Cricket Council call off tour ‘with deep regret’

Today The Times reports the announcement that the South African cricket tour has been called off – a triumph for the Stop The Seventy Tour movement:

The Cricket Council yesterday cancelled at the Government’s request the South African’s cricket tour. A statement said that the council withdrew their invitation ” with deep regret “. African and Asian countries which had threatened to boycott the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh in July if the tour went on are now expected to attend.

A barrister said he would launch a private prosecution at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court next week against Mr. Peter Hain, chairman of the Stop The Seventy Tour Committee, accusing him of seditious conspiracy.

The Cricket Council last night Called off the South Africans’ tour this summer. After a meeting at Lord’s lasting 90 minutes, Mr S C Griffith, secretary of the council, read out a statement. It said that the council had considered “the formal request from her Majesty’s Government to withdraw the invitation to the South African touring team this summer”, adding:- ” With deep regret the council were of the opinion that they had no alternative but to accede to this request and they are informing the South African Cricket Association accordingly.”

The council was grateful for the overwhelming support of cricketers, cricket lovers and many others, and shared their disappointment at the cancellation of the tour.  At the same time it regretted the “discourtesy” to the South African Cricket Association and the inconvenience caused to so many people.

“The council see no reason to repeat the arguments to which they still adhere, which led them to sustain the invitation to the South African cricketers issued four years ago”, the statement said. ” They do, however, deplore the activities of those who, by the intimidation of individual cricketers and threats of violent disruption have inflamed the whole issue.”

The meeting was attended by 25 of the council’s 29 members, including Colin Cowdrey, the England Test player. No vote was taken on the decision. Mr. Griffith read out the text of a terse letter sent to Mr. Callaghan, Home Secretary, who on Thursday met the council’s officials and asked them to cancel the tour.

The letter said: ” The Cricket Council today considered the formal request of her Majesty’s Government to withdraw their invitation to the South African Cricket Association to tour the United Kingdom in 1970 contained in your letter of May 21 1970. “The council were of the opinion that they had no alternative but to accede to the request and are informing the South African Cricket Association accordingly.” It was signed by Maurice Allom, chairman of the Cricket Council. Mr. Griffith, who met the press in the Long Room at Lord’s, invited questions but was reluctant to enlarge on the feeling of the council about its decision. […] When the name of Mr. Peter Hain, chairman of the Stop the Seventy Tour Committee, was mentioned Mr. Griffith said quietly: “I am not the faintest bit interested.” More than 500 telegrams, nearly all in support of the council’s decision to go ahead with the tour arrived at Lord’s yesterday.

Instead of the Test matches against South Africa England will now play five matches against a Rest of the World team. The council hopes to recoup some of the revenue lost from the tour. Mr. Griffith estimated that in normal circumstances the South African tour would have produced a profit of about £200,000. He could make no estimate of the cost of defences put up at the grounds due for matches but said that although they were quite expensive they were not astronomical. […]

Mr. Quintin Hogg last night blamed Mr. Callaghan and Mr. Wilson for bowing to threats and yielding to blackmail over the South Africans’ cricket tour. The cancellation, he said, came because of persons who threatened extra-legal action to disrupt perfectly lawful activity and resorted to bullying for the purpose of imposing their decision upon an independent body of sportsmen. The decision by the Cricket Council was taken under duress, Mr. Hogg said. It was a sad day for British freedom. He accused Mr. Wilson of deliberately encouraging the threats and being ” responsible in part for the situation out of which he has now sought to dodge. ” The whole operation is a classic illustration of the inability of this Government to preserve freedom in this country, or to maintain law and order ”

Mr. Peter Hain, chairman of the Stop the Seventy Tour Committee, said it was extremely courageous of the Government in acting to pull the situation out of an entrenched position. “I would hope the Conservative Party will come out in support of the Labour Party in these circumstances.” He described it not as a backing down for British cricket but an advance to a situation where racialism would be rejected in international sport.

Mr. Dennis Brutus, president of the South African Non-Racial Open Committee for the Olympic Games, said: “The way is open to real progress towards non-racial cricket in South Africa.” Mr. Jeff Crawford. secretary of the West Indian Standing Conference, commented: “I would hope that the momentum we have gained for the fight against racialism will go on in Britain.”

The Bishop of Woolwich the Right Rev. David Sheppard, Mr. Reginald Prentice and Sir Edward Boyle, of the Fair Cricket Campaign, said: ” This wise decision is a victory for reason. It is not a surrender to intimidation or blackmail. By its decision the Cricket Council has committed itself firmly to the principle of non-racial cricket in the future.”

Internationally the decision had immediate repercussions. All 12 African countries will now take part in the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. Officials there were jubilant at news of the cancellation. Within British cricket there were some strong comments. Mr. J. C. Clay, president of Glamorgan County Cricket Club, said: “It is a sad day for English cricket and England when a combination of polities and rowdies can blackmail two harmless sets of cricketers playing their own game”‘ Mr. C. R. Yeomans, chairman of the Council of Cricket Societies said in Leeds: “The Government,  not the Cricket Council, have capitulated to anarchy.” […]

Mr. Francis Bennion, a barrister, of Warlingham, Surrey, said yesterday he would launch a prosecution at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday against Mr Peter Hain, chairman of the Stop the Seventy Tour Committee, accusing him of seditious conspiracy. Mr. Bennion said he would do so “‘under provisions of the criminal law which make it seditious to conspire to provoke tumult and disorder in furtherance of any object, to promote breaches of contract and acts of trespass, and to insult or annoy law-abiding people”

Old Chancellors Cast Long Shadows

Old Chancellors Cast Long Shadows went on sale today in the Students Union and elsewhere. The 20-page booklet, priced at 1s 6d, has been financed and published by the Guild of Undergraduates and documents the results of research which examined Lord Salisbury’s political views and his business connections in Africa.

The document has grown out of the occupation of Senate House between 9th and 20th March. It attempts to analyse, in some greater depth, the facts behind the first two demands of the occupying students, namely:

  1. That the University disassociate itself from the racialist views of Lord Salisbury and that Council call for his immediate resignation as Chancellor.
  2. That the University reveal where its investments lie.

Read the full text  here.

Now is the reckoning

This is the editorial, written by Ian Rathbone, in the issue of Guild Gazette which appeared today, the second day of the Senate House occupation, though it had been written several days earlier (the last paragraph, though, looks like a stop-press addition):

The collapse of’ Guild Government and the extnction of the system which has been ailing for some years has apparently been resolved by the university authorities stepping in. Not only stepping however, but stamping as well, on the wishes of students and their attempts to deal with a situation which concerns mem, and them alone.

The facts are quite disconcerting – a Committee of Six responsible people, elected by a general meeting of 1,500 students and then ratified by a second meeting of 900 students, has been totally ignored by the university who have simply said “well, you nave been naughty boys, you’ve had your fun, now get back to what you were doing before”. We are being forced to elect an Executive to continue to prop up a structure which has shown itself incapable of functioning efficiently as a means of students running their own affairs or even representing their opinion. Even those in prominent positions last year recognised this and tried to institute an alternative, viable structure but Guild Council obstinately refused to see reason.

There are other issues which have been obscured by the resignation of the previous Executive, which not only precipitated their downfall but have also been ignored by the University. The invitation of Lord Salisbury to Guild Ball by that Executive caused not only that Executive’s resignation but a sit-in in protest, a petition of 1,000 signatories and a picket of Senate House, yet the University has failed to make any public comment on the position of Lord Salisbury until more direct action has been threatened.

In connection with the issue of racialism, we are still left in the dark as to what investments this University and Union hold in South Africa and Rhodesia, thus maintaining these apartheid regimes. The University has ridden rough shod over student demands to be informed of the situation, and it is hoped that the Vice Chancellor will give satisfactory answers to these issues and prevent direct action on the part of students which which only further serve to show the chasm between the students and the administration (this is written before Monday).

There are genuine worries amongst students over the question of secret files being kept by Universities on students’ political and religious activities.  There is the moral aspect of whether there should be files, bringing the ‘Big Brother’ of Orwell’s 1984 considerably closer, but also the nastier aspect of whether this information is being given to ‘Big Business’. Connected with this is the whole question of the extent of the influence of Big Business in the University, the evidence of which seems considerable.

Of course, the national politicians have been making much ‘fodder’ of these issues recently, particularly the last two, and cashing in on the general dislike of students to create for themselves an audience. Vice Chancellors have been accused of ‘cringing before student anarchy’ and law and order, an old meaningless vote catcher, invoked to beat both students and University authorities. Yet the authorities have far from allowed students to get their own way and the last thing any of us want is anarchy.

A plain and simple answer to the issues outlined is required and it is to be hoped that this is what will be given. This is democracy, not dictatorship.  We have a right to know what is happening in this University and in the end, a right to play an essential role in its government as a participant.

The Vice Chancellor has failed to satisfy student demands on all counts and must now accept the occupation as a failure to communicate with his students. For the first time in years students at this University have shaken out of their apathy and stood up for what they believe is right.

Letter to the Times from Lord Salisbury

The Times today has this letter from Lord Salisbury, in which he draws on the recent letter from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors to the President of NUS as justification for his continuing as Chancellor of Liverpool University.  Trevor Thomas utilised this argument in his address to meeting in Mountford hall just prior to the occupation on March 9:

Sir

It is reported in your issue of March 3 that Sir Derman Christopherson, chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, has reaffirmed, in a letter to the National Union of Students, that “the political opinions and affiliations of students and staff are no business of a university.”

Might I, as Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, humbly submit that the same privilege should properly be extended also to Chancellors.

Yours faithfully

Salisbury

House of Lords

City students accept V-C’s terms for meeting

This morning the Liverpool Daily Post carries a detailed report of yesterday’s tense meetings and negotiations, which came close to an occupation of Senate House. The Post reporter concludes with a quote from a speaker at yesterday’s mass meeting which crisply draws together the various strands of protest that have merged to produce the current highly charged political atmosphere:

Students at Liverpool University who demanded a showdown meeting with Mr Trevor Thomas, the new Vice-Chancellor, were outvoted at a mass meeting at the Students Union yesterday.

By a majority of 114, it was decided Mr Thomas should attend a meeting on his own terms on Monday to answer questions on what some students have called ‘a policy of secrecy’ by university authorities.

Earlier yesterday, students threw out a proposal to stage a protest sit-in at the Senate House over alleged secret files being kept on them by the University authorities.  A delegation of three members of the Guild of Undergraduates committee went to Senate House, where a meeting was arranged with Mr Thomas and other officials.

They asked for an open meeting with the Vice-Chancellor within the next two days to discuss the question of secrecy.  Otherwise, they said, they would go ahead with their proposed sit-in.

But Mr Thomas refused a meeting before Monday, and later the matter was put to the vote.

At first, 204 students voted for an extension of time and 209 against. A second vote was demanded and it resulted in 226 for and 221 against –  a reversal of the majority of 5.

Then a third vote revealed 334 in favour and 220 against Mr Thomas’ terms for a meeting on Monday.

One of the speakers from the floor at the meeting claimed that the administration had:

“Ignored a plea to disclose what Chemical and Biological Warfare contracts are undertaken at the university; refused to reconsider the position of Lord Salisbury as our Chancellor, despite petitions, pickets and representations from mass meetings; refused even to dissociate itself – either as a body or as individuals – from Salisbury’s views; refused last week, with no reasons given, to reveal where the university’s investments lie, thus leading to a sneaking suspicion that they are investing in firms which bolster up Apartheid; and has seriously infringed the autonomy of the Guild in its reaction to last month’s officer resignations”.

The speaker said that he wanted the University to disclose the contents of all files such as those on investments, the Senate, the Council, Court minutes and research grants.

Last night MR Thomas could not be contacted for comment.

Thomas given a chance to speak

This is Guild Gazette reporting on today’s mass meeting, at which a proposal to occupy Senate House over the issues of secret files, CBW research and Salisbury was rejected in favour of inviting him to speak in the Union next week:

A general meeting in the Lounge Hall rejected the idea of a Senate sit-in planned for the afternoon, and voted instead to give the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Trevor Thomas, an opportunity to present his views at a Mass Meeting the following Monday.  Mr Andy Black was the chairman of the meeting, which was attended by some 500 students.

Mr P Cresswell spoke first, outlining his criticisms of the University, saying that students have been ignored over many issues, including secret files, CBW research and the constitutional crisis.

He went on to say that students should question the role of the University and not just “accept it like goldfish”.

During his speech there was a great deal of heckling from the large crowd of people at the back of the hall.

Pleas for moderation were then made, and Mr Jon Snow said that he thought students should make a very firm demand for freedom, but occupation of Senate was not the correct thing to do.  He urged that students demand the Vice-Chancellor come to the Union to address a Mass Meeting, and if his address was unsatisfactory then “we should take any action we want”.

Mr Dave Robertson then spoke saying that the Vice Chancellor had been given enough chances to come and talk to students, and that the meeting should move to a vote on the occupation of Senate House.

Throughout his speech there was constant shouting and jeering to which Mr Robertson retorted that the people at the back were “stupid, barbaric Philistines who I’m not prepared to listen to.”

“Once again”, he added, “the eternal voice of Liverpool University screams and grovels at the back.”

A deputation of the Committee of Six was sent by the meeting to demand the Vice Chancellor’s presence in the Union within two days.

Some time later Mr John Aspinall and Peter Cresswell, members of the delegation, returned to the meeting to inform students that the Vice Chancellor had said it would be impossible for him to attend a meeting before Monday, due to the fact that he had extensive information to collate.

There followed several speeches criticising and condoning the Vice Chancellor and a vote was called for on whether to accept his proposal that he should come on Monday.

The motion was defeated by a majority of 5 votes out of 400.  After much confusion a recount was taken and this time the motion was passed by a similar majority.

Mr Aspinall and Mr Cresswell then returned to Senate House and the meeting was again adjourned for half an hour.

At 4:20 pm the meeting was reconvened when the whole delegation returned.  Mr Gavin Graham reported the negotiations with Mr Thomas to the meeting, saying that they had achieved a “nebulous agreement” but must accept it and prepare ourselves for next Monday.

Mr Richard Davies, with a fiery speech in support of a motion proposed by Mr Cresswell condemning the Vice Chancellor for not coming within two days, criticised the lack of communication in universities and asked where the Vice Chancellor’s allegiance lies 0 to students or to big business?

The meeting then moved to vote on the motion, and after much confusion the motion was defeated by 334 to 220.

Salisbury hits back at Liverpool students

The Liverpool Echo today reports that Lord Salisbury has responded to the charges made against him in an article written for Guild Gazette.

‘Lord Salisbury decided not to attend the Student Union annual dinner and dance on January 30 when he learned that some 200 students opposed to his political views planned to demonstrate against his attendance.’