Maoriland Worker, Volume 12, Issue 226, 4 May 1921, Page 5
By GEORGE LANSBURY
Robert Smillie has resigned the Presidency of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain. This is very bad news, not only for tb*e miners, but lor the Labor and Socialist movement throughout the wide world.
Whatever the causes which have led to his resignation, whether bad health or the weariness of age or any other reason, his leaving at this moment is a tremendous loss. He is goring at a time when the courage and endurance of his class are going to be tried ,as never before. It will be well for the miners if they are able to replace him by as "bonny a fighter" and as good a man. For now ,more than ever, the movement needs men who are not afraid to speak their thoughts out loud and whom neither place nor power, flattery nor abuse can turn aside.
Nobody, man or woman, in our day has served the "working class more courageously or .with a more disinterested devotion to a great ideal than has Robert Smillie.
The industrial history of the past 25 years bears the stamp of nib worth and work. From the age of 14 to the present day, when he is in his sixty-second year, he has been a worker —first in a shipyard, then in the mines, and lastly above ground toiling day and night to serv«, not himself, but the class from which he oame. He and his wife have been satisfied to remain in the working class and of the working class. Their home at Larkhall is just a workman's home; their little cottage at which they stayed in the country when on holiday was a laborer's cottage. It matters not what salary he was paid, he just remained what he had always been—one of the toilers. It is this which, in my judgment, stamps him as one of the biggest men of our time; for him and his wife the sort ot atmosphere which gets around some of us and which declasses many of us, had no charms.
The fact that he was an absolute lailure as a Parliamentary candidate is just as well, for in these days to get into Parliament means a great deal of subordination of oneself and one's views of life. No one for a moment imagines that either a Labor candidate or a Labor member is not a worthy person, but we are not all built the same way, and Robert Smillle is built of the sort of mat terial that knows , not compromise either in word or deed —unless the ■compromise is proclaimed and everybody made to understand the reason why.
He has left the Federation. lie will take away with him the memory of work well done and the good wishes of every member of the Federation. And for us who are and know him only as a friend and comrade, we can only hope and pray that he and his good wife have yet many years to give to the service of the cause. We want him in one way or the other as a leader, and as an inspirer. We want him to stand with us in these days and help each one to stand four square in the fight for truth and righ;t. —"Daily Herald."