1970s >> 1974 >> no-843-november-1974

Party News: Rewarding Election Campaign

It took a long time to set up: In forty minutes on October 11th it was bare. 307 Finchley Road, our Committee Rooms. 307 is a large corner shop. Its windows ideal for our various posters and propaganda material, read not only by passers by, but seen by hundreds in cars and coaches as day after day they edged along in the almost constant traffic jams. The centre windows had a blown-up copy measuring 8ft. by 4ft. of our Manifesto and Declaration of Principles. The shop was large enough for informal meetings and to display three of the stands from our recent 70th Anniversary Exhibition.

307 became a Socialist centre for just over two weeks. A hive of activity, with some 60/65 members and sympathisers taking part. Our Manifesto (unfortunately not prematurely leaked to the Press — they largely ignored it) came early from the printer. We did not bother with the free post and within seven days had dealt with 18,000 on a house- to-house basis.

All the tube stations in the area were covered night after night by literature sellers. Sales sometimes excellent — sometimes indifferent — but thousands of people in Hampstead now know of the existence of the socialist standard. This activity at some of the stations had been carried on by Westminster Branch throughout the summer and will afford a regular sales outlet in the future.

Never a day went by without a number of people coming into 307 to hear about the SPGB and discuss with us. From mid-morning — often to midnight they came, many hearing of us for the first time. And not just residents of Hampstead. From many parts of the world, Japan, USA, Denmark, Germany, France, Chile etc., they heard the Socialist case. The odd discussion carried on in German and Spanish. Our introductory leaflets in foreign languages were most helpful.

And we held our meetings outdoors, rather grim owing to the weather. Indoors not sparkling, but plenty of informal discussion. We used two sets of public address equipment, one set mounted on a very large mobile caravan, decked from top to bottom with suitable posters.

Literature sales and donations just over £70 (this included about 1,000 copies of the Socialist Standard). We only got a handful of votes (118 in all) but we accomplished our task of making the Socialist case more widely known. Those who took part in the campaign had a most enjoyable and rewarding time; those who were unable to join in missed a treat.

The local press printed a 600-word statement from our candidate (Ralph Critchfield), and we had mention in other local journals and two of the national press. London Broadcasting gave us a couple of minutes and like the other candidates in the area, four minutes on BBC Radio London. This came over very well.

Cyril May