'Sheer Humbug' The Freedom of the Press and the General Strike

Crompton, Gerald W. (2001) 'Sheer Humbug' The Freedom of the Press and the General Strike. Twentieth Century British History, 12 (1). pp. 46-68. ISSN 1477-4674 . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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In the General Strike of May 1926 the TUC included the print workers in its strike call, and thereby upset even some supporters. It was often denounced as an attack on the ‘Freedom of the Press’. The TUC rejected this accusation but found it embarrassing. It was primarily concerned with establishing a monopoly over strike propaganda. This article examines the extent to which publication was affected. It shows that although many papers overcame the obstacles, their scale, quality, and capacity to report events were severely damaged. Controversies over the strike within the printers' and journalists' unions are examined—as is the broader debate about TUC strategy and the freedom issue among such contemporaries as Mellor, Paul, Cole, and Martin. It is argued that the two latter misjudged the possibility of winning middle class support by allowing some, or all, of the press to publish. The article concludes that the press strike was justified and reduced the effectiveness of anti-strike propaganda. The TUC's policy, however, was restrictive in narrowing the scope of controversy and discouraging publication of leaflets by local strike committees. Suppression of these under the Emergency Regulations was actually the worst infringement of freedom of publication that occurred.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > Kent Business School
Depositing User: G.W. Crompton
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2008 12:51
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 11:38
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/10363 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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