British Gazette

The British Gazette was a short-lived British state newspaper published by the government during the General Strike of 1926.

British Gazette
The British Gazette No 2.jpg
TypeDaily newspaper
FormatBroadsheet
Owner(s)HM Government
EditorWinston Churchill
Founded5 May 1926
Political alignmentOpposition to the General Strike
Ceased publication13 May 1926
Circulation200,000 to 2 million

One of the first groups of workers called out by the Trades Union Congress when the general strike began on 3 May were the printers, and consequently most newspapers appeared only in truncated form. In order to propagate the government's point of view His Majesty's Stationery Office decided to produce an official publication printed on the presses of the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies. Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill, a former journalist, was appointed the paper's editor.

The Gazette first appeared on the morning of 5 May. It was highly condemnatory of the strike and was open that it had no editorial independence. The TUC produced its own newspaper, the British Worker (subtitled Official Strike News Edition), however they were unable to match the government's ability to produce and distribute the Gazette, with the Gazette's circulation rising as high as 2,000,000. From issue 4, the masthead contained the invitation "Please pass on this copy or display it". The Gazette ran to only eight editions before the strike collapsed; the last edition had the headline "General Strike Off".[1]

Churchill did not take the Gazette entirely seriously. On 7 July 1926, at the end of a debate in Parliament on whether to grant the money to pay for the British Gazette, Churchill responded to Labour MP A. A. Purcell's speculation about what would happen in future general strikes with the words "Make your minds perfectly clear that if ever you let loose upon us again a general strike, we will loose upon you (pause) another British Gazette!"[2] The statement drew laughter and applause from both sides and defused some of the lingering political tension in the debate.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ British Gazette, 13 May 1926, p. 1.
  2. ^ Hansard HC user vol 197 col 2218.
  3. ^ Roy Jenkins, "Churchill", Pan Macmillan, 2002, p 409.

External linksEdit