1910s >> 2018 >> no-93-may-1912

Party News: Watford Activities

Watford is known to persons interested in politics as the home of political frauds

We have just had another local election, and Watford has maintained its aforementioned reputation.

Every year as these elections come round, a new organisation (sic) is brought into being. This time it is the B.S.P., whose methods—on paper—are to educate the people in principles of Socialism, and to establish a militant Socialist Party in Parliament and on local bodies, independent of all parties which support Capitalism.

The first thing done by this party was to allow its secretary and another member to be run by an organisation that did not ask what political opinions any of the candidates held—the author of that statement being the secretary of the Trades and Labour Council, who is himself a Tory.

This organisation, consisting of Liberals, Tories, Labourites, and men of all other shades of political faith except Socialists, had a joint conference with the local B.S.P., to draw up the programme that was to educate the people of Watford in the principles of Socialism and form a militant, independent Socialist Party in the local council chamber. From such a mob the expected happened.

They advocated better roads (I suppose they would term that paving the road to Socialism); they waxed warm over the scavenging question; they clamoured for the speedy supply of dustbins and for all dust to be collected from the backs of houses. They also advocated an adequate water supply on the allotments, but many in Watford are not teetotalers, and did not see much in it.

However, I do not think they intended the people to drink it, but to nee it for watering their crops, so that the workers could live more cheaply by having cheap vegetables, and incidentally. to enable the employers to pay lower wages.

Other things were included. The housing question, municipal slaughter houses, and houses to live in were advocated. The difference between a house to live in and a house to die in as far as my knowledge of municipal dwellings goes, is one of degree only.

 
These things appearing on the addresses of the Independent Labour Party and Labour candidates which the B.S.P. supported made the capitalist class here tremble—with laughter. And they brought forward candidates and ran them on the same ticket, and beat this mob who would drag the cause of the workers in the mire.
 
Socialism was never mentioned in their addresses, never put forward at one of their meetings. Moreover, one of their speakers said : “I do not know what Socialism has to do 
with thees elections.”
 
No, advocating Socialism is the work of Socialists, and only those. That is why it was left to us to do.
 
We did it, and in doing it exposed these freaks and popularity seekers, much to their discomfort. We issued a manifesto showing the workers their position and the way out, and 5,000 copies were printed and distributed and no doubt well read, and it has, I am sure, put a curb on those people who would seek working-class support for such rubbish as appeared on the election addressee of the so-called Labour candidates.
Branch Reporter.