The “Independent” Coalition

Seeking some explanation to give their deluded followers, of the disastrous results, to the Labour Party, of the General Election of Jan. ’10, both Mr. Peters (national agent) and Philip Snowden stated that the Labour candidates had been run on programmes so like the Liberals’ that “it was too much to expect the ordinary man in the street to distinguish between them.” Exactly. And the same occurred in the last election.

Thus Mr. Stanley (N.W. Staffs.) fought the election “almost solely on the issue of the House of Lords” (“Manchester Guardian,” 10.12.10). Mr. Frank Goldstone (Sunderland) said “Sunderland had driven the longest and biggest nail into the old and worn-out coffin of Toryism” (same paper, 7.12.10). Mr. Walsh (Ince) put his case plainly : “That Veto of the Lords must go ; that to him was the supreme issue” (Ibid). Mr. Seddon and Mr. T. Glover (Newton and St. Helens respectively), according to the same journal, placed one issue before the electors—”Whether the Peers shall rule or the people.” Etc., etc.

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Desperate efforts are constantly being made to hide the awkward fact that persists in showing itself, namely, that the Labour Party are but Liberal decoy ducks. In this election, as in the two previous ones, the difficulty is to make a selection from the enormous mass of evidence.

Some of the candidates were specially favoured. Mr. Lansbury had Mr. Lloyd George advising the Liberals in Bow and Bromley to support him. An election sheet, “The Worker,” issued in Mr. Lansbury’s interest, contained the following :

“The Liberal Party has stood for the abolition of the breakfast-table duties all these years . . and so we confidently appeal to every Liberal to support our candidate in his campaign for taxing the rich instead of the poor.”

One wonders what the Liberals have been doing with large and small majorities that they have not abolished these duties “all these years.” The sheet does not tell us. Instead it informs us that among others the Nonconformists, headed by the Revs. Hayes and Tiplady, with the Bow and Bromley Progressive Club, were supporting Mr. Lansbury.

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In S. West Ham Mr. Will Thorne, performing his “delicate and difficult task”—as H. W. Lee once called it—of pleasing everybody, pledged himself, through the various organisations he belongs to, to secular education, the workers’ interests, the class war, etc. And the “Daily Chronicle” of Dec. 3rd advised the electorate to poll up a bumper, and tell us “he has the support of ministers of religion, of employers of labour, of tradesmen, and of all classes.”

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At Gorton, Lancashire, Mr. John Hodge was the selected of the Liberal party—under the Labour label. On Dec. 7th the Gorton Liberal Assn. passed this resolution : “It is unanimously resolved that we recommend the Liberals of the Gorton Parliamentary Division to cast their votes and use their influence so as to secure the return of the Progressive candidate, Mr. John Hodges, at the forthcoming election.” (“Manchester Guardian,” Dec. 10.) No alliance, you see !

Last Jan. Mr. Stanton Coit contested the Wakefield division with the help of the Liberals, but did not win the seat. So a change was tried this time, and with success. After the poll Mr. Marshall “thanked his Labour and Irish friends as well as the Liberals,” says the “Manchester Guardian,” Dec. 6th).

In similar words Sir Wilfred Lawson, who had to face a Labour Party candidate last Jan., but was this time supported by that party, referred to his victory at Cockermouth. “He thanked his Liberal friends and especially his friends of the Labour Party, who had been true to themselves.” (Manchester Guardian, 5.12.10.) Agreed.

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Philip Snowden had a real live lord to assist him. Lord Morley spoke in his favour at a large meeting of business men says the “Daily Chron¬icle,” 3rd Dec., and evidently his advice was taken, for Snowden was placed above his fellow Liberal. The two candidates advised the electors to support both the Liberals. (“Manchester Guardian,” 2.12.’10.)

“Ha”—Snowden—”and Sir Henry Norman have worked closely together on their different platforms” remarks the same paper on the 5th, while next day it reports Sir Henry Norman as saying, after the poll, “The result was an almost unparalleled example of political co-operation.”

Snowden, of course, was ready to pay the price. Of the Liberal candidate for Darwen he said, according to the “Manchester Guardian” of Dec. 5, “Mr. Hindle had given quite exceptional attention to his duties. He hardly knew of another member who had been so assiduous . . If he had a vote in the Darwen district he would not have the slightest hesitation in giving it to Mr. Hindle.”

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“Although a ballot last week showed a substantial majority in favour of the local Labour Party again contesting the seat, the Executive Committee of the Party have decided . . . that on this occasion no candidate shall be nominated.” (“Manchester Guardian,” 2.12.10.) On the […] our contemporary said “the solid mass of the Labour vote is almost certain to be given to the Liberal candidate.” Quite simple, isn’t it ?

“The Executive Council of the St. Helena Liberal Assn. yesterday unanimously passed a resolution calling upon all Liberals in this great crisis to support their party by giving their votes for the Progressive candidates, Mr. T. Glover for St. Helens and Mr. J. A. Seddons for the Newton division.” (“Manchester Guardian,” 2.12.10.)

It did not help Glover and Seddons that they were Progressives as well as Labour Party candidates —they were defeated.

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Our Manchester contemporary for Dec. 3rd, said “The Labour vote in the Eccles division will be cast for Sir George Pollard (Liberal), a meeting of the Emergency Committee having decided … to issue posters asking Labour electors to vote for him.” On the last occasion he was opposed by G. H. Stuart, of the Labour Party. However, to prevent all the folly being on one side, “the Eccles Socialist Party have issued a manifesto calling upon all Labour men to vote against Sir. H. Pollard, the Liberal candidate.” (“Weekly Dispatch,” 4.12.10)

Was this society formerly a branch of the S.D.P. ? If so its action is easily understood.

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At Stockport the “one-and-one principle” so dear to the S.D.P. was successfully carried through. Mr. S. L. Hughes speaking in the Town Hall, Stockport, said, “My advice to every man who values his vote and values his position as a self-respecting free citizen in a free country is—vote for the two men who are against the Lords.” (“Manchester Guardian,” 28.11.10.)

The second of the “two men” was Mr. J. G. Wardle of the Labour Party, who, speaking at the Central Hall after the election, said, “The unity of the forces of Progress had also a great deal to do with the victory.” (Ibid, 6.12 10.)

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We are often told that we are dunces in “tactics.” Here are some tactics from Manchester. Says the “Manchester Guardian” of Dec. 19, “The Liberal Council of the division has passed a resolution . . strongly urging all Liberals to help Mr. Clynes to repeat his victory of ten months ago.”

This is how he does it: “I have pledged from the beginning that as regards the education claim of the Catholic people I shall regard myself in the House of Commons, not as a delegate of a trade union, not as the mouth-piece of a trades congress, but as the representative of the Catholic electors of North East Manchester.”

Good, from a man who is pledged (to those who pay him to look after their interests) to secular education. Tactics=all things to all men.

In the same issue of our Manchester contemporary we were told that the Liberals held several meetings in East Manchester to discuss the veto question, the Irish question, and maintenance of Free Trade. “Recognising that on these vital questions Mr. Sutton, the Labour candidate, is entirely in sympathy with them, the Liberals of the division are working vigorously to ensure his return.”

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Space will not allow consideration of all the Labour Party’s antics, but we may mention that in Altercliffe a “manifesto issued by the Liberal Council and signed by Mr. J. Wycliffe Wilson, advised all Liberals in this election to vote for Mr. Pointer, the Progressive candidate.” (“Manchester Guardian,” 7.12.10.)

Mr. Pointer is a Labour Party candidate.

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In Nuneaton the Labour candidate was Mr. Johnson, miners’ agent. According to the “Manchester Guardian,” 10.12.10, “Mr. Johnson had the old Liberal organisation at his back, carries the old colours, and directs his campaign from the offices of the Liberal Association.”

What could be more independent ?

At Hanley “Mr. Edwards has the whole strength of the Liberal organisation behind him, and in his address he accepts the invitation to offer himself for re-election as coming from all the Progressives of the town, Liberal as well as Labour.” (“Manchester Guardian,” 7.12.10.)

Dr. Clifford, speaking from Mr. Thomas’ platform at Derby, said “He was delighted to know that Labour and Liberalism in Derby were marching in step.”

He forgot to say where they are marching to.

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As we have pointed out already, the Labour Party are marching with the Liberal Party in the interests of the master class, and for the continued enslavement of the working class. “When the latter realise this truth the Labour Party and its compacts with the enemy will be flung on the political muck-heap.

J. F. B.

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