Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Notes On The Election (1945)

From the September 1945 issue of the Socialist Standard

Times change—politicians frequently fail to catch-up. Many candidates—Churchill the chief one—obviously banked on the old-time stuff of years ago which is hopelessly out of date with the modern electorate. The motor car tour of the country was exactly the same as when he contested the Abbey Division of Westminster twenty years ago—and according to Fenner Brockway, burst into tears, when he failed.

“ J.F.,” wrote in the Socialist Standard for April, 1924.
   “Mr. Churchill conducted his campaign as a “Show" or piece of buffoonery. Fighting men (boxers), jockeys, comedians, etc., were his principal speakers. Processions of highly decorated motor cars toured the streets, and the candidate joined in the procession at times. This gutter method cf conducting a campaign shows the shallow mind of the individual responsible for such a method. . . .
    One other fact emerged from this by-election. Practically all the capitalist press united in talking of 'Mr. Churchill’s brilliance,' his 'great gifts.' his remarkable abilities,' etc., but when one reads the carefully prepared speeches he gave, they turned out to contain nothing but stale and worn out platitudes. Any members of the working class, who wore led away by this praise of the press, will now be able to realise that Churchill is only a shallow-pa ed chameleon."
There were feeble attempts to put idiotic poems on posters—by the old time parties—thus, if a candidate had a name like Wright (Liberal), the electors were urged to do the "Wright ” thing (ugh!). A candidate called Noble (Conservative) inspired “Do your Noble deed on Tuesday” (?!) “Make Tuesday a Field day” (Labour), and so on; Rotherhithe was urged to send “Big-Ben” to Big Ben, as though a lot of candidate is desirable, which obviously disqualifies Miss Wilkinson, for example. In one London constituency the Conservative announced, in asking for votes that he was “Churchill’s man”; promptly came the answer of the Southwark Labour Party, “Vote for Naylor—Everybody’s Man.”

Another Labour candidate informed his astonished electors that he had been married 26 years; yet another in the course of a political biography, wrote “and then I met Margaret” (?!!) while the Communist Party informed Glasgow electors that Mr. Peter Kerrigan had been, when young, captain of a local football team. The Labour candidate for Nottingham West offered the view that “no economic machinery, no defensive devices, no diplomatic arrangements can ensure peace unless People undergo a change of heart,” which makes us wonder why he wants them to change their member—if it's the heart of the electors that’s wrong.

There is evidence to show that the modern tendency is for electors to vote Party tickets—NOT personal biographies. The day of the stunt-merchant and demagogue i6 ending.

It’s last representative-—Churchill is finished—at future elections—backed by an increasing Socialist challenge—candidates will face an unanswerable barrage of inquisitive questions from intelligent electors.

Already one Tory candidate has been forced to undertake one week's (one whole week) work down the coal mine as a result of a miner electors challenge. Another actually lived on the dole in Gorbals, Glasgow, for a week, saying afterwards "It could he done for one week—he would not express any further opinion.” This sort of thing is likely to deter quite a number of jobseekers at future elections.

Finally all the reformist Parties published statements saying. "Vote Thus”! With the spread of Socialist knowledge among the electors this ridiculous inversion will be replaced right side up—on its feet. The electors will instruct the candidate “Vote Thus "—for Socialism.

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