Party News: Tory Gold in Battersea: An Ancient Gibe
It was our intention, as we stated before the General Election, to run a candidate in North Battersea provided the necessary financial support were forthcoming. Outdoor and indoor meetings were held making known our intention, but when nomination day came the minimum amount necessary had not been secured.
The former M.P. (Mr. Saklatvala) lost his seat because, although he is a reformist politician, he is not a popular politician. Whether it was as a result of gloomy disappointment at the election results, one cannot tell, but supporters of the ex-member for North Battersea have been trying to spread the view that our adopted candidate was intended to conjure money from Tory pockets.
This took the form of a question at an open-air meeting addressed by the present writer, and was as follows : “Is it not a fact that Commander Marsden offered to pay Barker’s election expenses?” Now of all the things ever said about us, the implication in that question is about the silliest, but when the speaker replied to the question in the negative, he was called a liar by another member of the audience. It has since been established that, in spite of the denial, the statement is being given currency by persons who, it seems, do not relish the idea of a Socialist candidate putting up for the first time in the constituency. We therefore declare here that the statement is entirely untrue. No such offer of financial assistance was made by the Tories or anyone else, and if money were offered from doubtful sources it would be refused by the Socialist Party as it has been refused in the past when that situation has arisen.
While on the subject of the North Battersea election, we notice with interest that the Communist Party, who pleaded poverty as their reason for not contesting more constituencies, were able to spend on Mr. Saklatvala’s contest £845 4s. 8d., which is hardly less than the amount (£847 6s.) spent by the Tory, Commander A. Marsden.
The successful Labour candidate spent only £431 2s. 4d. (See Returning Officer’s statement, South-Western Star, July 5th.)