From GDP/52 GF

GF (1901-1982) was a young barrister in London in 1926. Here, he expresses his fears as to the significance of the beginning of the General Strike.

3 May 1926

Complete breakdown of all negotiations. The Government refuses to proceed until the threat of the General Strike was withdrawn. They are right, but are they wise? Still one must support them in whatever they do. The alternative is too appalling.

Apparently Baldwin learnt last night while the negotiations were proceeding that certain “Overt Acts” had already taken place, ant this decided him. The said “Acts” were of the Daily Mail printers who refused to print the paper unless the leading article entitled “For King and Country” were altered. The Editor refused. The Daily Mail did not appear this morning in London. But the Manchester printers printed it and some copies found their way to London this Evening. I managed to get one and paste here a copy of the offending article.

[article pasted into diary]

Most of the evening papers had to stop this evening owing to the refusal of their printers to include news as to the necessity of volunteers for Government service which is going on extensively in Whitehall.

The situation looks serious. I think there is no hope of a strike being averted. It will take place to-night. My conviction is (a) that those in ostensible control are not in real control and (b) that those in real control don’t [sic] want peace.

In Chambers few if any agree with me as to the dangers of seriousness of the situation. They display an insouciance and irresponsibility worthy of the best traditions of the French aristocracy on the eve of the Revolution. In fact they are fools.

Nobody will face what this may well lead to.

Revolutionary psychology is in the air. It may fizzle out but it is there at present, definite and widespread.