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Book Title:

The Good Old Days: Then and Now


The Good Old Days: Then and Now by S. Box

Published by: S. Box, The Firs, Marden, Hereford

Printed by: Reliance Printing Works, Halesowen, Worcs.

SECTION 2. Chapter 2.



The Labour candidate at the Parliamentary Election of 1918 issued the following address to the electors of the Hereford Division:—

Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the unanimous request of Trade Unionists, Co-operators and City and County members of the Herefordshire Labour Party, I have decided to stand as a candidate for the South Herefordshire Division at the next General Election. I consider this election ill-timed and unwise—ill-timed because it will disenfranchise thousands of workers, now being discharged from Government work. Let us speak in no uncertain manner through the Ballot Box of this betrayal of men's rights as citizens. I wish briefly to announce the principles for which I stand, and trust the electorate to give the verdict and say if they wish them carried into effect.


There must be no patching up of the old system, with its extremes of wealth and poverty, but a systematic recon­struction of the industrial and social relations to secure for all workers by hand or brain the full fruits of their labours. All soldiers, sailors and their dependants should have a just and generous provision for the future, free from all taint of pauperism or charity, and to secure their pensions without obnoxious conditions or reference to past or future conduct. To secure for all a living wage and subsistence during periods of unemployment until Society as a whole realises that it is the duty of everyone to render service for the good of the whole community. On these lines there will be no further need for long hours of labour, but time for education and recreation, so as to enable all to live a fuller life, with a just equalisation of labour and production. I stand for complete restoration of freedom of speech, of publication, of travel, residence and choice of occupation and educational facilities to make that choice. The immediate withdrawal of the Military Service Acts, and Defence of the Realm Act. Both these have now served their purpose. I favour Adult Suffrage without regard to sex, Nationalisation of Land, Railways and all Minerals in the interests of the people. I am opposed to any tax on food and the necessities of life. National income should be derived from taxes on superfluous wealth and death duties. I am convinced our Educational system should be overhauled so as to provide equal opportunities to the children of rich and poor, and well-paid teachers employed. The schools and colleges to be free from Militarism and Denominationalism. I would urge the prompt carrying through of a Comprehensive National Housing Scheme, and compel local authorities to make good the shortage of houses by well-planned, well-built homes.


For Agriculture, which is still our greatest industry, it is necessary to give security of tenure to farmer and worker alike.


I believe in absolute freedom of the home from any outside influences; freedom before convenience; health before profit; land for the people to grow food before game preserves and grouse shooting for the few; small holdings to enable enterprising and industrious labourers to become their master in preference to wage slavery; small farms to be let at the same rent per acre as the large; establishment of Rents Courts; land to be found for soldiers and sailors, and facilities given to enable them to have a new start in life, also the full development of village life.


The Old Age Pension Act needs drastic amendments to enable all to end their days in comfort. It should be the duty of the State to make provision for all suffering from chronic disease, and the Blind and Orphan Children. All Hospitals and kindred institutions should be maintained as a Government Department with a well-paid and efficient staff. The sacred duty of Motherhood should be provided for by adequate National Endowment. These with the question of Housing is essentially a woman's interest. I say to the Women Electors: What has been done for you in the past to make your life tolerable, and give your children a chance in life?


With regard to the International situation—I will be brief. I believe in a League of Nations, based on disarmament, self-determination of all peoples, economic freedom and a complete understanding between the democracies with regard to Industrial and Social relations: this means the right of the representatives of the workers of the belligerents at the Peace Conferences. In no case must any private firm in future own and control armaments. No secret treaty should be made or recognised and our Foreign Office should be under democratic control. Electors! It will be for you to decide at the Poll if you will be best represented in the Council of the Nation by a Landlord or Financial Magnate, who does not understand us, or our aspirations. Realising we are dependent on each other, our duty is for all to do our best to reconstruct society on the lines of a Universal Brotherhood, irrespective of race and creed or colour and for ever remove the last vestige of class domination.


If I have the honour of your support, I shall consider my life and work to be at the service of the Electors of the Hereford Division.


I am, Ladies and Gentlemen, Yours obediently,
S.  BOX.


Needless to state, we lost, but we had laid the foundations for future work, because we polled nearly 5,000 votes in the straight fight between Conservative and Labour, and the South Hereford Labour Party has fought all the General Elections except one, when Mr. Frank Owen, a Liberal, who defeated the Conservative in a straight fight.



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