Sunday, 4 July 2010

Brilliant squeeze leaflet from 1945

Monday sees the 60th anniversary of the 1945 General Election-although the votes we not counted for a further three weeks so that the postal votes from Servicemen could be returned.

The Liberal candidate in Southport was Bob Martin (that's right the flea powder and petcare man) whose widow contributed to my General Election campaign in 1983. One of our older Birkdale members Mr Morris recalls the visit of  Archibald Sinclair. A fat lot of good it did us as 1945 remains one of the few occaisions we came third in this constituency.

Southport Liberals were also interested in the fate of another local candidate, Professor W. Lyon Blease, who was well known in the town for addressing Liberal meetings and contributing to the Southport Debating Society.
His election address appears below (Click on it to enlarge)
The Election Address comes to the Birkdale blog by a circuitous route. It belonged to Berney Shieldhome one of those servicemen whose postal votes delayed the counting of the election. Bernie was a prominent YL in Liverpool and back in 1926 he had chaired a YL meeting in the city that was addressed by David Lloyd George. He kept the envelope he was sent with the election addresses of all three candidates and passed it on to a prominent local historian and so it came to appear here.

One interesting bit of the address is the squeeze message on the back page:

A last word. Some of you, as members of the Labour Party or Commonwealth*, may feel inclined to vote Labour at this Election. If you regard an election as only an occasion for making a profession of political faith, that of course, is what you must do. But, if you regard an election as a means of getting something done, of enabling Parliament to promote  what you believe to be wise policies at home and abroad, you will see that your vote is cast effectively against the Conservative Party. That means that you must vote for me. Because it has no chance of success, the Labour Party did not worthwhile to contest East Toxteth in 1931 or in 1935; and it has no better chance of success now. If you vote for the Labour candidate in East Toxteth at this election you will, as a matter of plain, blunt factbe voting for the Conservative Party and its policies at home and abroad.

Now the artwork may leave a lot to be desired but the plain blunt truth is that as squeeze messages go it has a directness and an eloquence you don't always find today.

Professor Blease was part of the Law faculty at Liverpool and had previously fought Chorley (1910), Garston in 1950 and East Toxteth in 1945 as well as publishing 'A Short History of English Liberalism' in 1913.He was not the only member of the Law faculty who was an active Liberal. Seaborne Davies fought and held Lloyd George's seat at the by election following LL G's being created an Earl. He lost the seat at the 1945 election and so is on record as one of the shortest serving MP's ever. Amongst his students at Liverpool were two leading YLs of their day Cyril Carr and Gruff Evans. The flag of Liberalism is still bravely flying at the Liverpool Law department in the person of former YL chair and parliamentary candidate Kiron Reid.

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