were Londoners. A further reason may have been that at least one of his rivals was the sort of man likely to show less finesse than Mr. Hogarth in his attitude towards unofficial elements.
8. I AM ALSO bound to ask how many of the London Hospital Tavern gathering were really Reform Movement membersMovement meetings often attract non-members-and why it is that hardly anyone at the N.U.S. annual general meeting seemed to want to admit to Reform Movement membership. What were the 20 delegates up to?