Party News from the April 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard
Kingston Branch having passed through a comparatively inactive winter period has recommenced activities. The first outdoor meeting was held at Castle Street, Kingston, during election week with enthusing results. The station will commence, officially and regularly, on Saturday, April 18th, but meetings will be held there when branch speakers are available and weather permits before that date. The membership of the branch, which has remained numerically stationary for a long period, has begun to increase. The loss of Comrade J. Thorburn, who had to transfer to another branch, was a disappointment to the other branch members, but the return of Comrade G. Waters, transferred back from Lewisham Branch, has replenished the Kingston speaking strength. Three very active members who, although they remain on the branch roll, have had to take employment and find a residence in distant parts of the country, are, of course, unable to assist in local work for the time being. The meetings at Castle Street are the only activity contemplated for 1950 to date, but the steady influx of members may alter that very soon. Those friends and comrades who attended the Saturday evening meetings during the previous two years are cordially invited, requested—urged, to support those meetings again this year. Those who have contemplated membership of the party are reminded that the branch meets on alternate Thursdays at 9, Vicarage Road, Kingston, at 8 p.m. (meetings for April on the 13th and 27th), and that they can contact the secretary at 19, Spencer Road, East Molesey, Surrey; phone number, Molesey 4094.
Ealing Branch social and dance on March 11th, in the Princes Room, Ealing Town Hall, proved to be a great success. A good turnout of members together with a first-class orchestra and dance floor, and an efficient “refreshment” service, provided everyone with an enjoyable evening. This branch has had a fairly busy winter season, with four indoor meetings including one at Richmond. It is intended to wind up with two further efforts, one at Richmond on April 14th, with R. Critchfield as the speaker and the other at Ealing Town Hall on April 17th with C. Groves speaking. Plans for the outdoor season include the running of propaganda stations at Ealing Green on Saturdays, Heron Court, Richmond, on Sundays, and Turnham Green on Mondays. The last station replaces the one previously used at Shepherd’s Bush which has been abandoned owing to the difficulty of getting an audience. Three trips to the coast have been arranged, all of them to Southsea, in July, August and September. Members who have been to Southsea on previous propaganda excursions, will recall that this place has proved to be remarkably good for our propaganda efforts and it certainly warrants further attention.
The Parliamentary Committee has issued its provisional report on the General Election campaign in North Paddington and East Ham, South. The final report will be presented when the auditors have completed their work and a closer analysis of the meetings held, has been made.
In East Ham twelve outdoor meetings were held during the campaign and thirteen indoor meetings, three of them in the East Ham Town Hall. In Paddington we held two Town Hall meetings, four in the Emmanuel Hall, three in local schools and one at the Metropolitan Theatre, in addition to six outdoor meetings. Of the meeting at the Metropolitan Theatre the Parliamentary Committee says, "Probably one of the most successful in the history of the Party and it is no exaggeration to say the finest meeting held by any Party in the London area during the Election, both as to size and the manner in which it was conducted.”
During the campaign there was distributed in the two constituencies, 163,000 items of literature, comprising 25,000 Election Manifestoes delivered by hand, 50.000 Election Specials, distributed by hand, and 88.000 Candidates' Addresses delivered by post. 65,000 handbills were distributed, 50,000 of them in East Ham, the constituency being covered six times by members who undertook to distribute them. 1,100 posters were displayed in the two constituencies. Two separate units of loud-speaker apparatus were constantly in use in both constituencies and Party members and sympathisers used their cars as frequently as possible, nine cars being fairly constantly in use in Paddington and three vans and a car in East Ham.
More details of the canvassing efforts are to be given in the Committee’s final report, but we are told that bad weather curtailed much of the work.
The committee rooms at East Ham South cost us £36 for the six weeks and those at Paddington £49 1s. for the same period. This high cost was due to the shortage of shop accommodation.
The total costs for each constituency were. East Ham, South, £603 (approx.), and for Paddington, North, £615 (approx.), making an approximate total of £1,218. The income from collections at meetings amounted to approximately £130, leaving us with a total net expense of £1,088, which is £188 over our estimated figure. The committee devotes much of its report to recommendations for the next election, in particular to ways and means for cutting the expenses, based upon the lessons of this campaign. The report concludes with thanks "to all members in whatever capacity their work was performed for what was truly a wonderful effort of a voluntary organisation. It shows what revolutionary enthusiasm, which lies at the base of our socialist knowledge, can do, and will do, in the future.” The Parliamentary Committee is now engaged in collecting details of the number of Party members in each constituency throughout the country, the number of voters in each constituency and its geographical area. The collected information is to be presented to the Annual Conference which will discuss how many and which constituencies we shall contest at the next election. We are anxious to increase the number, but finances will determine. You can help with them. Send donations to the Parliamentary Fund addressed E. Lake, S.P.G.B.. 2, Rugby Street. London, W.C.l.
The Food Parcel, mentioned in these columns in our March issue, sent by our comrades in the Wellington Branch of the Socialist Party of New Zealand, for use by the catering committee at the Annual Conference, has arrived. It is a splendid parcel and we thank our New Zealand comrades most cordially for the kind thought and for their generosity.
The Manifesto of the Socialist Party of Ireland is ready and we are informed that quantities have been dispatched to us. They have not arrived at the time of writing. We hope to have them in time for our Conference on April 7th, 8th, and 9th, and to review the publication in the next issue of the Socialist Standard, which will also contain a report of Conference proceedings.