[Daily article] October 21: S. O. Davies

Stephen Owen Davies (died 25 February 1972) was a Welsh coal miner and
Labour Party politician who was Member of Parliament for Merthyr Tydfil
from 1934 to 1972. In 1918 he became miners’ agent for the Dowlais
district of the South Wales Miners’ Federation, and in 1924 was
appointed its chief organiser, legal adviser, and vice-president.
Elected to parliament in 1934, Davies consistently defied official
Labour policy to champion causes such as disarmament and Welsh
nationalism, with a persistence that brought him several suspensions and
ensured that he was never offered ministerial office. After a spoil heap
at a coal mine collapsed in the village of Aberfan on 21 October 1966
killing 116 schoolchildren and 28 adults, Davies controversially said
that he had long thought that it was unsafe. He had not reported his
suspicions for fear that an enquiry would cause the closures of local
pits. In 1970 he was deselected as parliamentary candidate by his local
party association on account of his age, but won the seat in the general
election as an Independent, a rare example in British politics of an
independent candidate defeating a major party’s organisation.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


The Seljuk forces of Kilij Arslan destroyed the army of the
People’s Crusade as it marched toward Nicaea.


French composer Jacques Offenbach’s operetta Orpheus in the
Underworld, featuring music most associated with the can-can (audio
featured) was first performed at the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens in


HMS Niobe arrived in Halifax Harbour to become the first large
ship of the Royal Canadian Navy.


A coal tip fell on the village of Aberfan, Wales, killing 144
people, mostly schoolchildren.


At the seventeenth General Conference on Weights and Measures,
the length of a metre was redefined as the distance light travels in
vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

parking ticket:
1. A legal summons issued for parking a motor vehicle in a place where such
parking is restricted, or beyond the time paid for.
2. A small ticket issued as proof of payment for the right to park a motor

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  All knowledge is local, all truth is partial. … No truth can
make another truth untrue. All knowledge is part of the whole knowledge.
… Once you have seen the larger pattern, you cannot get back to seeing
the part as the whole.  
–Ursula K. Le Guin

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