1950s >> 1957 >> no-632-april-1957
The Carmarthen Election
This election, coming after previous Government defeats in other parts of the country was considered to be of extreme importance to the Labour Party. They, accordingly, went into action with everything they had. Their campaign, carefully planned, began with a softening up process—a constant hail of propaganda by local leaders. This was followed by the sending down of the heavy artillery, Attlee, Bevan and the ex-Labour Minister of Agriculture (Carmarthenshire being predominantly agricultural it was absolutely necessary to get the farmers vote).
Attlee came, bleated in the usual Attlee manner, and went; Bevan (the chief “star”) arrived and, as is usual with “ star turns ” prices of admission were raised. For the privilege of listening to a man, who among other things created such a mighty fuss about “the bob on the bottle,” many were induced to pay a bob to listen to a lot of wind. There is in this instance something to be said for paying a shilling for getting rid of it!
Megan (pardon us, Lady Megan!) captured the seat by virtue of the poor quality of the opposition and (such is the glamour of a title) by being the daughter of Lloyd George and a Lady. Poor little “Jenny,” the Welsh Nationalist, despite a decidedly more attractive appearance, could only manage to increase her vote by a few thousand. Her policy proving more attractive to students, “intellectuals” and younger people generally. .
The Liberal, fighting what was formerly a Liberal seat, lost undoubtedly because, bad as is the Liberal case, his manner of putting it over was profoundly worse. The general comment regarding him was “ dim personoliaeth ” (no personality).
Nevertheless the campaign was not without its humour. Some students created quite an innovation by walking into one of Megan’s meetings, completely silent. They sat throughout the meeting—completely silent and walked out in file at the end—completely silent—all the while with their jackets on inside out
The Nationalist candidate, speaking in one of the many rural villages, wound up (so we are told) by stating that Wales required three immediate changes, whereupon a wag shouted “ Yes, my gel—two wings and a centre!”
The election was indeed lively, and humorous. The candidates were called upon to speak mostly in Welsh, Lady Megan not quite being able to disguise a certain “ Mayfair ” accent despite speaking in her native tongue. The Liberal and Labour candidates were both in opposition to their respective party’s policy in regard to the demand for a Welsh Parliament. Whilst the Welsh Nationalist probably lost much support from the chapels, and Pacifist Nonconformity generally by declaring support for Welsh Armed Forces!
On the whole one can say. as in other elections, it would have made no difference if each had said each others “piece” and the lot had got in.