1900s >> 1906 >> no-28-december-1906

Municipal Election Notes

The S.P.G.B. ran 12 candidates, 9 in Battersea and 3 in Wandsworth.

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The Battersea results were, Latchmere Ward : Craske 117, Moody 117, Money 113 ; Winstanley Ward: Blewitt 57, Roe 49, Witcher 45 ; Church Ward: Greenham 93, Fawcett 88, Hunt 77.

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The Wandsworth poll (Tooting Ward) was, Barker 94, MacManus 77, Dumenil 59. Of these 50 were plumpers, voting solidly for our candidates alone.

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All the candidates fought on the Election Manifesto of the Party published in our October issue, a few of which were distributed in each ward. They had no program of ear-tickling, side-tracking, vote-catching “palliatives” and did no canvassing. The candidates were practically unknown and had not climbed into popularity on the backs of the working class, by posing as “leaders” of unemployed deputations, “right to live” councils, and similar confusionist conglomerations.

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The defeat of the “Progressive” and Labour candidates in London was undoubtedly due to the fact that the promises they had so profusely made had not been carried out. The unemployed problem is still with us, slums are being created at a faster rate than they are being destroyed, the shopkeeper is being pressed more heavily each day between the trusts and the rising rates, and so the pendulum swung round.

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Keir Hardie is reported to have said he regretted the defeat of the Progressives. Progressives are simply Liberals, and Mr. Hardie regrets their defeat ! Why did the I.L.P. help to secure it by running candidates ?

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The “Progressive and Labour” candidates in Battersea ran under the auspices of the Battersea Trades and Labour Council, which consists of various trade union branches, Liberal associations, Radical clubs, etc. Many of the T.U. branches are also affiliated to the L.R.C., and therefore, while working with the Liberals, subscribe with the ostensible object of fighting them.

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In 1903, out of the 36 members elected to the Woolwich Council 28 were Labour candidates. This year only 13 Labour candidates secured seats. The Labour Party thus lose their control of the Council. As 72 per cent. of the electors voted it is obvious that the men who voted for the Labour Party at the last election and sent Will Crooks to the House of Commons have now voted for the Moderates. Why ? Because they have no guiding principle to work upon and Crooks, Hardie & Co. have been too much concerned about getting in to endeavour to implant it. Hardie says that the Labour Party have lost at Woolwich because of the Arsenal dismissals, but if the Labour Party had not given the electors to understand that these dismissals would cease and the unemployed problem would be solved if only the workers voted “labour” there would have been no disappointment and no reversal of the position. But you cannot ensure the continued confidence of the working class unless you play the game straight. There is no cure for the evils of capitalism except the abolition of capitalism. Tell the people that at all times and under all conditions, and, although it may take somewhat longer to gain their confidence and support, you will retain it when you have gained it.

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Mr. George Belt, recently the paid organiser of the S.D.F. in Scotland, contested the Starch Green Ward of Hammersmith. He did not run as a Socialist, but under the auspices of the L.R.C. “Labour” was writ large all over his election address. He suppressed his membership of the S.D.F. and described himself as of the “Federated Builders’ Labourers.” But then, of course, it is one thing to be paid by the S.D.F., and another to be seeking the moral and financial support of trade unionists. This is a glaring instance of what the Pearson Paralyser called “The Fraud of Socialism,” but, as a matter of fact, it was only the Fraud of George Belt.

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Our old friend, Free Maintenance, received a very severe twisting at the hands of S.D.F. candidates. Belt made no reference to it. Fulham S.D.F. candidates declared for State Maintenance, as did also those of Battersea, Islington, and parts of West Ham. Rogers and Wilkinson at Southend whittled it down to “The provision of at least one good meal daily to all scholars.” The Southwark men favoured free meals to all destitute children attending the public schools, whilst in Camberwell State Maintenance was boldly advocated. In Lewisham, however, it got back to “Free Meals for Necessitous Children.” It is quite evident that these people have not made up their minds about their beloved palliatives.

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At Northampton the S.D.F. ran 6 candidates, but only one (J. Gribble) was successful. W. Pitts lost his seat. Gribble is their only representative now. Their total poll was 2,912. Last year it was 3,221 in the same wards,

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After the poll A. G. Slinn said that the more revolutionary the candidate, the more disagreeable he was to the capitalists, the more likely was success. No man was more hated by the opposition than Gribble, yet he had been elected by a majority that struck terror into the hearts of the capitalists,

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This was a little unkind to the other candidates.

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Matters were somewhat complicated in Islington. The S.D.F. branches decided to run their candidates ”on their own,” apart from any other bodies. Two of their members, however, C. Cook and R. E. Jupp, were invited to run under the auspices of the Islington Trades Council, and after consultation with the E.C. of the S.D.F., accepted the invitation. They were expelled by the Islington branches of the S.D.F. and promptly joined another. There will be developments.

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These two candidates were not only endorsed by the E.C. of the S.D.F., but were supported by such tried, trusted and true Revolutionists as W. T. Wilson, M.P., C. W. Bowerman, M.P., W. Steadman, M.P., A. Henderson, M.P., J. E. Gregory, and others. And still they did not win !

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The Stratford S.D.F. ran J. A. Bassett in Park Ward, and J. Andrews in Broadway. Separate and greatly differing election addresses were issued by each. Andrews advocated the provision of free meals as is done in Paris, and Bassett was in favour of Free Meals, and, when neceseary, of Free Clothing.

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In South West Ham Ben Cunningham ran as a Socialist, but the S.D.F. refused to support him. J. Jones, A. Hayday, and other S.D.F. men backed a local official (a non-Socialist) of a powerful and wealthy trade union against him. Explanations, votes of censure, alarums and excursions are in the air !

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One of the chief concerns of the I.L.P. candidates in East Ham was the cheaper burial of the dead. Said they, “The making of personal profits out of the dead is certainly anything but ethical. Our dead should be interred as cheaply as possible, and any profits accruing to go to the community.” So cheer up ! we’ll soon be dead ! and if only a sufficient number of us die quickly, why, look how the rates could be reduced !

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Justice points out that its members in Burnley, who ran under the auspices of the L.R.C. all ran as avowed Socialists. It is somewhat amusing when a body, claiming to be Socialist has to draw attention to the fact that certain of its members ran as “avowed Socialists.”

J.K.

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