It didn't take long to get the answer to my question: If Ramage's 1929 campaign song was the last to see action in a parliamentary battle in Southport which was the first?
The answer is : 'Ahr Jarge' for Southport sung to the tune of God save the Prince of Wales. It dates from the 1899 by election when George Pilkington fought and defeated C.B. Balfour who was cousin to Arthur Balfour the Tory leader of the House of Commons. Pilkington won easily-by Southport standards.
The Southport Guardian reports that after the declaration the victorious candidate went back to the Liberal Club and after speaking to the members his carriage took him past the Conservative Club (then on Neville St) and on to the Promenade on the way to his home Belle Vue on Lord Street West. On the top of Scarisbrick Avenue a band struck up 'Ahr Jarge for Southport' as he passed many supporters sang to him.
I was trying to imagine what would have in Tony Blair's brave new world if New Labour had managed to implement all their crazy 'tough' sounding law and order agenda. If we accept estimates that the Southport declaration-assuming that there are no recounts for Labours deposit-will be about 4.30am-I guess we would all get arrested, have our DNA taken and stored and no doubt marched to a cash machine in order to pay a spot fine!
There are some fine lines in the song which would fit in well to a modern day Focus :
He's always to be seen
He don't come just at 'lections
To grab our votes and run
Up to yon House in London
And say with us he's done.
Oh, jannock* that appears in the first verse means pleasant, honest, outspoken and generous. Those old Southport Liberals were a literate lot.
And finally a couple of corrections. I thought I was younger than Ramage when I fought Southport in 1983 and it turns out that I was by 4 years. Even younger was our old friend Baron de Forest who fought the first 1910 during which he celebrated his 31st birthday, which mean it was he whose record I took as I was 30 yrs and 5months old when I fought. 1983 also saw us topple Ramage's record for share of the vote.