From Our Special Correspondent
The wild scenes which took place during the course of the Amalgamated Engineering Union's mass meeting at Barrow-inFurness caused no surprise to a fairly large part of those assembled. For it was significant that although the meeting was called simply to discuss business, the only Executive Council member present was Mr. J. C. Little, National President of the A.E.U., who recently returned from Government Spain, where he had gone at the invitation of Seilor Negrin, President of the Spanish Government.
Catholic members of the A.E.U. were well aware of Mr. Little's rabidly antiFranco views which, intolerant enough before he went to Spain, now surpass all understanding.
It was no compliment to the position of a National President that later in the meeting the Catholics moved against him as an undivided body.
The meeting commenced quietly enough; indeed, it would have been dull for the ordinary spectator had there not been whispers that something was going to happen.
The report on the composite conference (Employers' Federation of A.E.U. Executive Representatives), which was read by Mr. Rhodes, the divisional organiser, was concluded almost in silence.
As Mr. Rhodes sat down the chairman, Mr. Herdman, rose to introduce Mr. Little. He said that the latter would speak on
Spain. This announcement was greeted with muttered sounds and a mild ovation from a number of Red Spain's keenest supporters.
As yet there was no sign of a row, and Mr. Little made a few preliminary remarks in reference to the advertised business of the meeting. These he concluded with the words " AND NOW—SPAIN!"
Uproar Immediately all attention was withdrawn from the speaker, for no sooner had the word Spain been uttered than a Mr. Hugh Magee, a Catholic and life-long trade unionist, leapt to his feet and strongly pro
tested, amid an increasing uproar, against the proposed speech on the grounds that: (1) Spain was not on the agenda. (2) the meeting was called to discuss trades matters and not political affairs.
Hereupon supporters of Red Spain attempted with much noise to shout Mr. Magee down, but he, apparently oblivious of every sound but his own voice, stood firm and continued speaking.
As the clamour subsided his voice was heard saying:
" This talking about Spain has become a disease, the only antidote for which is to do something about our own distressed areas."
Help Needed at Home More uproar followed, after which Magee let fly a shaft which went home to all his hearers, who were now composed of nearly the entire meeting, only a few of the usual untulics keeping up a din.
His reference was to the union's proposal to raise £50,000 for the Spanish Reds by a voluntary levy of all members.
The anomaly of this, Mr. Magee pointed out, was obvious to those who knew of the many members of their own union who were in distress and dependent on the generosity of fellow members, who generously responded when the hat was passed round privately on their behalf.
Mr. Magee concluded by remarking that if their president was allowed to speak on Spain he, as a trade unionist, would be compelled to leave the meeting.
Mr. Magee was supported in this speech by Mr. Porter and a number of others.
Eventually a resolution was passed that Mr. Little be allowed to give his speech on Spain, whereupon Catholic members of the union and others rose in a body and walked out of the meeting.
Bombs in China
The Pope has asked the Japanese Government to spare non-combatants as far as possible in air raids in China. It is stated that assurance has been given that the Pontiff's appeal will receive every consideration.
Spanish Bombing—page 9