1900s >> 1908 >> no-49-september-1908

Some Indiscretions of Wm. Thorne, M. P.

Our old friend, William Thorne, M.P., writes a very nicely typed letter, on Gasworker Union note, in reply to questions addressed to him by a correspondent relative to certain actions of his own and the position of the “Labour” Party. The letter deserves a wider publicity and it, or most of it, shall have it.

 

 

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William writes: “I beg to say that I have never actually supported Mr. Percy Alden during the last Parliamentary election, but I remember attending a meeting at which I was chairman, which was held at Tottenham sometime prior to the General Election, when Mr. Alden was the adopted Parliamentary candidate, and I spoke a few words in his favour.”

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That’s clear enough, isn’t it ? When you take the chair for a man and speak in his favour you are not actually supporting him, you’re only— well —it’s ridiculous to say that’s support! Good old Bill. Let’s try some more.

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“I have known Mr. Alden for many years . . and I have always found him a very good man in advocating the claims of the workers, both in regard to hours and wages, etc., and he was one of the most active men upon the Central Committee in forcing the hands of the local authority in bringing about better sanitary conditions for for the workers.”

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But Bill wouldn’t support him for that. Not actually! Don’t support good men, Bill, don’t. Only say a few words in their favour.

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The letter proceeds: . . . “I am a member of the Labour Party in the House of Commons, and all members of that Party are pledged to abstain from identifying themselves or of promoting the interests of the other great political parties, and I carry that principle out so far as possible. I believe in perfect discipline in regard to organisation and political parties, and in my opinion the Labour Party in the House of Commons would be absolutely useless if it did not preserve its entire independence of the other parties, in the House. I do not believe that any of the members of the Labour Party are prepared to support candidates of the other political parties, but if they do, they are committing a breach of the Labour Party’s constitution.”

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Lovely! Bill believes in perfect discipline — as far as possible, He is fixed and immovable— except now and again. He is stern and unbending—not ’arf he aint — only in places he gives. The Labour Party would be absolutely useless if it did not stick to its constitution and refuse to support candidates of other political parties, and Bill didn’t support such a candidate. He only gave him a little assistance’

 

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Good old William. I wonder if he read that letter over before he let it go.

 

A. James.