1910s >> 2018 >> no-66-february-1910

Election Notes.

The meet important feature of the election of 1910 was the circulation of our Manifesto. It was the largest free distribution of literature we have yet undertaken, and Press notices from most unexpected quarters amply prove that it has found its way into many and far distant parts of the country. That we have succeeded in preventing some, at least, of the working class from being side-tracked into the sham fights of the masters is shown by the increasing number who, having gone to the poll, wrote SOCIALISM across their paper. The appearance of these intelligently “spoilt’” papers at Haggerston caused Mr. Herbert Burrows to look glum, while it told the astute politician something it would be well for Mr. Burrows and his kind to endeavour to understand.
 
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Another feature, and that also a gratifying one, was the large number of meetings we were able to hold—these being attended, even in very bad weather, by large and attentive audiences. Where opponents took our platform they readily (and always favourably) contrasted our meetings with the political hooliganism of those of other parties.
 
Again, in heckling candidates and their supporters and in issuing challenges to debate, our comrades lost no opportunity for steady, serious educative propaganda, and have the satisfaction of winning all along the line.
 
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With the enemy it was different, however, and perhaps it falls to the Social-Democratic Party to provide the most illogical, as well as the most tragic, feature of the campaign. The former is found in their trying to work with the Liberals at Northampton (see front page) and in helping the Tories at Battersea while opposing both elsewhere, as at Burnley. The latter is found in their excuse for abject failure, when they say :

  It is useless to disguise the fact that we have lost. Moral victories do not count in this unequal game; unfortunately tactless blunders do: and we should have done much better in at least three of the seats contested if what we regard as distinct errors of judgment had not been committed at critical moments in the campaign. The hysterical desire of some of our comrades to correct the slightest inaccuracy on the part of a candidate or his Supporters is also a ridiculous but effective weapon in the enemy’s hands. (Justice, 22.1.10. Italics ours.)

This, however, but serves to show that Mr. Hyndman was right when he described his followers as being “destitute of political aptitude.” They are evidently likewise destitute of a knowledge of Socialist principles.
 
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The above is almost equalled by the “Independent” Labour Party in their attempt to explain away their candidate’s defeat at East Bristol. Says the Labour Leader (28.1.10) : “Had the election taken place on the 15th instead of the 17th we could have won, but the intervention of Sunday permitted the Unionist gains to strengthen the electors’ adherence to their old party’s traditions.” As the Liberal majority over the “Labour” man was 4,549, it would seem that the 15 Unionist gains had frightened 4,549 Labour stalwarts! ! !
 
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In the deluge of “cold, calculated frigids” inseparable from a contest where the master class strive with each other for the votes of the working class, it is difficult to make a selection, but for sheer, unadulterated egotism and political mendacity the palm may fairly be given to Mr. Lloyd George. Angling for voles in Wales this gentleman declared : “The first thing I am going to do is this. I am going to cleanse the land of poverty and want.” (Morning Leader, 18.1.10.) As a demagogue he has out-Hunnabled Hunnable, but to an intelligent audience his statement simply carried the essence of refined insult. 
 
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A feature of this election, showing the scarcely veiled contempt the Liberals have for their “Labour” allies, is seen in the return of Mr. Spencer L. Hughes for Stockport. This gentleman had previously entered the field to spoil the chances of Mr. P. Curran, a “Labour” man, at Jarrow bye-election (1907) and similarly at Bermondsey (1909) against Mr. Salter, another “Labour” man, and now as a reward (or as a gauge of his abilities) he is found a “safe seat” at Stockport, but — the irony of it — he had this time to run with a “Labour” man. When the result was known he declared : “My colleague and I kept ‘Down with the Lords’ and ‘Free Trade’ to the front.” Had Mr. Wardle of the Labour Party, the colleague in question, been anything more than a Liberal he would not have forgotten Jarrow and Bermondsey but would have resented association with this Liberal hack as an insult to organised Labour. Doubtless, however, four years environment “doing odd jobs in the Liberal workshop ” has lowered (as Mr. Curran himself would say) the moral outlook of this Laboural M.P.
 
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“Motor cars lent by Lord Llangattock and Lady St. Heller conveyed five working-men voters from Raglan, Monmouthshire to Walthamstow, a distance of nearly 200 miles by road.” (Evening News, 26.1.10.)
 
Comment is needless.
 
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Says Reynolds’ Newspaper (16.1.10): “Seeing that statements have been made to the effect that Mr. W. Thorne is a Labour plutocrat, it is as well to give his salary as organising secretary of the Gasworkers Union, it is £3 a week. In Parliamentary allowances he has about another £3 a week. The problem is how it is done on the Money.” Of course, the above sum is not all, but even at £6 a week the problem really is what the workers get for it; and there is little doubt that there are many even on the staff of Reynolds’ who would willingly take the job on at a lower figure, to say nothing of many of the unemployed who would make a much better job of it at half the price.
 
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Our Tottenham comrades are to be congratulated on having so far cornered Mr. P. Alden, M.P. as to get him to accept a challenge to debate publicly the claims of the Liberal Party to the confidence of the workers. More particularly so as in his constituency there are two branches of the Independent Labour Party and these are severely split over the support given by their members to this gentleman — who is ready to defend the Liberal Party in debate against a Socialist.

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