50 Years Ago: The Observer and the SPGB

The following is an extract from The Observer (Oct. 9) to which the Party wrote in protest at the reference to the SPGB

‘Everywhere around Glasgow, the con­trast in political styles is striking. On the Left, they speak with tongues of the old Clydeside fire, preaching a new society, teaching their audiences a total view of socialist justice and democracy. All have something of the Trotskyite poster in Woodside which snarls at the citizen “Don’t vote for the S.P.G.B. (Socialist Party of Great Britain) candidate unless you understand and want Socialism.”

We publish, without comment, the Observer’s reply:

The Observer, 29th October, 1964.

Dear Sir,

I have now heard from Neal Ascherson, to whom I referred your letter of October 11. After helping us in covering the election campaign he returned to his post as our resident Correspondent in Germany; hence there was some delay in reaching him. He writes:

‘I think I should apologise without reserve to the members of the S.P.G.B. for calling them Trotskyite, I was mixing them up in my hurried head with the Socialist Labour League, and there is no excuse for that. I still think that “snarl” expressed the shock of hostility experienced by a reader of the S.P.G.B.’s fiercely honest and uncompromising poster.’

I’m very sorry we can’t clarify this point now in our correspondence columns —it would be rather out of date and there is room for so few of all the letters— but we will take care not to make any such mistake again.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed) Charles Davey, Assistant Editor.

(Socialist Standard, December 1964)

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