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Threat Of National Rail , Stoppage N.Z.P.A. Special Correspondent Rec. 11 a.m. LONDON, July 31. Once again in Britain there is that rather indefinable atmosphere of events being on the march. Three months between VE day and the announcement of the election result saw a period when tne pervading feeling was not so much one of drift as uncertainty regarding, the future, coupled with the desire of the nation to rest on its oars for a breathing spell. Now with the political revolution having placed the new Government'in power there is an air of expectancy which can be felt on all sides. It is true that there is something approaching alarm and despondency among those sections which hoped for the return of Mr. Churchill and the National Government, but, if anything, this tends to heighten tne prevailing atmosphere.

Chief interest now centres on the King's Speech on August 15 and the four-day debate thereon, which will follow before the House adjourns on August 24 for a short recess. This will last about four or five weeks, and after that the House of Commons will set about the real business of the session. Labour's fiveyear plan is expected to be sketched in the King's Speech. Mr. Herbert Morrison, Lord President of the Council, and Mr. Arthur Greenwood, Lord Privy Sea), who are both free of Departmental duties, will be the architects of this plan and the first session of the new Government is expected to be a very busy one.

No Longer Trade Union Ridden

One point which is being emphasised in Labour circles is that the party is no longer trade union ridden. Although the largest number of members is supplied by trade unionists, the professions are strongly represented, particularly the legal profession. There are also a number of journalists, doctors and teachers. Many new Labour members, though without Parliamentary experience, have experience in local government work. While many company directors have been thinned out of the House the Government can claim as supporters between 20 and 30 businessmen, several farmers, accountants and consulting engineers. Though the Stock Exchange slumped at the news of the Labour victory, rallied, and then fell again on the postponement of the Kings Speech, it seems plain that tne Labour victory caused neither panic nor undue apprehension in the financial world. Further adjustment may be expected after the King's Speech and when more is known of the Government's concrete proposals.

New Government's First Test

To-day Britain's traditional summer holiday is in full swing and it will reach the peak during next week-end, which is the August bank holiday. Here, perhaps, may be the first test of the new Government, for there is a threat of a national railway stoppage. To-day a meeting is taking place between representatives of the four main railway companies and railway urvens which is the culmination of talks begun on May 17 on the men s national programme for higher wa.sres, a 40-hour week, sick pay and a sruaranteed week for railv.vy shopmen. The principal wage ' laim is for a minimum of £4 10/ a week. The engineers demand £5 14/, rising to £6 12/ and firemen £4 10/, rising to £5 8/. Unofficial strikes occurred last week-end in the Manchester and Liverpool districts and suggestions were made of the possibility of a national strike unless the men were satisfied with the result of to-day's meeting ~ . .. Mr. J. E. Binks, president of the National Union of Railwaymen, has stated: "The last thing we want is trouble this holiday week-end, vve intend -making every effort to g;';t the men to work a norma i weekend service." Both the men and the unions want to see-the nationalisation of railways brought to the forefront of the Labour Govern ment s programme.

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Bibliographic details

EVENTS ON THE MARCH IN BRITAIN, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 180, 1 August 1945

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EVENTS ON THE MARCH IN BRITAIN Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 180, 1 August 1945

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