Suffragette Mangled

Another serious blow has been dealt the “time wasters” and “confusion mongers.” This time the deed was done in the ancient borough of Gravesend, which is far-famed for its shrimps and its cesspools. The recipients of this latest trouncing were the Women’s Social and Political Union, and their champion was “Organiser” Miss Laura Ainsworth.

The debate took place at the “Clock Tower” on Saturday, June 3. Even before the debate commenced the lady flew the white flag by desiring that the wording of the proposition should be altered, to which ye gallant knight, Anderson., with his usual courtesy, agreed. Then the lady, who should have opened by affirming “That Women’s Suffrage is essential for the betterment of the Working Class,” with that true understanding of “Women’s Rights” which might be expected of her, refused to speak first, thus putting Anderson in the curious position of having to confirm a negative. However, our comrade’s first speech made it evident to the large audience that the lady’s case was hopeless. Miss Ainsworth’s first effort made it still more so; and the second speech of Anderson so reduced the supporter of votes for wealthy women that the debate became almost a farce.

The poor girl tried again, but could not last out her appointed time, and left us about 9.20 in a hurry to catch one of those convenient trains.

Anderson then spent the rest of the time up till 10 p.m. answering questions and putting the Socialist position, and so effectively did he do this that the members of the I.L.P. who were present had dismay writ large on their faces.

It was a splendid meeting. Good propaganda was done and some of the humbug of the pseudo-Socialists ably exposed. Everyone present was supplied with leaflets, and the Independent Labour Party were once more publicly challenged to support in debate their claim to the title of Socialists.


(Socialist Standard, July 1911).