rollover preload

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 2A.



The Party is now a vigorous youth, increasing in strength, as proved by its nearly 13,000 votes at the 1950 election, while in the Leominster Division (North Hereford) a tougher proposition, as the rural votes are proportionately much higher than the South. Mr. Eddy Jones, the candidate at both the last two elections. He polled over 8,000 votes at the first and nearly 10,000 in 1951, so the political baby here has passed the teething stage, commencing to walk, to emerge later to a full-grown Labour man; who will eventually represent this constituency. When the agriculturalists, farmer and worker realise that the Labour Party placed the industry upon its feet by the passing of the Agricultural Bill during its tenure of office and power. The vast majority of thinking farmers agree.


Tom Williams

(Thomas) "Tom" Williams, (1888–1967) was a Labour Party politician

Tom Williams, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, was by far the best to safeguard the interests of both farmer and worker. Although it was well known we could not hope to win the election; like all causes, great works are performed not by strength alone but by perseverance. The party took that as a suitable guide, and put it into practice, for we immediately determined to work harder. We had polled nearly 5,000 votes, although the candidate had to travel to the village meeting on his push bike after working in the central committee rooms during the day. Mr. W. Collins acted as agent, assisted by a devoted band of workers, none being paid. The party has fought every election since with continuous growth, except in one instance.


This is only part of the story. The party determined to win seats on the City and County Councils, and have been highly successful. Mr. S. Box fought for 12 years before winning a seat on the County Council. This seat was held for 12 years. Labour won 9 seats on the City Council; these were held by Alderman W. Pigott, Coun. T. W. Grimmer, Coun. C. J. Gooding, Coun. E. O. Smith D'Lonra, Coun. H. C. Watkins, Coun. H. J. Wilmore, Coun. D. Shaw, Coun. C. H. Marchant, Coun. T. R. Stevens, and had Labour Mayors for three years—Mr. Fred Allcock, Mr. T. Powell and Mr. W. Pigott. There were four members on the County Council.


In the Leominster Division, a real Tory stronghold, Labour is gradually but surely building a strong Labour Party, having fought two General Elections, Mr. Eddy Jones, of Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, being the candidate in both the 1950 and 1951 elections, increasing the Labour vote in the constituency by nearly 2,000. Only a handful of supporters have kept the name alight at Leominster since 1947, and Mr. L. J. Winmill fought the Borough Elections year after year until 1952, when Mr. C. W. Harris, a member of a well-known Leominster family, was tried. At the second attempt the first seat for Labour was won and there was consternation in the Tory camp. Now Labour hold two seats, and with a new Parliamentary candidate (Mr. Fred Evans) in the constituency taking an active interest, the Labour following is getting larger every day.


While Herefordshire is noted for its cattle, hops and fruit, it is also noted for its reactionary political outlook, and in the past, by its attitude to education. Even the teachers had to strike a few years ago to obtain justice from the old fossils on the County Council, whose only thought was—save the rates at the expense of the public services. The result being the more progressive Councillors of to-day and the general public paying dearly through the rates for the neglect of the past. As for example: The building of the County Hospital, building of schools, etc., when men and materials were plentiful and cheap. It was a noted alderman who urged the Council to postpone the building of schools; but to be fair to the electorate, they were not consulted on his appointment so he could not speak from a democratic point of view.


Canon Bannister's Memorial

Canon Bannister's Memorial, Donnington

Canon Bannister, of Hereford, in his book, " Politics in the Pulpit," published in 1911, stated: The great struggle which lies before the nation in the coming years is that between the selfish and the unselfish ideals of a State; also the great need of our day is to apply this truth to ourselves and to Christianise our politics for that God, who spoke through his prophets, his loathing of sacrifices and solemn assemblies, when cruelties went unredressed, and the poor left to suffer without a defender; man has not changed his nature now, and one act of unrighteousness and wrong in our streets sounds more loudly in the ears of the Lord of Multitudes than all the chanting of all our choirs and intoning of our prayers. To purge our National Statute book of one unrighteous law—to place thereon one measure aiming at the good of men, is an offering more acceptable to God than countless sermons, hymns and prayers. Pride in this Empire, the Imperial spirit, a passionate and sometimes blind patriotism, has become a religion of many. I care more for men, women and children than for all the pride of race and imaginary geographical position—that is my patriotism.

The patriotism of the Jewish nation prior to the birth of Christ meant that they scrupulously obeyed the laws, became immensely wealthy and were honestly religious. One thing was lacking—social morality and social justice. Their commerce was full of fraud and exploited the labour of the poor; their priests loved money like the rest and Mammon was supreme. Their strength, cruel wealth, their peace, a selfish and immoral religion, which left out the struggling lives of the sweated poor.

Note: This is a picture of the state of the workers, until they were aroused by the modern prophets of the past. They sacrificed, they suffered, they dared, as the much loved Keir Hardy and George Lansbury, who were sent to prison for feeding the poor of Poplar above that ordered by wealthy law-makers in the good old days.

This reminds me of Bishop Linton Smith, when addressing a meeting at the Labour Club, Hereford, stated: When he was a young man and a curate in the East End of London, he saw the awful poverty and degradation there in contrast to the wealth and luxury of the West End. He was drawn to Socialistic ideas, but since then the Socialists had changed their position. At the end of his address I challenged this statement, pointing out that it was the Lord Bishop who had changed, since he now moved and worked in aristocratic circles. He hotly replied: " I cannot be a judge of my own actions." I retorted: " By their fruits ye shall know them." He invited anyone present to address the next Diocesan Conference of the Clergy. I immediately accepted and after the meeting we walked up the street together, he promising to send me the date, time and place of the conference. He did not do so, although I reminded him by letter, but he never replied.



Return to Book title | Previous chapter | Top | Next chapter