believed the existing political and economic system could be made to work in the interests of the working class, he believed in gradualism. Furthermore he had an exaggerated optimism and faith in education as a vehicle for social mobility and opportunity "working class boys and girls are now ousting the darlings of the rich from their exalted positions in the Church, the State, Civil Service, Army and Navy." To reinforce this Stonelake clearly saw culture and social cohesion in middle-class terms. Possibly his own lack of close contact with the Welsh language and nonconformity deprive him of a sense of the beauty and strength of late-Victorian Welsh working-class culture. Possibly his interests and sobriety deprived him of the excitement and spontaneity of life on playing field and public house. The editor notes: "virtually everything the Plebs league thought worthy of censure at Oxford Stonelake found worthy of praise." Stonelake begins his work: "it is just the plain story of the life of a typical sober but poor man". That it certainly is not -it is the personal account of one of many talented, hard-working, courageous people. Through self-education, sacrifice, public spirit, collective action and idealism they sought to rectify the inequalities and injustices around them. Particularly ironic is it that those who have benefited most from the work of such people are largely educated out of their community. Almost certainly someone of Stonelake's ability and energy would, in a subsequent generation, end up teaching in Romford or managing a bank in Leeds. The pioneers of the Labour movement brought their party to domination of south Wales a spectacular achievement. Some features of contemporary south Wales would surely displease them high unemployment, social deprivation, bleak housing estates, ugly redevelopments, disappointing education results in large, unloved schools some of this has been their doing. But equally true is that the enormous advances in living standards, health, social welfare and environmental improvement has also been largely due to them and their ideas and energy. With this in mind I