Correspondence: S.D.F. Tactics in Lancashire
Letter to the Editors
The branches of the S.D.F. in the Rossendale Valley have been sold by the Executive Council of that body.
These branches: Rawtenstall, Crawshawbooth, Bacup, Haslingden and Waterfoot, having been assured of sufficient money to bring out a Parliamentary candidate, adopted J. F. Green, and his candidature was sanctioned at the last Annual Conference of the S.D.F. Suddenly, and without consulting the Rossendale branches, it was announced that J. F. Green had been adopted as the candidate for South Bristol. The branches thereupon wrote to J. F. Green who did not reply, and also to the Executive Committee. The latter’s reply was quite up to the “revolutionary” standard of S.D.F. action during recent years. They regretted they could not contest Rossendale because of the expense (the branches say they have half the amount ready) and because “they do not think it wise to put up a candidate against Mr. ‘Lulu’ Harcourt, as he is about the only member of the present Liberal Government who has added prestige to his name”!
What has caused this change of front on the part of the S.D.F. Executive? It cannot be altogether a matter of branch funds, because, as stated above, the branches have promises of half the amount and, moreover, at the quarterly meeting of the Executive held on October 20th, a deputation from the Leigh branch was received and asked for a candidate to be put forward to contest the Leigh Division. This request was complied with. Is it that the S.D.F. Executive has come to a secret understanding with the Liberals? During the Municipal elections in Rossendale local Liberals stated that J. F. Green would not go to the poll, and that the S.D.F. were only “kidding.” Did they know more than the members of the S.D.F.? I believe that Messrs. H. M. Hyndman, J. F. Green, and other prominent members of the S.D.F. are also members of the National Liberal Club. Has there been a bargain? and if so, what has been bought and what has been sold? When J. F. Green was withdrawn from Rossendale and announced for South Bristol prominent Liberals said, “The S.D.F. will run no candidate for Rossendale.” What did they know?
(Manchester, Dec. 16th, 1907)