Watford Wobblers!

The article by Comrade F. Hesley in the last issue is to the point. It serves to emphasise statements we have often made in our local reports as to the condition of inextricable muddle and (to us) transparent make-believe in which our local opponents are floundering.

Such opponents ! List to the initials of some of the organisations in which they are enrolled : S.D.F., I.L.P., F.S., L.R.C., L.C., T. & L.G., S. & L.E.C., L.L., W. & D.P.A., W.H. & H.C.

I fear I have only given a few. But omissions are pardonable. They grow so rapidly. This week’s list will probably be incomplete next week.

They are all engaged in setting the working-class house in order, these opponents. And all of them have different notions of the way to do it. Because all of them have different ideas as to what the disorder is. Therefore it is hardly surprising if the working-class house remains untidy. Is it ?

But all of them have a common epithet for use against us. It is an epithet coined by their leaders to cover their lack of argument. It is their only argument against us. It is—impossiblist!

When we say, “dear friends, you are on the wrong track,” they say—impossiblists ! When we offer to prove they are making a confusion and calling it an order, they reply—impossiblists ! When we urge them to consider a more excellent way they cry out upon us—impossiblists !

It is the common tie that binds them together. Yet they are not grateful to us for providing them with it. Quite the contrary. I suppose they feel that it isn’t a very strong argument after all.

Hesley has reported the muddle at Hyndman’s meeting. He has indicated the confusion into which a simple question can throw them. This doesn’t surprise me. I know ’em. I’m only surprised that they didn’t call him “impossiblist.” Perhaps they were so confused that they could’nt even think of that.
Let me augment Hesley’s article by a further instance. This time it will be a case indicative of our opponents’ higl standard of veracity. Or perhaps it is only a low standard of memory. The reader can judge.

Writing in the Watford Critic for April, G.T.H.K. refers to the results of the recent Urban District Council Elections thus : “Remember this is the first occasion of a Socialist candidature for the Urban District Council in either of these wards. Both Mr. Drew and Mr. Judge in the King’s Ward . . . ran as plain Labour candidates last year without mention of Socialism.”

Notice that “is.” The italics belong to G.T.H.K. He is quite certain about it. This is the first time.

And observe the Misters. They make assurance doubly sure. They were not Socialist candidates. Therefore they are not Comrades Drew and Judge. Only Misters. Surely this is the first time.

Let us see. And remember that, the Watford Critic is the local organ of the S.D.F.

This is from the Critic for March, 1906: “King’s Ward will be contested in the interests of Labour by two of its finest exponents. . . . They are consciously working hard and continuously in the sacred name of a down-trodden humanity. In this they have a fixed purpose and will be no trimmers.”

On this I will ask two questions. Can any but Socialists be among the finest exponents of the interests of Labour ? Can any but Socialists work hard for down-trodden humanity without, consciously or unconsciously, trimming? I pause for G.T.H.K’s reply.

The Critic again. April, 1906: Drew and Judge “are avowed Socialists and members of a militant Socialist organisation—the I.L.P.”

Now G.T.H.K. Is that true? If so, this is not the first occasion of a “Socialist” candidature. If not, where were you last year to allow the statement to pass unrepudiated ?

Shall I tell you where you were ? You were organising the election work of Drew and Judge. You, a member of the S.D.F. then, as now ! And you were introducing your comrades Drew and Judge at a public meeting as two able exponents of Socialism whom you were very happy to support !

Now, what’s your game? Yes ! yes ! I know I’m an “impossiblist,” but what’s your game ? Is it that you want to obscure the fact that as compared with last year’s results your party’s candidates were this year snowed under ? Or what ?

Is your point that although Judge and Drew were Socialists they did not run as such ? If so you stand confessed as the champion of fraudulent candidatures. And if your present view is that such candidatures are wrong and harmful, why are you associated with an organisation that is to-day working with the parties responsible for such candidatures ?

I pause for some more replies. When I get them I shall have a little more to say. If I don’t get them I may still have a little more to say. And I think G.T.H.K. will be interested in that little more.

Anyhow, this is the local position. It is synchronised in the case cited. A condition of mess, muddle, and make-believe. Of paltering piffle and prevarication. Of contortion and confusion confounded.

And when we say this sort of thing is stupid and stultifying we are “impossiblists.” When we say that in a multitude or organisations there is no virtue, we are “impossiblists.” When we say the truth must be spoken and not burked or blinked, we are “impossiblists.” When we say that Socialism is the only remedy for working-class ills, that to advocate less at any time is futile and disappointing and dangerous, we are “impossiblists.”

Well! well! we are the “impossiblists.” The S.D.F., I.L.P., F.S., etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum are the “possiblists.” So must it be. But I should like to hear G.T.H.K’s explanations, I’m sure they would be helpful.


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