How Kirkdale was Fought

They were not responsible for the Kirkdale contest being fought upon Socialism, said Philip Snowden, M.P., at Smethwick on September 28, at an I.L.P. demonstration. No one can accuse the I.L.P. of a desire to fight upon Socialism. And the speeches delivered by Mr. Hill’s supporters prove that every effort was made on their side to turn the contest on anything and everything but Socialism. Mr. McPherson, M.P. (Preston), claimed that the Labour men in the House of Commons contained an exceptional proportion of P.S.A. workers and teetotalers. Mr. Stephen Walsh, M.P., asserted that they “would not confiscate the land or rob the landlords, but they would soon be in a position to say to the privileged classes ‘So far and no farther,'” a sentiment which met with loud applause. Mr. Will Crooks, M.P., appealed to them as “Ye Christian Men !” and asked them to vote for Mr. Hill because “Christ died to adjust social inequalities.” Mr. J. Seddon, M.P., referred to “the notorious fact that almost every member of the Labour Party belonged either to the Established Church or to one of the great bodies of nonconformity.” Mr. Arthur Henderson, M.P., stated that the Labour Party contained more religiously inclined persons, and took the pulpit oftener on Sunday than any other section of politicians. What was the real issue, he asked, involved in the contest ? It was this: that the electors would declare whether there was endorsement on all of the substantial points of the Government policy. A victory for Labour would show how the people stood, for
this Government or against it. The conclusion arrived at would be, that if the Labour Party were defeated it would prove that there was a weakening of the Liberal trend. The Rev. E. F. Forrest (vicar of Pemberton) of the Church Socialist League, wanted Society shaken to its foundations so that “employers and employed might fraternise and class distinctions be abolished.” Mr. Philip Snowden, M.P., declared that Tariff Reform was the real crux of the election, and that its adoption would bring about the ruin of the port of Liverpool. Mr. T. F. Richards, M.P., eulogised John Burns. It was just like some working men, he said, to haul down one of their own class. If it was possible for an engineer to be President of the L.G.B., why should not the democracy fill other high offices of State? (Which of the “high offices” is Richards after ?) Mrs. Cobden Sanderson (daughter of Richard Cobden), said if her father were alive he would be with her upon that platform. She pleaded for a Free Trade policy and accepted every word of the address of John Hill, “as the aspiration of a true Liberal !” And Mr. J. Ramsay McDonald explained that the Labour Party did not make Socialism a test for its candidates. We can, therefore, quite agree with Mr. Snowden that they were not responsible for the Kirkdale election being fought upon Socialism.


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