By B. J. McCormick (auth.)
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But the real trouble was that the only men who could call off the strike were now in gaol. The Secretary for Mines went down to Kent to see them accompanied by Mr Ebby Edwards, then the National President of the Miners' Union. Negotiations were re-opened and five days after the hearing an agreement was signed, in prison, between the colliery management and the Kent Miners' Union. Apart from some face-saving words, it gave the men what they wanted. Then the Secretary for Mines took a deputation to the Home Secretary asking for the immediate release of the three local officials.
A second possibility would have been to devalue in the hope of stimulating exports and reducing the rate at which adjustment would have had to be achieved in the staple trades. Devaluation would have been possible in the relatively prosperous world conditions of the twenties. But when the decision was made to fix the exchange rate it was decided to restore the pre-war parity. The policy that was adopted was compounded of hesitancy and uncertainty and the hope that the Americans would allow a domestic expansion sufficient to expand world trade and boost British exports.
In 1909 the Federation affiliated to the Labour Party. The miners were slow to change but their conversion hardened with time, and in the debacle of 1931 it was the miners who returned the bulk of the Labour MPs to Westminster. THE INTER-WAR YEARS, 1919-39 The problems of the coal industry during the inter-war years represented a continuation of the difficulties experienced before the war and intensified by lack of adjustment during the war. Before the war the industry was experiencing a rise in costs due to diminishing returns in the old coalfields.