From the July 1955 issue of the Socialist Standard
Ealing branch’s sales drive of the Socialist Standard during May was very successful; a total of 636 copies were sold, of which 283 were to new subscribers reached by the door-to-door canvass. The attendance of canvassers was always good—a number of members tried their hand for the first time and found the work a most agreeable appetiser for their Sunday roast beef and Yorkshire. New areas were canvassed in Brentford, Hounslow, White City, Eastcote (worked by one member on his own) and East Acton. 170 copies were sold to people who have been taking the STANDARD on the door long enough to count as “ regular readers.”
Canvassing is not all hard work; or rather, it is work with a spice to it Half-a-dozen comrades working on a street is an exhilarating sight; going from door to door, chinking the money, noting addresses for a call next month. Aqd there are good times afterwards, in the café or the “pub” with long talks and the atmosphere of comradeship thick like smoke in the air.
There are moments of humour too. Some time ago the STANDARD appeared with an article about football on the front page. One Ealing member, canvassing this issue, was confronted by a young woman. “I'll ask Dad if he wants it” she said, turning to call, “Dad! Do you want a book about football?” “No, I don’t!” came Dad’s reply, "You know I’m only interested in politics!”
Two members were covering a block of flats on a main road one windy morning in May and they agreed to split up and meet outside when each had finished his stint. The one who finished last, on coming out into the street, was surprised to see his companion darting and stooping this way and that in the middle of the road, avoiding the traffic with a palpitating turn of speed and agility. First reactions were that he had cracked under the strain (he is the branch literature secretary) and had taken leave of his sanity. But before the ambulance could be called he returned, breathless and oily, clutching a grubby scrap of paper on which he noted his sales for the morning. A passing wind, he explained, had whipped it from his hand into the road and it was valuable enough to take a few risks to recover!
All the effort in canvassing sifts itself down, over the years, into a hard core of regular readers. The Ealing member who has been taking the STANDARD to some of our older subscribers is almost a member of their families —they invite him in for coffee, lie takes them presents of sweets, has even visited them in hospital. They are good friends of the party, who really read our literature and. as one woman said, “... sit round the fire of an evening talking about the STANDARD.” An average of hours of work went into reaching each of these people. But they are overwhelmingly worth every second of it.