Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:16 am

East India Association
by The Open University: Making Britain
Accessed: 3/20/20

Date began: 01 Jan 1866

The East India Association was founded by Dadabhai Naoroji in 1866, in collaboration with Indians and retired British officials in London. It superseded the London Indian Society and was a platform for discussing matters and ideas about India, and to provide representation for Indians to the Government.

In 1865, the London Indian Society was founded under the guidance of Dadabhai Naoroji. It was formed by Indian students as a forum to air political grievances. Europeans were allowed to be honorary members but could not vote or hold office. Of the founding group of students, they included W. C. Bonnerjee, Manomohun Ghose, Pherozeshah Mehta and Badruddin Tyabji.

In 1866, the London Indian Society was superseded by the East India Association, although it did continue to exist in some separate form for a few more years.

-- London Indian Society, by The Open University: Making Britain

Naoroji delivered the first lecture to the Association on 2 May 1867. The Association's first President was Lord Lyveden.

In 1868, the East India Association had nearly 600 members. This had increased to 1,000 in 1878. Female members were admitted from 1912. The Association produced a journal (Journal of the East India Association) from its inception which included the papers that were delivered before their meetings. Papers and proceedings of these meetings were then produced in the Asiatic Quarterly Review, which eventually superseded the Journal of the East India Association.

The Asiatic Quarterly Review was founded by Sir Lepel Griffin in 1885. Griffin founded the journal as an organ of the East India Association and employed Demetrius Boulger as editor. In 1891, the scope of the journal was expanded beyond just Indian matters to South East Asia and the Middle East and therefore the name was changed to the Imperial and Asiatic Quarterly Review and Oriental and Colonial Record. The third series began in 1896 and was taken over by G. W. Leitner at the Oriental Institute at Woking. In 1913, the name was constricted back to the Asiatic Quarterly Review and the journal was edited by W. MacCarthy Mann and Gilbery Lyne. In 1914, it was published from London and renamed the Asiatic Review as it was now published more frequently during the year.

The journal combined articles from the proceedings of East India Association meetings with other articles on matters relating to Asia. It also included book reviews and comments on international affairs. The journal did not shy away from political matters, and actively encouraged debates from various standpoints. The Asiatic Review is a valuable resource for information about the activities of South Asians in Britain and a number of reviews of books relating to South Asia. In 1915, the journal began a regular section 'Where East and West Meet', written by A. A. Smith, editor of the Indian Magazine and Review, which gave a record of events in Britain relating to 'Asiatic questions'. The journal ceased publication in 1952.

-- Asiatic Review, by The Open University: Making Britain

These lectures were usually delivered in the Association's regular meeting place - Caxton Hall, Westminster (i.e., Westminster Town Hall). Over the course of its existence, the Association would listen to lectures from a wide range of Indian and British men and women on matters ranging from the economic development of India to literature to suffrage. In March 1940, after a lecture delivered by Michael O'Dwyer at Caxton Hall, the former Governor of Punjab at the time of the Amritsar Massacre was shot dead by Udham Singh.

The East India Association incorporated the National Indian Association in 1949 and became the Britain, India and Pakistan Association. In 1966 it amalgamated with the former India Society, now Royal India, Pakistan and Ceylon Society, to become the Royal Society for India, Pakistan and Ceylon.

Key individuals:

Dadabhai Naoroji


Syed Ameer Ali, Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree, W. C. Bonnerjee, R. C. Dutt, G. W. Leitner, Udham Singh.

Related organization:

India Society
London Indian Society
National Indian Association

Published works:

Asiatic Review

Journal of the East India Association

Secondary works:

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)


'The Jubilee of the East India Association (founded 1866)', Ch. I, Asiatic Review XI.29 (January 1917), pp. 1-14; p. 3


Ten installments (until July 1918) in the Asiatic Review on the history of the East India Association, with details of all the key lectures that were given in the first fifty years of the Association.


One of the chief objects Mr Naoroji had in view in founding the Association was the awakening of the British people to a due sense of their responsibilities as rulers of India, and his first endeavours were therefore directed to the dissipation of that 'colossal ignorance' of India which had so impressed him on his first arrival in England in 1855. Later on he saw how desirable it was that the Chiefs and Princes of India should be represented in this country, and that all possible assistance should be afforded them in laying their claims and views before Government for the protection of their interests and the redress of their grievances. So 'all persons interested in India' (whether Indians or Britons) were welcomed as Members of the East India Association.

Archive source:

Minute books, financial papers and correspondence, Mss Eur F147, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:26 am

Dadabhai Naoroji
by The Open University: Making Britain
Accessed: 3/20/20

Other names: The Grand Old Man of India
Date of birth: 04 Sep 1825, Bombay, India
Date of death: 30 Jun 1917, Bombay, India
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 01 Jan 1855
Dates of time spent in Britain: On and off between 1855 and 1907

Dadabhai Naoroji, of Bombay Parsee origin, was the first Indian to be elected to Parliament in Britain. Naoroji travelled to Britain in 1885 as a business partner of Cama and Company. A member of several businesses, he became Professor of Gujarati at University College, London (1856-65). He had also been founder-editor of the journal Rast Goftar in Bombay in 1851. He founded the London Zoroastrian Association in 1861.

The Zoroastrian Association was founded in 1861 in Kensington, London. According to Ralph Hinnells it was the first Asian religious association founded in Britain.

Dadabhai Naoroji was the first president, having founded the association with Muncherjee Hormusji Cama. The first meeting was attended by 15 Parsees. Under the presidency of M. M. Bhownaggree, it became the Incorporated Parsee Association of Europe. Various other Parsee organizations formed in Britain as well, such as the Parsee Social Union and the World Zoroastrian Association.

The Zoroastrian Association incorporated a religious, social and welfare role, with educational outreach. It also organized social outings. It oversaw Parsee burials at Brockwood. The Zoroastrian House in Kensington provided facilities as a guesthouse.

-- Zoroastrian Association, by The Open University: Making Britain

He was also founding member of the East India Association and London Indian Society, and became vocal in promoting Indian rights in regard to the ICS and trade. Naoroji was an economist and proponent of the 'drain theory', building up a detailed economic critique of British imperialism in India. He also established links with Irish MPs and was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress in 1885 in Bombay.

In 1886, Naoroji campaigned as Liberal Party candidate for the strongly Conservative seat of Holborn. In 1888, referring to Naoroji's defeat, the Conservative Party Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, remarked that an English constituency was not ready to elect a 'Blackman', drawing greater notoriety to Naoroji. In 1892, he contested the seat of Central Finsbury, campaigning on Gladstone's platform of Liberalism, and was successfully elected with a majority of five. He lost his seat in the General Election of 1895. In 1906, Naoroji stood as a candidate at Lambeth North but was again unsuccessful. In 1907, Naoroji left England to retire at Versova in Bombay, where he died in 1917.


Syed Ameer Ali, John Archer (Naoroji encouraged him to go into politics), Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree, W. C. Bonnerjee, Charles Bradlaugh, Josephine Butler, Madame Bhikaiji Cama, William Digby, Lalmohan Ghose, H. M. Hyndman, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (helped out in campaign), Frank Hugh O'Donnell, Elizabeth Adelaide Manning (through NIA), Florence Nightingale, Badruddin Tyabji, Alfred Webb, William Wedderburn, Henry Sylvester Wiliams (Naoroji encouraged him to go into politics).


Shyamaji Krishnavarma
Syed Ameer Ali
Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree
W. C. Bonnerjee
Madame Cama
William Digby
Lalmohan Ghose
Henry Mayers Hyndman
Mohammed Ali Jinnah
Elizabeth Adelaide Manning
Florence Nightingale
Frank Hugh O'Donnell
Shapurji Saklatvala
Badruddin Tyabji
Alfred Webb


East India Association
London Indian Society
National Indian Association
National Liberal Club
Zoroastrian Association

Involved in events:

General Elections, 1886, 1892, 1895, 1906

Published works:

Poverty of India (1876)

Mr D. Naoroji and Mr Schnadhorst (London: Chant & Co., 1892)

Poverty and Un-British Rule in India (1901)


The First Indian Member of the Imperial Parliament (Madras: Addison & Co., 1892)

Fair Play, India and Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji MP (Madras: Higginbotham & Co., 1893)

For press reaction to Naoroji's election as MP in 1892 see Biographical Magazine, Evening News and Post, Punch, Pall Mall Gazette, among others

Secondary works:

Burton, Antoinette, 'Tongues Untied: Lord Salisbury's "Black Man" and the Boundaries of Imperial Democracy', Society for Comparative Study of Society and History (2000), pp. 632-61

Hinnells, John R., Zoroastrians in Britain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996)

Masani, R. P., Dadabhai Naoroji. The Grand Old Man of India (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1939)

Monk, C. J. , ‘“Member for India?” The Parliamentary Lives of Dadabhai Naoroji (MP: 1892-1895) and Mancherjee Bhownaggree (MP: 1895-1906)’, unpublished MPhil thesis (University of Manchester, 1985)

Mukherjee, Sumita, ‘‘Narrow-majority’ and ‘Bow-and-agree’: Public Attitudes Towards the Elections of the First Asian MPs in Britain, Dadabhai Naoroji and Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownaggree, 1885-1906’ Journal of the Oxford University History Society 2 (Michaelmas 2004)

Ralph, Omar, Naoroji. The First Asian MP. A Biography of Dadabhai Naoroji: India's Patriot and Britain's MP (St John's Antigua: Hansib, 1997)

Schneer, Jonathan, London 1900: The Imperial Metropolis (London: Yale University Press, 1999)

Visram, Rozina, Asians in Britain: 400 Years of History (London: Pluto Press, 2002)

Parekh, C. L. (ed.), Essays, Speeches, Addresses and Writings of the Honourable Dadabhai Naoroji (Bombay: Caxton, 1887)

Patwardhan, R. P. (ed.), Dadabhai Naoroji Correspondence (Bombay: n.p., 1977)

Archive source:

Dadabhai Naoroji Parliamentary Centenary Celebrations, Mss Eur F279, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Letters in William Digby Collection, Mss Eur D767, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Minute books of East India Association, Mss Eur F147/27, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Papers and correspondence, National Archives of India, New Delhi

Notes relating to possible candidature in 1903-1910, Labour History Archive, Central Lancashire
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:33 am

Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden [Lord Lyvedon]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/20/20

The Lord Lyveden
Secretary at War
In office: 6 February 1852 – 21 February 1852
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: Lord John Russell
Preceded by: Hon. Fox Maule
Succeeded by: William Beresford
President of the Board of Control
In office: 3 March 1855 – 21 February 1858
Monarch: Victoria
Prime Minister: The Viscount Palmerston
Preceded by: Sir Charles Wood, Bt
Succeeded by: The Earl of Ellenborough
Personal details
Born: 23 February 1800
Died: 10 November 1873 (aged 73)
Nationality: British
Political party: Whig; Liberal Party
Spouse(s): Lady Emma Mary Fitzpatrick
Alma mater: Christ Church, Oxford

Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden, GCB, PC (23 February 1800 – 10 November 1873), known as Robert Vernon Smith until 1859, was a British Liberal Party politician.

Background and education

Vernon was the son of Robert Percy Smith, of 20 Savile Row, London, and of Cheam, Surrey, and the nephew of The Rev. Sydney Smith, Canon of St Paul's. His mother was Carolina Maria Vernon, daughter of Richard Vernon. Vernon was educated at Christ Church, Oxford (2nd class classics 1822).

Political career

He was elected Member of Parliament for Tralee in 1829, a seat he held until 1831, and then sat for Northampton from 1831 to 1859. When the Whigs came to power in 1830 under Lord Grey, Vernon was appointed a Lord of the Treasury (government whip), which he remained also when Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister in July 1834. The Whigs fell from office in November of that year, but returned already in April 1835, when Vernon was appointed Secretary of the Board of Control by Melbourne, which he remained until 1839. He then served as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1839 to 1841. The latter year he was also admitted to the Privy Council. He did not hold office again until February 1852, when he was made Secretary at War in the first administration of Lord John Russell. However, the government fell already the same month. When the Liberals (as the Whigs were now known) returned to office in 1855 under Lord Palmerston, Vernon was appointed President of the Board of Control, with a seat in the cabinet, a post he retained until the government fell in March 1858. The Indian Mutiny took place during his tenure. The following year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Lyveden, of Lyveden in the County of Northampton.,[1] and in 1879 he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB).[2]

In 1845 he was appointed one of the Lay Commissioners in Lunacy.[3]


Greville Richard Vernon, son of Lord Lyveden.

Lord Lyveden married Lady Emma Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter and co-heir of the Earl of Upper Ossory, in 1823. In 1846 he assumed for his children by Royal licence the surname of Vernon in lieu of Smith and in 1859 he assumed for himself by Royal licence the same surname in lieu of Smith. Lord Lyveden died in November 1873, aged 73, and was succeeded in the barony by his son Fitzpatrick. Lord Lyveden was a member of the Reform Club, the Travellers Club, and Brooks's.

He tomb is located in the church of St Andrew in Brigstock, Northamptonshire.

Tomb of Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden in St. Andrew's church, Brigstock, Northamptonshire


1. "No. 22280". The London Gazette. 28 June 1859. p. 2514.
2. "No. 23876". The London Gazette. 16 July 1872. p. 3190.
3. Kathleen Jones (2003). Lunacy, law, and conscience, 1744-1845: the social history of the care of the insane. Routledge. p. 191. ISBN 0-415-17802-9.

Vernon's tomb in Brigstock


• Kidd, Charles, Williamson, David (editors). Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage (1990 edition). New York: St Martin's Press, 1990,[page needed]
• Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages

External links

• Works by or about Robert Vernon, 1st Baron Lyveden at Internet Archive
• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Robert Vernon
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:55 am

Lepel Griffin
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/20/20

Sir Lepel Henry Griffin

Sir Lepel Henry Griffin, KCSI (20 July 1838 – 9 March 1908) was a British administrator and diplomat during the British Raj period in India. He was also a writer.

Early life

Lepel Henry Griffin was born in Watford, England on 20 July 1838. His father, Henry, was a clergyman in the Church of England and his mother was Frances Sophia. His mother had been married previously and thus Griffin had ten half-siblings as well as two full sisters.[1]

Griffin was educated briefly at Harrow School, having also attended Malden's Preparatory School, Brighton. He did not go to university but was privately tutored for the competitive examination for entry to the Indian Civil Service. He sat and passed those examinations during 1859 and 1860, being ranked tenth among the 32 successful candidates.[1]


He reached India in November 1860 and was posted to Lahore.[1] The mannerisms of Griffin had attracted attention in India from the time of his arrival there, and in 1875 Sir Henry Cunningham satirised him in the novel, Chronicles of Dustypore,[1] in which he was depicted as the character Desvoeux.[2][3] Katherine Prior, the author of his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, describes that, "He was a dandyish, Byronic figure, articulate, argumentative, and witty. Anglo-Indian society was at once both dazzled by and scornful of his languid foppishness and irreverent tongue".[1]

In 1880 he became Chief Secretary of the Punjab.[4] He was sent as a diplomatic representative to Kabul, at the end of the Second Afghan War.[5] He was then Governor-General's Agent in Central India and Resident in Indore; and Resident in Hyderabad.

He collaborated with the pioneer Indian photographer Lala Deen Dayal.[6]

After his return to the United Kingdom, he was Chairman of the East India Association.][7]

He was a proponent of an Anglo-American union, he addressed a meeting on 15 October 1898 in Luton, on the subject of the suggested Anglo-American union, Col. John Hay, the former United States Ambassador at London attended the meeting.[8]


Griffin died at his home – 4 Cadogan Gardens, Sloane Street, London – on 9 March 1908 after suffering from influenza. He was cremated and his ashes were interred at a private chapel owned by Colonel Dudley Sampson in Buxhalls, Haywards Heath, Sussex. His wife remarried, while the younger of his two sons, Sir Lancelot Cecil Lepel Griffin became the last political secretary of British India.[1]


• The Panjab Chiefs. Lahore: T. C. McCartney-Chronicle Press. 1865.
o The Panjab Chiefs. 1. Updated by Charles Francis Massy (New revised ed.). Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press. 1890.
o The Panjab Chiefs. 2. Updated by Charles Francis Massy (New revised ed.). Lahore: Civil and Military Gazette Press. 1890.
 Revised as Chiefs and Families of note in the Punjab (1909)
• The Law of Inheritance to Chiefships. Lahore: Punjab Printing Company. 1869.
• The Rajas of the Punjab (1873)
• Famous monuments of Central India (1886)
• The Great Republic (Second ed.). London: Chapman and Hall. 1884.
• Ranjit Singh. Rulers of India series. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1892.


1. "Griffin, Sir Lepel Henry (1838–1908)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33576. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
2. Cunningham, Henry Stewart (1875). The Chronicles of Dustypore, a Tale of Modern Anglo-Indian Society. 1. London: Smith, Elder and Co.
3. Cunningham, Henry Stewart (1875). The Chronicles of Dustypore, a Tale of Modern Anglo-Indian Society. 2. London: Smith, Elder and Co.
4. Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series by George Robert Aberigh-Mackay – Full Text Free Book (Part 3/3)
5. Abdur Rahman Khan – 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
6. Life Sketch (Lala Deen Dayal 1844 – 1905)
7. "The Maharaja Scindia and the East India Association". The Times (36853). London. 22 August 1902. p. 8.
8. The Anglo-American Feeling – Sir Lepel Henry Griff... The New York Times: PDF

External links

• Works by Lepel Griffin at Open Library
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:45 am

Salme Pekkala-Dutt
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/20/20


Salme Pekkala-Dutt (née: Salme Anette Murrik) (29 August 1888 – 30 August 1964) was an Estonian-British communist politician, wife of Rajani Palme Dutt.

The Finnish-Estonian author Hella Wuolijoki was her elder sister.

Murrik was also grandaunt of Finnish Social Democratic politician Erkki Tuomioja.


Erkki Sakari Tuomioja (born 1 July 1946) is a Finnish politician and a member of the Finnish Parliament. From 2000 to 2007 and 2011 to 2015, he served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was President of the Nordic Council in 2008.

Tuomioja is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland, although his political views are thought to be more to the left than the party line. He is also a member of ATTAC. In the past, Tuomioja has dated the former Finnish president Tarja Halonen.

Tuomioja comes from a family of politicians. His father Sakari Tuomioja was a prominent liberal Finnish politician and diplomat, and the challenger of Urho Kekkonen for the conservatives and liberals in the 1956 presidential elections. His maternal grandmother was Hella Wuolijoki, the Estonian born writer and socialist activist.

Tuomioja holds the degrees of Master of Social Sciences (1971) and Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration (1974) from the Helsinki School of Economics, as well as Licentiate in Social Sciences (1980) and Doctor in Social Sciences (1996) from the University of Helsinki. In addition to Finnish, Tuomioja speaks Swedish, English, French, German and Estonian.

Tuomioja has been a member of the Finnish Parliament 1970–1979 and 1991–present. He held the position of Minister of Trade and Industry in Lipponen's 2nd government, and became the Minister of Foreign Affairs after Tarja Halonen was elected the President of Finland. Tuomioja is the longest serving Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Tuomioja, like several other Finnish socialist politicians of today, took part in the illegal occupation of the Old Student House (Vanha ylioppilastalo) in Helsinki on 25 November 1968. He was a member of the anti-war group Committee of 100 of Finland and took part in the so-called Erik Schüller case, in which a group of students made public incitement against obligatory conscription. Despite his anti-war stance, Tuomioja did carry out his own mandatory military service and is a reservist staff sergeant.

Tuomioja is the author of several books. His A Delicate Shade of Pink about his grandmother Hella Wuolijoki and her sister Salme Murrik won the Non-Fiction Finlandia Prize in 2006.
The book was originally written in English and translated to Finnish as Häivähdys punaista.

Tuomioja was behind the initiative to establish Historians without Borders in Finland as an NGO. He has acted as Chairman of the Board of HWB Finland since the founding meeting in the summer of 2015.

Tuomioja is a declared atheist.

-- Erkki Tuomioja, by Wikipedia

Salme Murrik was born in Helme Parish, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire (present-day Estonia), and spent her childhood in Valga. She was expelled from the A.S. Pushkin Gymnasium in Tartu due to her participation in the Revolution of 1905, and moved to Moscow, and to Siberia, and Finland before settling in Britain. Her first husband was notable Finnish left wing politician Eino Pekkala, brother of Mauno Pekkala.

Eino Oskari Pekkala (29 November 1887 − 30 September 1956) was a Finnish lawyer and politician. He was a member of the Parliament of Finland, representing the Socialist Electoral Organisation of Workers and Smallholders 1927–1930 and the Finnish People's Democratic League 1945–1948. In the 1920−1930s, Pekkala was twice in prison for his political activities, and he was even kidnapped by the fascist Lapua Movement in 1930.
The Lapua Movement (Finnish: Lapuan liike, Swedish: Lapporörelsen) was a Finnish radical nationalist and anti-communist political movement founded in and named after the town of Lapua. After radicalisation it turned towards far-right politics and was banned after a failed coup-d'état in 1932. Anti-communist activities of the movement continued in the parliamentarian Patriotic People's Movement.

-- Lapua Movement, by Wikipedia

As the political situation in Finland changed after the World War II, Pekkala was the Minister of Education 1945–1946, and the Minister of Justice 1946–1948.

In his youth, Pekkala was a talented athlete. His greatest achievements were three Finnish Championship titles in decathlon.

His brother was the Prime Minister of Finland Mauno Pekkala....

Mauno Pekkala (27 January 1890, in Sysmä – 30 June 1952) was a Finnish politician and Prime Minister from 1946 to 1948.

Pekkala was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland and member of several wartime cabinets as Minister of Finance from December 1939 to February 1942. Pekkala left the party after the Continuation War.

After the war, Pekkala joined the Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL), an alliance of communists, socialists and social democrats. He served as the Minister of Defence between April 1945 and March 1946.

He was candidate in the 1950 presidential election. Pekkala also belonged to the Socialist Unity Party which worked inside the SKDL.

Mauno Pekkala was the brother of Eino Pekkala.

-- Mauno Pekkala, by Wikipedia

In 1919, Pekkala was one of the key figures of the left-wing opposition of the Social Democratic Party which soon became the Socialist Workers' Party of Finland. In May 1920, Pekkala was arrested, and given a 1,5-year sentence for his activism in the Komintern-related party. Since 1926, Pekkala and Asser Salo had a law firm in Helsinki. In the late 1920s, Pekkala was active in the Left Group of Finnish Workers which criticized the underground Communist Party of Finland. In the 1927 parliamentary election, Pekkala was elected to the parliament as a member of the Socialist Electoral Organisation of Workers and Smallholders (STPV).[2][3]

In 5 July 1930, the fascist Lapua Movement kidnapped Pekkala and Jalmari Rötkö from the meeting of the Constitutional Law Committee and took them to their headquarters in the Ostrobothnia province. On the following day, Pekkala and Rötkö were handed over to the authorities, after the Minister of Interior E. V. Kuokkanen gave an order to arrest all 23 STPV parliamentarians. As the anti-Communist laws were passed, Pekkala was given a 3-year sentence in November 1930 for an intent to commit a treason.[2][4] In July 1933, Pekkala took part on a hunger strike in the Tammisaari forced labour camp. The strike ended as five political prisoners died of forced feeding.[5]

After his release, Pekkala worked as a lawyer in Helsinki. During the World War II, he assisted arrested Communists and activists of the anti-war resistance. His clients included Pellervo Takatalo, Aimo Rikka and Martta Koskinen who were all given the capital punishment. Pekkala managed to change Takatalo's and Rikka's sentences for life in prison, but Koskinen was executed in September 1943.[6][7]

As the war was over, the Communist organizations were legalized, and Pekkala was re-elected to the Parliament in the 1945 parliamentary election representing the Finnish People's Democratic League. In 1945–1946 he served as the Minister of Education, and 1946–1948 as the Minister of Justice. In 1946–1947, Pekkala was a member of the special court of the War-responsibility trials set by the Allies. Pekkala left the politics in 1948, and ran a law firm in Helsinki until his death in September 1956.[2]

-- Eino Pekkala, by Wikipedia

During the early years of the Communist Party of Great Britain, Murrik, a Comintern agent, acted as Dutt's link to Moscow.[1]
The Communist International (Comintern), known also as the Third International (1919–1943), was an international organization that advocated world communism. The Comintern resolved at its Second Congress to "struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state". The Comintern had been preceded by the 1916 dissolution of the Second International. Its members included the Soviet Union, Tuvan People's Republic, and the Mongolian People's Republic.

The Comintern held seven World Congresses in Moscow between 1919 and 1935. During that period, it also conducted thirteen Enlarged Plenums of its governing Executive Committee, which had much the same function as the somewhat larger and more grandiose Congresses. Stalin, head of the Soviet Union, dissolved the Comintern in 1943 to avoid antagonizing his allies in the latter years of World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom.

-- Communist International, by Wikipedia

Salme Murrik had been directed to Britain on Lenin's orders to participate in forming the Communist Party there. She remained an ardent admirer of Stalin even after Khruschchev's 1956 secret speech critical of Stalin's cult of personality.

Salme Dutt's treatment of the Chartist movement, When England Arose, was published in 1939. A collection of poems, entitled Lucifer and Other Poems, was published in London in 1966. Salme Dutt died in the city in 1964.


1. David Harker, Tressell


• (in Estonian)


• John Callaghan “Rajani Palme Dutt, British communism, and the Communist Party of India″ - Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, Volume 6, Issue 1 March 1990, pages 49 – 70
• Andrew Thorpe The British Communist Party and Moscow 1920-43, Manchester University Press, 308 s., Midsomer Norton 2000
• Erkki Tuomioja Häivähdys punaista Helsinki:Tammi, 2006 (Swedish translation: Ett stänk av rött: två systrar i revolutionens tjänst Stockholm, 2008, Estonian: Õrnroosa: Hella Wuolijoe ja Salme Dutti elu revolutsiooni teenistuses, Tallinn, 2006, the English manuscript is entitled A delicate shade of pink)


Salme Dutt - Full time revolutionary and gray cardinal who felt like an orphan
by Heili Reinart [Translated from Estonian]
May 22, 2018

Salme Dutt

Hella Wuolijoki's sister, Salme Dutt, is named a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. No job is reported to have been there. Above all, Salme was an ideologue and political activist, a full-time revolutionary and a gray cardinal.

Salme Murrik in the footsteps of her sister

The roots of the fractures were in Saaremaa, where they had moved south to Viljandi County.

By the time Henn Murrik married Liisa Tõrvandi, Murriku's farm was quite prosperous. The family was unlucky when Henn died suddenly at the age of 47. The protracted quarrel over the legacy forced the family to abandon the farm.

Thus his son Ernst Murrik did not continue farming, but worked as a writer and school teacher for Taagepera. He married Kadri Kokamäe, whose father Ott owned the Lupe farm. Although the family was rich, when Kadri Ernst went to the man, he had to earn extra money for the family as a tavern. It was in this tavern that Ella Marie was born in 1886 and Salme Anette was born on August 17, 1888, followed by Albert Leonhard (Leo) in 1891, Erna Amalie (Mimmi) in 1893 and Linda Irene (Niina) in 1897. Older children spent their first summers happily at Lupe Farm. Then they moved to Valka, where the father became a lawyer.

In 1899, Salme started her schooling at Valga Girls' School. German was spoken at home. They also spoke some Estonian and Russian. Following the example of Sister Ella, Salme entered Tartu Pushkin Gymnasium in 1903. Together, they found an apartment in Postimees' journalist's house, Aadu Jaakson, on Tähtvere Street. It wasn't a healthy environment - Jaakson had tuberculosis. Ella didn't get sick, but Salme did.

Hella Murrik-Vuolijoki, AM F 255: 241 F, University of Tartu Museum.

Ella drove her younger sister to the Postimees districts, where Jaan Tõnisson, who he adored, played the lead role. The cooler and tallest verses soon departed from this and began to go more closely with the August Hanko student group, which was critical of Tõnisson, though there was more giggle and pose than conviction in its members' plowing. Salme was not particularly interested in politics at the time, he was a supporter of Lev Tolstoy's views. Stubborn, serious, and unyielding, he didn't need his court, like Sister Ella, and took his ideology too seriously.

From Tartu to Moscow

In the atmosphere of Tartu in 1905, it is difficult to imagine anyone being able to remain independent and immune to social movements. Not a single bunch of fellow students' free love, as Tõnisson called it, sympathized with the verse, and the rather unstable and hedonistic atmosphere of the intellectual circles also challenged him. Without saying anything, Salme literally kicked Pushkin's high school at the age of 17. Worse still, for a long time he did not even write at home and no one knew his whereabouts or activities. The official biography states that he was expelled from school for his revolutionary activities, but the family tradition does not believe this is the case.

The young girl had suddenly had the urge to start an independent life. Salme just drove to Moscow. He was spiritually independent and self-confident. It was a great achievement that he got into Moscow's Catherine II Gymnasium and managed to maintain himself at the country's most expensive school. With the help of Director Berezhkova, he made money by giving private lessons to less talented students from wealthy families to pay for their studies. Hella has written that Salme not only earned his $ 200 tuition fee in private lessons in Moscow, but also helped another schoolmate from Tartu to Moscow.

At the time of the December 1905 uprising, the girls were forced to sit in a room because their apartment was in Moscow, where the most fierce fighting took place. From there they were taken to a safe place by Aleksander Põrk, who became known as a student of Tartu, who was working at the Rumjantsev Museum at that time. Whether or not this experience made Salm a socialist and revolutionary is unknown. When Salme returned to Valka by the summer of 1906, he already had a number of radical and anti-religious beliefs.

Salme also brought his 12-year-old sister Mimmi to study in Moscow. The girl graduated from high school with a gold medal. His official biography mentions his entry into the Bolshevik Party at this point, but there is no obvious proof of this. It is possible that it was constructed later in the woman's biography. But he was still somewhat involved with the revolutionaries. Their apartment was searched. At that time, the girls pretended to read calmly and nothing was found. However, an underground printing press was found in the same building and friends advised Salmel to leave Moscow.

Exacerbation of the disease

The girl then drove to Verhneudinski, a family of wealthy millionaires, on the shores of Lake Baikal, near Irkutsk, near the rich family. But unfortunately, he could not hold this position for long. Health deteriorated and tuberculosis brutally erupted in an unfit climate. Salme wrote to Mimmy: "I'm sick. I will never cure this disease. Who knows, maybe I only have a few years to live. Don't write it home. » Mimmi did not write, but rushed in. When his long journey to Siberia was over, Salme just got out of hospital. Mimmi went on to study at the local gymnasium and took care of Salme, who paid their living expenses by providing private lessons. In August 1908, the sisters returned to Moscow and immediately traveled to Tartu, where Dr. Luiga recommended treatment for Salme at a Finnish sanatorium.

In the autumn, his father delivered his ill daughter to Finland. Salme was taken to Nummela Sanatorium 40 km from Helsinki. When he got there, he constantly had 39 degrees fever. Salme stayed in Nummela for a year and was apparently healthy. At the spa he became friends with the Finnish-Swedish poet Edith Södergran, with whom he shared the evil of smoking.

After returning to Tartu for a while, Salme soon returned to Helsinki and lived with Hella and Sulo Wuolijoe in Albergas. Mimmi and Niina also went to Helsinki to finish their studies. Selma was planning to go to university, but it didn't work out because she couldn't afford to leave Reincke's office as an office clerk.

Marrying Eino Pekkala and entering politics

Eino Pekkalat was first mentioned by Salme in a letter to his parents in April 1913, and two weeks later he had already written about arranging a wedding and asked for a loan. When Salme and Eino got married the same year, they moved to Hämeenlinna, where Eino had a history teacher position in high school.

Eino Pekkala from Seinäjoki was an athletic man who had held the title of Finnish Sports King in the Decathlon for many years. After graduating from the University of Tampere, he had received a teaching position. Strait did not like this provincial town and returned to Helsinki. Thanks to her husband, she was now able to study at the university, where she received her law degree in 1918. Eino Pekkala was a member of the Social Democratic Party, but there is no indication that Salme was in any way involved in politics at the time.

While he was studying at Salme University, his sister enriched Hella with hanging around. On December 6, 1917, Finland declared its independence and after a month and a half, a civil war broke out between red and white. In addition, German General von der Golz's troops soon landed on Hankos. The most fierce battles were Tampere. The war ended with the victory of White-Finland on 15 May 1918.

In the autumn of 1918, Hella opened her own showroom in Helsinki. Salme began working as a lawyer whose skills were most needed and valued by the Reds after the Civil War. As the first generation of the demigods had been executed or gone to the ground, Sulo Wuolijoki, Eino Pekkala and Ivar Lassy were the central figures in the founding of the Finnish Socialist Workers' Party. From now on, Salme was also an active political figure. He had been noticed by a number of communists moving in Hella's cabin.

Otto Kuusinen.

One of these was Otto Ville Kuusinen, who founded the Finnish Communist Party and with whom Salme began to communicate more closely as long as he had to go to Soviet Russia. The future modernist poet Elmer Dictonius became an important link between Kuusinen and Salme. He came from a Swedish-speaking minority, was not politically active, but favored revolutionary outcasts. Between 1919 and 1922 Dictonius wrote 106 letters to Salme Pekkala, from which it can be concluded that they were lovers, at least for some time. There are also clues that Salme had also had an affair with Kuusinen. Both men were known for their love of women.

Agent Maud

In March 1920, Salme Pekkala went to London. He may have been sent there by Kuusinen, the secretary of the Comintern Executive Committee, but his interest in the country may also have been aroused by frequent contact with the British on the British side at his sister's salon in Helsinki.

Salme Pekkala arrived in England legally, meeting Estonians, Finns and Englishmen who had nothing to do with the Bolsheviks. He had letters of recommendation from Philip Snowden, George Bernhard Shaw, and Bertrand Russell, which had been provided to him by Sister Hella. He did indeed meet them. In a letter to Hella, he only mentioned his theater visits, language studies, city tours with Ants Piib, and hinted that he might not be returning. This interaction with the depot on the left was a "leisure pastime", unlike cooperation with revolutionaries.

Salme's underground agent was Maud and was led by representatives of Komintern from both Helsinki and Stockholm. He was also sent to another agent, Frederique, under the name of Erkki Valtheim. Maud and Frederique sent their first report to Stockholm in the summer and it was full of revolutionary optimism. It expressed the hope that the Labor Party might split up and partially join the Communist Party once it was created.

Rajani Palme Dutt

Rajani Palme Dutt.

William Gallacher introduced Salme Pekkala to Rajan Palme Dutt. Rajani was a tall, handsome and very intelligent man, polite and a little shy and without any particular personal demands. Salme had recently gone through a series of passionate but lousy relationships and the prospect of a more balanced and lasting partner might have pleased him. Their relationship became stable and stable, though not outwardly passionate.

Raji was of Indian-Swedish descent, with relatives in both countries. He was born in 1896 in Cambridge. Her doctor's father had settled in the UK and married Anna Palm, a Swedish-born man. Palms were the foundation of Swedish citizenship. Anna's brother Gunnar became CEO of Thule Insurance Company and his son later became Social Democrat Prime Minister Olof Palme. Upendra and Anna Dutt had three children, of whom Rajani was the youngest. He had studied ancient Greek and Roman literature at Oxford University and graduated with very good grades.

Dutt's radicalism came from home. The father had been an ardent Indian nationalist, and his home was also visited by Jawaharlal Nehru. Raji considered teaching in India but then gave up and went on to work as an international secretary in the Labor Research Department. The Labor Research Department had become a communist nursery after World War I, and Rajani Dutt was just one of them. He remained in the department until 1922.

Underground Years

The British Communist Party was founded in July 1920. The founding members include Theodore Rothstein, Sylvia Pankhurst, Cecil Malone, and always Rajan Dutt and Salme Pekkala. Albert Inkpin was elected Secretary-General. It has not been established whether Salme was actually present at this founding congress. However, Pekkala was so influential that he was nominated by the party as his ambassador to the next Congress of Comintern.

In November 1920 Dictonius also traveled to London. Romance with Strait did not continue. She introduced her to Lydia Stahl and Mary Moorhause, who became her heirs to the vital poet. Mary had met Mary through Rajan Dutt. Miss Moorhouse had a high class background and education. During the war at the university he was radicalized and he also became a founding member of the Communist Party.

In May 1921, Salme left England and traveled through Estonia to the Third Congress of the Comintern, held in Moscow. He couldn't legally return, but had to go under the floor. In August and October, he wrote to parents from Wiesbaden and Berlin and asked for Nora's alias.

In January 1922, Salme wrote a letter of assistance to Tyyne Haver, the sister of Sulo Wuolijoki, from Paris. He was in southern France, feeling sick again, but being chased by the Finnish and English governments. «I have no passport and no country receives me. I live here under a pseudonym. My only hope is to divorce Eino and become the legal subordinate of the country where I can work and improve my health. Can you, dear Tyyne, talk to Eino and make it clear that she has to, really have to agree. " This period of his life in conspiratorial apartments has not been found later by either Salme or Rajan. It has been speculated that by at least 1922 Salme had illegally obtained and collaborated with Dutt, who had founded the communist magazine Labor Monthly.

The following year both were in continental Europe. Rajani was sent to Stockholm and Brussels as a senior member of the British Party's Politburo, and the key to his position was the high seat in the Komintern, where he faithfully supported the Moscow route. From there he was also ordered to establish Workers Weekly, a non-partisan magazine. The written word was what Dutt gained power and was fruitful. He became an ideologue and he wrote many books. Salmet was still plagued by health and economic concerns. She received help from both Eino Pekkala and her sister Hella. Rajani met Hella Wuolijoki in Moscow in 1923 while Hella was in business there. She immediately attacked her: «What did you do to my sister? Where is he? You have to say. " Of course, Raji did not say, the communists could keep their mouths shut on security issues.

Divorces and marriages

Salme and Eino only filed for divorce papers in October 1923 and received divorce by January. In July, Eino Pekkala had been to Sweden where Salme introduced her to Mary Moorhouse, who lived and worked with Rajan and Salme in Saltsjöbaden. The verses encouraged their relationship. When the Pekkalas got divorced, Mary went to Finland and lived with Eino Pekkala. Mary and Eino got engaged in 1925 and married in 1928 when their daughter, named Salme, was born. Between the betrothal and the marriage, Mary lived mostly in Brussels and assisted Salmet and Raji Dutt. In 1927 Eino Pekkala was elected a Member of the Finnish Parliament.

The marriage of Salme and Rajani Dutt took place in Sweden in 1924 to obtain the approval of the Palmede Family Society, who themselves considered 1922 as the beginning of their marriage. After their marriage, the Dutts lived in Stockholm for about a year before settling in Brussels, where they stayed for ten years. Raj had health problems and more in Salme. Partly due to tuberculosis in his youth, he still suffered from asthma, arteriosclerosis and transient paralysis of the forearms. They often required treatment in Wiesbaden or Berlin. Money from Moscow and elsewhere did not make Dutte rich. Their lifestyle remained ascetic - tea, bread and sardines were the main food, and Salme was completely different from her older sister.

Gray cardinal

One thing the security services were interested in was Medea Art and Industry Ltd, founded by Mary Moorhouse and Salme Dutt to sell "lace, tapestries and other handicrafts" and art, with branch offices open in Tallinn and Helsinki. In Tallinn, the company recruited Salme's niece Ljalja Murrik. The company was suspected of money laundering and undermining. The doubts were not confirmed and the company's work stopped quietly.

What exactly Salme dealt with is unknown. In any case, this involved reading a lot of newspapers and taking notes. Salme never had any office in the party. However, he had some directing influence over both Party Secretary General Pollitt and her husband. That is why he has been called the gray cardinal. Rajani Dutt did not publish any important article if the woman did not approve of her views. It was believed that the wisdom of Komintern was echoed by Salme Dutt, and the woman could use that belief. In a letter to his father, Salme complained that there was so much work to do that when the day was over, his work was over.

Salme was delighted when Hella allowed her 15-year-old daughter, Vappu, to live with the Duttis in Brussels in the summer. But she was concerned about the young girl's receptiveness: "... her affection for everything veiled, unhealthy, mysterious, cubby, and sunshine in every art form, from painting to dance." He advised the wicked girl to make her love what "real life is". Sometimes Salme showed greater care and understanding of Vappu than her own mother.

Public party work in London

In 1936, the Dutts moved into their home in North London. This opened a new era in Salme's activities. He began writing and giving lectures in the party community under his own name and published a rare article on abortion in Daily Worker. At the peak of his writing was the brochure "When England Woke Up" on the centenary of the Chartist uprising. In the 1930s he was hit by a poem of poetry, the result of which was published only in 1966 under the title "Lucifer and Other Poems". During his lifetime he tried to publish them under a pseudonym, but they were not received anywhere.

While the membership of the Communist Party grew rapidly before World War II, war broke through. Dutt and Pollitt also had disagreements. However, plans to open the government's second front were jointly supported to alleviate the situation in the Soviet Union. In 1945, two communists even entered the British Parliament, but they were once again forced by the Cold War. The war had also ended Komintern's activities.

Dutt's post-war years in seclusion

In June 1946, Hella Wuolijo River was a grand celebration of its 60th birthday. Hella was then at the peak of her political power. His relatives and acquaintances had formed the Finnish government. President Paasikivi was his friend. Eino Pekkala was the Minister of Justice. Salme and Raji could not go to their birthday, because that is when Rajani Dutt first traveled to India, where he met Nehru and Gandhi. Salme did not come to India like he had never before sent Raji on official missions abroad. However, Hella herself went on a visit to London that same year as a BBC guest, and with her sister Salme had an unusually busy and busy day.

Next year at Hella in Finland, the Duttis spent summer with Pekkalate, Kuusinen, Tuomiojad and Yrjö Leino. This was Salme's last trip abroad. When Sister Niina died in Tallinn in 1948, none of the Frogs were shot to the funeral. However, Salme's belief in Moscow's ideology was not shaken by the occupation of his native country or Stalin's rule in Finland. When Stalin died, Rajani Dutt praised him as a genius who was said to have liberated humanity. After the 1956 CPSU congress in Moscow, he had to give in to Khrushchev's new direction. Rajan was respected in the party but never really became popular. With her back, she was often clattered and laughed and considered the woman's slipper. The Duttes lived a rather lonely and lonely life in which they were each other's best companions.

The main reason for the separation of the verse was largely his poor health. «Do you think I like my private life and the fact that I have to limit the amount of people I want to meet and the time they spend with me, that I also have to limit the work I want to do, to reject all invitations receptions, etc. » he wrote to Hella in 1952. Only for Hella did he talk about his headaches caused by the tumor. When Hella died in 1954, Salme wrote to Vappu that he felt like an orphan. After that, he only met with relatives Vappu and Sakari Tuomioja. The latter was a Finnish ambassador to London from 1955 to 1957.

Salme Dutt died on August 30, 1964. There were no relatives at the funeral. Rajani died ten years later. The Communist Party of the United Kingdom ceased its activities in 1991.

Erkki Tuomioja, Gentle Pink. Varrak 2006
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 21, 2020 7:32 am

Hella Wuolijoki
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/21/20


Hella Wuolijoki (née Ella Marie Murrik; 22 July 1886[1] – 2 February 1954[1]), also known by the pen name Juhani Tervapää, was an Estonian-born Finnish writer known for her Niskavuori series.[2]

Early life

Wuolijoki was born in the hamlet of Ala [et] in Helme Parish, Valga County, Governorate of Livonia. She began her studies in Tartu, before moving to Helsinki in 1904. In 1908, she married Sulo Vuolijoki, a personal friend of Lenin.

Sulo Ilmiö Wuolijoki (April 12, 1881 Hauho - June 24, 1957 Luopioinen) was a Finnish lawyer, journalist, politician and Member of Parliament.

Sulo Wuolijoki was born at the Vuolijoki Manor in Hauho. His father was Rustollar and Member of Parliament Juho Wuolijoki, b. 1843, and his mother Serafina Antintytär Lagervik, b. 1851 in Hähkäniemi, Kärkölä. His brother Wäinö Wuolijoki was also a well-known politician.

Sulo Wuolijoki entered the Jyväskylä Lyceum in 1897 for fifth grade, where his classmates included Edvard Gylling, Martti Kovero and Otto Wille Kuusinen. This connection later played a major role in his political career. Sulo Wuolijoki visited Jyväskylä Lyceum of 1897-1900, when he moved to Helsinki and the Finnish Normal Lyceum he graduated from high school in 1901. He studied at the University of Helsinki, was completed a Bachelor of Arts in 1907. He was a founding member in 1905 with the old koulutoveriensa Edvard Gylling, Martin Kovero and Otto Wille Kuusinen as well as with his brother Wäinö Student Social Democratic Association and Socialist Magazine.

Wuolijoki became an active Social Democratic politician after the Great Strike and served as a Member of Parliament from 1907 to 1914.
At that time he became known as a particularly active defender of the Laukko Manor's crofters in their eviction dispute in 1907. He had become acquainted with crofters' issues in particular through his schoolmates Gylling and Kovero, both of whom had at one time argued about crofters.

In 1913 Sulo Wuolijoki withdrew from active politics and later worked as a lawyer, newspaper and writer in Helsinki and Riihimäki. Civil War after he was detained Isosaari detention camp, which was kept white "politically dangerous" class to the red.

Wuolijoki wrote 1905 words of Finnish international labor movement's theme song International (Internationale) together with Otto Wille Kuusinen, Yrjö Sirola and Pertti Uotila. The song quickly became quite popular with the labor movement.

Sulo Wuolijoki married 1908 Estonian student Ella Maria Murrik. The marriage ended in 1923, but Ella adopted the name Hella, which made her a renowned politician and playwright, and general manager of the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Sulo and Hella Wuolijoki's daughter Vappu married Ambassador Sakari Tuomioja.

Sakari Severi Tuomioja (August 29, 1911, Tampere - September 9, 1964, Helsinki) was a Finnish politician and diplomat who served as Prime Minister of Finland in the Ministry of Supply in 1953 and Governor of the Bank of Finland in 1945–1955. He was also the Ambassador of Finland to London and Stockholm.

Tuomioja was the first Finn to hold high UN positions. He is especially remembered for his role as mediator in the Cyprus crisis and his sudden death while in the process of performing his duties. Tuomioja was also the first Finn to be invited to meetings of the Bilderberg Group.

-- Sakari Tuomiojam by Wikipedia

Their son is Erkki Tuomioja.

Erkki Sakari Tuomioja (born July 1, 1946 in Helsinki) is a Finnish Social Democratic politician. He served as Finland's Foreign Minister from 2000 to 2007 and from 2011 to 2015. From 1999 to 2000, he was Minister for Trade and Industry. He worked as a Member of Parliament from 1970 to 1979 and since 1991.

Tuomioja holds a doctorate in economics and an economist. Tuomioja is the Vice Chairman of the Paasikivi Society ...
Paasikivi Society ( Sw. Paasikivi-samfundet, in english, Paasikivi Society) is a Finnish "night frost set up" after a social club in foreign policy, the purpose of which was to establish the Paasikivi-Kekkonen line of Finnish foreign policy, domestic politics, especially among the skeptical social actors. The club is named after JK Paasikivi, the president of Finland. The club started its activities as an informal discussion club ("Victorian district") in the autumn of 1956, officially launched in November 1958 at the Finnish Literature Society House in Helsinki. Jan-Magnus Jansson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Helsinki, was the main initiator of the Society. In the 1960s, the Society published the Foreign Policy Magazine.

In the early years of its activities, the Paasikivi Society visibly endorsed President Urho Kekkonen's foreign policy line and announced that it would accept as members only those whom it considered as supporters of the Paasikivi-Kekkonen line. As a result, the club was forced to defeat Kekkonen's political opponents - the political right and the SDP, for a military wing. Following the 1962 presidential election, the club took a more reserved stance on domestic politics and focused on foreign policy awareness.

The Paasikivi Society was the initiator of the establishment of the Institute for International Affairs in 1964.

-- Paasikivi Society, by Wikipedia

and a member of the Helsinki Cooperative Society Elanto Representative Council. He is also a member of Attac, the Arab Peoples' Friendship Association, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, the Hundred Committee [The Committee of One Hundred]...
The Hundred Committee is a Finnish pacifist and anti-militarist, non-party political and religiously independent peace organization. The Hundred Committee was established in 1963. Among its goals are declaring, among other things, disarmament, the abolition of general military service, the dismantling of militaristic structures in society, a change in security policy based on the well-being of citizens, human rights, democracy and increased international cooperation.

-- The Committee of One hundred, by Wikipedia

... the Freedom to Choose Again movement and the Finnish Historical Society.

Tuomioja is an associate professor of political history at the University of Helsinki. He has written several books on foreign policy and political history. Tuomioja is also a founding member of the Historians Without Borders Association, founded in 2015 and has been chairman of its board ever since.

-- Erkki Tuomioja, by Wikipedia

-- Sulo Wuolijoki, by Wikipedia

They divorced in 1923. Later, Wuolijoki began spelling her name with a W.



Wuolijoki wrote several books under the male pseudonym Juhani Tervapää that were characterised by strong female characters. The 1947 film The Farmer's Daughter was adapted from her 1937 play Juurakon Hulda, which she also wrote as Juhani Tervapää.[3] She collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the initial version of his Mr Puntila and his Man Matti. She collaborated with Bertolt Brecht on the initial version of his Mr Puntila and his Man Matti.


In the 1920s and 1930s, Wuolijoki hosted a literary and political salon that discussed culture and promoted left-wing ideas. She had secret connections with the Soviet intelligence and security structures. The Finnish police suspected her of being an illegal resident spy, but there was no solid proof until 1943, when she was arrested for hiding Kerttu Nuorteva, a Soviet paratrooper spy on a mission to acquire information about the political sentiment and the German troops in Finland, and sentenced to life imprisonment. She was released in 1944, after the ceasefire that ended the Continuation War.


Wuolijoki was a member of the Finnish Parliament and the head of the SKDL parliamentary group from 1946 to 1947.
Finnish People's Democratic League (Finnish: Suomen Kansan Demokraattinen Liitto, SKDL; Swedish: Demokratiska Förbundet för Finlands Folk, DFFF) was a Finnish political organisation with the aim of uniting those left of the Finnish Social Democratic Party. It was founded in 1944 as the anti-communist laws in Finland were repealed due to the demands of the Soviet Union, and lasted until 1990, when it merged into the newly formed Left Alliance. At its time, SKDL was one of the largest leftist parties in capitalist Europe, with its main member party, the Communist Party of Finland, being one of the largest communist parties west of the Iron Curtain. The SKDL enjoyed its greatest electoral success in the 1958 parliamentary election, when it gained a support of approximately 23 per cent and a representation of 50 MPs of 200 total, making it the largest party in the Eduskunta.

SKDL joined several Finnish governments. The first SKDL minister was Yrjö Leino who took office in November 1944. After the 1945 parliamentary election SKDL was a major player in the Paasikivi III coalition with social democrats and parties of the centre, and in 1946 SKDL's Mauno Pekkala became the prime minister. The Pekkala government led the state until summer 1948, after which the SKDL didn't participate in any coalitions until 1966. The late 1960s governments, led by social democrats and including centre, were called popular front by the SKDL. The party left the government in spring 1971 but returned in 1975. Kalevi Sorsa's third coalition was the last one SKDL was in, until December 1982.

-- Finnish People's Democratic League, by Wikipedia

Wuolijoki also served as the director of the national broadcasting company, YLE, from 1945 to 1949.
Yleisradio Oy (Finnish), literally General Radio or General Broadcast; Swedish: Rundradion; abbr. Yle ([yle]), is Finland's national public broadcasting company, founded in 1926. It is a joint-stock company which is 99.98% owned by the Finnish state, and employs around 3,200 people in Finland. Yle shares many of its organizational characteristics with its UK counterpart, the BBC, on which it was largely modelled.

-- Yle, by Wikipedia

Personal life

Her younger sister, Salme Dutt, was an influential member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Wuolijoki was the grandmother of Erkki Tuomioja (b.1946), Finland's minister for foreign affairs between 2011 and 2015.


Wuolijoki died in Helsinki in 1954, aged 67.


1. Hella Wuolijoki in the Free Online Encyclopedia
2. Wuolijoki, Hella. Eesti Entsüklopeedia 10. Estonian Encyclopaedia Publishers, Tallinn, 1998
3. Liukkonen, Petri. "Hella Wuolijoki". Books and Writers ( Finland: Kuusankoski Public Library. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013.

External links

• Hella Wuolijoki in 375 humanists 9.1.2015, Faculty of Arts, University of Helsinki
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:26 am

Willie Gallacher [William Gallagher] (politician)
by Wikipedia
For other uses, see William Gallacher.

Willie Gallacher
Member of Parliament for West Fife
In office: 14 November 1935 – 23 February 1950
Preceded by: Charles Milne
Succeeded by: Willie Hamilton
Personal details
Born: 25 December 1881,Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: 12 August 1965 (aged 83), Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Political party: Communist Party of Great Britain (from 1921)
Other political affiliations: Independent Labour Party; Social Democratic Federation; Communist Labour Party (until 1921)

William Gallacher (25 December 1881 – 12 August 1965) was a Scottish trade unionist, activist and communist. He was one of the leading figures of the Shop Stewards' Movement in wartime Glasgow (the 'Red Clydeside' period) and a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. He served two terms in the House of Commons as the last Communist Member of Parliament (MP).

Early career

Gallacher was born in Paisley, Scotland on 25 December 1881, the son of an Irish father and a Scottish mother. His father died when he was seven years old, and one of his earliest ambitions was to earn enough money so that his mother would no longer have to work as a washerwoman. With his sisters, he finally achieved this goal at the age of nineteen, but his mother died shortly afterwards at the age of 54.[1]

He began working at ten years old, and left school aged twelve. After a spell as a delivery boy for a grocer – where he had his first dispute with an employer – he found work in a sanitary engineering workshop. He later had a spell as a steward on some transatlantic crossings, before beginning work at Albion Motor Works, Glasgow, in 1912. After spending 1913 in the United States visiting his sisters in Chicago, he erected scaffolding in Belfast. Returning to Glasgow, he again found work at Albion Motor Works in 1914, just before the First World War broke out.[2]

The "weakness for alcohol" shown by his father and elder brother, and the suffering this caused his mother, led him to become involved with the Temperance movement in his mid-adolescence. However, on discovering that colleagues had canvassed support for a director of a Trust Public House in the 1906 General Election, Gallacher ended his association with the organised Temperance movement. He remained a lifelong teetotaller.[3]

A subsequent period as a member of the Independent Labour Party ended quickly and he joined the Social Democratic Federation, which brought him into contact with John MacLean. In common with many socialists in mid-west Scotland, Gallacher was greatly influenced by MacLean, though they were later to have an acrimonious falling out. The Paisley branch of the SDF introduced him to John Ross Campbell, who would also become a prominent British Communist and the editor of the Daily Worker from 1949-1959.[4]

Wartime activities

Gallacher was opposed to British involvement in World War I.[5] He was Chairman of the Clyde Workers' Committee, an organisation that was formed to organise Clydeside workers and, in particular, to campaign against the Munitions of War Act 1915, which forbade engineers to leave the works in which they were employed. David Lloyd George and Arthur Henderson met Gallacher and the Clyde Workers' Committee in Glasgow, but they were unwilling to back down on the issue. In 1916 the Clyde Workers' Committee journal, The Worker, was prosecuted under the Defence of the Realm Act for an article criticising the war. Gallacher and the editor John Muir were both found guilty and sent to prison, Gallacher for six months and Muir for one year.

Gallacher and the 40 Hours Movement

After the war Gallacher was involved in the struggle for improving workers' conditions. It was widely expected that the end of the war would be followed by widespread unemployment due to the re-entry of large numbers of demobilised soldiers and seamen into the workforce. Glasgow was expected to be particularly badly affected because a large proportion of its workforce was employed in war-related areas such as munitions and shipbuilding, which would suddenly contract with the end of the war. Gallacher and the Clyde Workers' Committee proposed a campaign to limit working-hours to thirty hours per week, which was altered to forty hours per week after the Glasgow Trades Council became involved. In January 1919, the CWC and Trades Council launched a mass strike in support of the demand for a 40-hour working week.

During the course of the agitation, the police broke up the mass rally of striking workers at George Square, Glasgow on 31 January 1919. The Coalition government greatly overreacted to the strike, thinking that a Bolshevik insurrection was about to begin on Clydeside, and sent British Army troops and tanks onto the streets of Glasgow to control the situation.
Whilst revolution was the furthest thing from the minds of the trade union leaders of the day, Gallacher later claimed that they should have marched to the barracks in the Maryhill district of the city and encouraged the Scottish troops there to leave them and join the workers against the government. The union leaders of the strike were arrested and charged with "instigating and inciting large crowds of persons to form part of a riotous mob". Gallacher was sent back to jail, being sentenced to five months.

Political career

In 1920, Gallacher became a leading figure of the Communist Labour Party. He led the grouping into the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and stood for election to the House of Commons at Dundee (both in 1922 and 1923), West Fife (1929 and 1931) and Shipley (1930). He was eventually elected to represent the West Fife constituency at the 1935 general election.

In 1925, Gallacher was one of twelve members of the Communist Party convicted at the Old Bailey under the Incitement to Mutiny Act 1797, and one of the five defendants sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment. In 1936, Gallacher supported the views of members of the Labour Party such as Stafford Cripps and Aneurin Bevan who were arguing in favour of giving military assistance to the Spanish Popular Front government fighting against Franco's Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War.

Gallacher lost his West Fife seat to the Labour Party at the 1950 General Election, coming third behind the National Liberal candidate. He remained politically active serving as President of the CPGB from 1956 to 1963.[6] In an article published in the party's Labour Monthly in April 1953 he appraised the career of Joseph Stalin; the Soviet leader had died the previous month, concluding with the assertion that "his life ended with his work completed, for the Party and the Soviet people still under his wise guidance will go forward, resolute as he was resolute—to the new truly free society of Marx and Engels, of Lenin and of Stalin".[7]

Gallacher was the author of several books, including The Case for Communism (1949), his autobiography, The Chosen Few (1940), and The Tyrant's Might is Passing (1954). He also wrote a book about his experiences during the First World War, Revolt on the Clyde, and The Last Memoirs of William Gallacher.

Gallacher died in Paisley on 12 August 1965, aged 83.

See also

Mary Docherty



1. Gallacher, William (1978) [1936]. pp. 1–4.
2. Gallacher, William (1978) [1936]. pp. 7–17.
3. Gallacher, William (1978) [1936]. pp. 4–6.
4. Gallacher, William (1978) [1936]. pp. 15–16.
5. Gallacher, William (1978) [1936]. pp. 28–29.
6. "Gallagher Retires as Leader of the Communist Party". The Glasgow Herald. 16 April 1963. p. 7. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
7. Gallacher, William (April 1953). "Tribute to Stalin". Labour Monthly. Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017 – via


• Gallacher, William (1978) [1936]. Revolt on the Clyde: An autobiography (4th ed.). London: Lawrence and Wishart. ISBN 978-0-85315-425-9. OCLC 4740566.[1]

External links

• Works by or about Willie Gallacher at Internet Archive
• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Willie Gallacher
• Gallacher, William (1881–1965) at the Marxist Internet Archive: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People: Ga
• Writings by William Gallacher at the Marxists Internet Archive
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

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John Maclean (Scottish socialist)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/21/20

John Maclean
John Maclean MA
Bolshevik consul in Scotland
In office: February 1918 – Unknown
Vice-President (Honorary) of the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets
In office: 23 January 1918 – 31 January 1918
Personal details
Born: 24 August 1879[1], Pollokshaws, Scotland, UK
Died: 30 November 1923 (aged 44), Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Resting place: Eastwood New Cemetery
Citizenship: British
Nationality: Scottish
Political party: Scottish Workers Republican Party
Other political affiliations Communist Labour Party; Socialist Labour Party SDF (later BSP); Co-op movement
Spouse(s): Agnes Maclean
Alma mater: University of Glasgow
Profession: Schoolteacher, Politician

John Maclean (24 August 1879 – 30 November 1923) was a Scottish schoolteacher and revolutionary socialist of the Red Clydeside era.

He was notable for his outspoken opposition to the First World War, which caused his arrest under the Defence of the Realm Act and loss of his teaching post, after which he became a full-time Marxist lecturer and organiser. In April 1918 he was arrested for sedition, and his 75-minute speech from the dock became a celebrated text for Scottish left-wingers. He was sentenced to five years' penal servitude, but was released after the November armistice.

Maclean believed that Scottish workers were especially fitted to lead the revolution, and talked of "Celtic communism", inspired by clan spirit. But his launch of a Scottish Workers Republican Party and a Scottish Communist Party were largely unsuccessful. Although he had been appointed Bolshevik representative in Scotland, he was not in harmony with the Communist Party of Great Britain, even though it had absorbed the British Socialist Party, to which he had belonged. In captivity, Maclean had been on hunger strike, and prolonged force-feeding had permanently affected his health. He collapsed during a speech and died of pneumonia, aged forty-four.


Early life

Maclean was born in Pollokshaws, then on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. His father Daniel (Scottish Gaelic: Dòmhnall MacIllEathain; 1843–1888) was a potter who hailed from Bo'ness [2] and his mother Ann (1846–1914) came from Corpach.[3][4][5] His parents spoke Gaelic[6] and he was raised in a Calvinist household, Maclean trained as a schoolteacher under the auspices of the Free Church and then attended part-time classes at the University of Glasgow, graduating with a Master of Arts degree in 1904. (Maclean often used the letters M.A. after his name when being published).

Political development

Maclean first came to politics through the Pollokshaws Progressive Union and Robert Blatchford's Merrie England. He became convinced that the living standards of the working-classes could only be improved by social revolution and it was as a Marxist that he joined the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), and remained in the organisation as it formed the British Socialist Party.

In 1906, Maclean gave a series of speeches in Pollokshaws which led to the formation of an SDF branch there, and through these, he met James D. MacDougall, who became his strongest supporter for the remainder of his life.[7]

Maclean was also an active member of the Co-operative movement and it was his prominent role that led the Renfrewshire Co-operative Societies to pressurise local school boards to provide facilities for adult classes in economics.[8]

Marxist educator

By the time of World War I, his socialism was of a revolutionary nature, although he worked with others on the Clyde Workers' Committee who were more reformist in outlook, such as his friend James Maxton. He heavily opposed the war, as he felt it was a war of imperialism which divided workers from one another, as he explained in his letter to Forward (transcript).[9][10]

His politics made him well known to the authorities of the day, and on 27 October 1915 he was arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act[11] and Govan School Board sacked him from his teaching post at Lorne Street Primary School.[12] As a consequence, he became a full-time Marxist lecturer and organiser, educating other Glaswegian workers in Marxist theory. He would later found the Scottish Labour College.

During World War I, he was active in anti-war circles and was imprisoned in 1916 for breaching the Defense of the Realm Act,[6] but was released in 1917 after demonstrations following the February Revolution in Russia.

Relationship with Russia

In January 1918 Maclean was elected to the chair of the Third All-Russian Congress of Soviets and a month later appointed Bolshevik consul in Scotland.[13][14] He established a Consulate at 12 South Portland Street in Glasgow but was refused recognition by the British Government.[15]

As a revolutionary enemy of what he saw as an imperialist war, Maclean was fiercely opposed to the stance adopted by the leadership of the BSP around H. M. Hyndman. However he was not to be a part of the new leadership which replaced Hyndman in 1916.


Maclean was a supporter of Home Rule for Ireland but originally opposed an Independent Ireland because he was afraid that an Independent Catholic Ireland would be disastrous. He later became committed to Irish independence as part of a worldwide anti-imperialist struggle.[16] He wrote a pamphlet called 'The Irish Tragedy: Scotland's Disgrace' which sold 20,000 copies. Following the Easter Rising he had contacts with members of the Scottish Divisional Board of the Irish Republican Brotherhood[17] In the summer of 1907 he went on a speaking tour of Ireland, here he made friends with Jim Larkin.[16] When the Easter Rising happened he distanced himself from it because he viewed it to be a Bourgeois-democratic revolution and in contradiction with his pacifist principles.[16]

In July 1919 he visited Dublin for the first time and gave speeches. By the end of his life his attitude to Ireland had been radicalised and he gave up his opposition to physical force Irish republicanism. He described the Irish War of Independence as "The Irish fight for freedom", defended killings of "scabs and traitors to their race", and condoned the assassination of a magistrate, Alan Bell, saying "What self-respecting man or woman can blame the Irish for ridding the earth of such a foul skunk?". He saw the war in Ireland as strengthening the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, arguing that "Irish Sinn Féiners, who make no profession of socialism or communism, ... are doing more to help Russia and the revolution than all we professed Marxian Bolsheviks in Britain".[6]

He saw Irish independence as being a positive thing for Scotland. Maclean believed that the British "starve [Irish] youths out of their native land" and that the ending of this British policy in Ireland would decrease Irish emigration to Scotland, thus allowing for more opportunities for Scottish workers.[6]

When the Government of the Irish Free State started executing its opponents during the Irish Civil War Maclean wrote a letter of protest to W. T. Cosgrave expressing his "dismay".[6]

Trial and imprisonment for sedition (1918)

On 15 April 1918, Maclean was arrested for sedition.[18] He was refused bail and his trial fixed for 9 May in Edinburgh. He conducted his own defence in a defiant manner, refusing to plead and when asked if he objected to any of the jurors replying, "I object to the whole lot of them." The prosecution case was based on the testimony of witnesses who had attended his meetings, who quoted extracts from his speeches using notes they had written up from memory after the meeting. Maclean objected to his words being taken out of context, saying. "The main parts of my speech, in which my themes are developed are omitted. I want to expose the trickery of the British government and their police and their lawyers."[19]

This speech from the dock has passed into folklore for the Scottish left. Lasting for some 75 minutes, Maclean's speech began :

Maclean delivering his famous 'Speech from the Dock'.

It has been said that they cannot fathom my motive. For the full period of my active life I have been a teacher of economics to the working classes, and my contention has always been that capitalism is rotten to its foundations, and must give place to a new society. I had a lecture, the principal heading of which was "Thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not kill", and I pointed out that as a consequence of the robbery that goes on in all civilised countries today, our respective countries have had to keep armies, and that inevitably our armies must clash together. On that and on other grounds, I consider capitalism the most infamous, bloody and evil system that mankind has ever witnessed. My language is regarded as extravagant language, but the events of the past four years have proved my contention.

He went on to say:

I wish no harm to any human being, but I, as one man, am going to exercise my freedom of speech. No human being on the face of the earth, no government is going to take from me my right to speak, my right to protest against wrong, my right to do everything that is for the benefit of mankind. I am not here, then, as the accused; I am here as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot.

His speech concluded:

I have taken up unconstitutional action at this time because of the abnormal circumstances and because precedent has been given by the British government. I am a socialist, and have been fighting and will fight for an absolute reconstruction of society for the benefit of all. I am proud of my conduct. I have squared my conduct with my intellect, and if everyone had done so this war would not have taken place. I act square and clean for my principles. .... No matter what your accusations against me may be, no matter what reservations you keep at the back of your head, my appeal is to the working class. I appeal exclusively to them because they and they only can bring about the time when the whole world will be in one brotherhood, on a sound economic foundation. That, and that alone, can be the means of bringing about a re-organisation of society. That can only be obtained when the people of the world get the world, and retain the world.

He was sentenced to five years' penal servitude, and imprisoned in Peterhead prison near Aberdeen. However, a militant campaign was launched for his release:

The call 'Release John Maclean was never silent. Every week the socialist papers kept up the barrage and reminded their readers that in Germany Karl Liebknecht was already free, while in 'democratic' Britain John Maclean was lying in a prison cell being forcibly fed twice a day by an India rubber tube forced down his gullet or up his nose. 'Is the Scottish Office' asked Forward. 'to be stained with a crime in some respects even more horrible and revolting, more callous and cruel, than that which the Governors of Ireland perpetrated on the shattered body of James Connolly?' [20]

Following the armistice on 11 November, he was released on 3 December 1918, returning to Glasgow to a tumultuous welcome.

Eleven days later, Maclean was the official Labour Party candidate at the general election for the constituency of Glasgow Gorbals; he won a respectable vote but failed to unseat the sitting MP, a former Labour MP who had defected to support for Lloyd George's coalition government.

Formation of the Communist Party

As the BSP was the main constituent organisation which merged into the newly formed Communist Party of Great Britain, Maclean was alienated from the new party despite his support for the Communist International. He developed a belief that workers in Scotland could develop in a revolutionary direction more swiftly than their comrades in England and Wales, and in 1920 he attempted to found a Scottish Communist Party. This group renamed itself the Communist Labour Party and dropped Maclean's distinctive positions, so he left in disgust. He attempted to found a new Scottish Communist Party, without success. It seems that he may have become a member of the Socialist Labour Party at this time.

In 1923 Maclean founded the Scottish Workers Republican Party, which combined Communism with a belief in Scottish independence.

He opposed the British Empire saying in November 1922 "I hold that the British empire is the greatest menace to the human race...the best interest of humanity can therefore be served by the break-up of the British empire.[21]

Maclean's call for a Communist Republic of Scotland was based on the belief that traditional Scottish Gaelic society was structured along the lines of "community". He argued that "the communism of the clans must be re-established on a modern basis" and raised the slogan "back to community and forward to communism".[22]

John Maclean's casket being removed from his Pollokshaws home on Auldhouse Road.

Death, legacy, reputation and in popular culture


His stay in Peterhead Prison in 1918 caused a considerable deterioration in his health, being force fed through hunger strikes.[23] Milton quotes a letter that Agnes, his wife, wrote to Edwin C. Fairchild (a leading member of the British Socialist Party):

Well, John has been on hunger strike since July. He resisted the forcible feeding for a good while, but submitted to the inevitable. Now he is being fed by a stomach tube twice daily. He has aged very much and has the look of a man who is going through torture... Seemingly anything is law in regard to John. I hope you will make the atrocity public. We must get him out of their clutches. It is nothing but slow murder...[24]

When he died in 1923, aged 44, his reputation was such that many thousands of people lined the streets of Glasgow to see his funeral procession pass. In the intervening time Maclean's funeral has become known as the largest Glasgow ever saw. He left a legacy that has subsequently been claimed by both the Scottish Nationalist and Labour movements, making him rare in this respect amongst Scotland's historical figures. The modern Scottish Socialist Party lay claim to Maclean's political legacy, particularly the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement previously a faction (or "platform") within the SSP.

According to a BBC Television documentary aired in January 2015 he collapsed while giving an outdoor speech and died of pneumonia. Several days before he had given his only overcoat to a destitute man from Barbados, Neill Johnstone.[25]


Vladimir Lenin described him as one of the "best-known names of the isolated heroes who have taken upon themselves the arduous role of forerunners of the world revolution."[26] He has been described by his daughter Nan Milton and by the publication CounterFire as the "Scottish Lenin".[27] The magazine Socialist Appeal has labeled him a "Marxist who played an outstanding role in promoting the ideas and cause of Marxism...[and] worked like a Trojan to promote the principles of Marxism amongst the working class of Scotland"[28] The National describes him as "a man who most knowledgeable Scots would consider a legend, indeed an almost mythical Celtic giant of socialism".[29] David Sherry, author of the book 'John Maclean: Red Clydesider' considers him an "outstanding revolutionary leader".[30]

Popular culture

In his poem "John Maclean (1879-1923)", written in 1934 but only published later in the 1956 edition of Stony Limits and Other Poems, Hugh MacDiarmid railed that "of all Maclean's foes not one was his peer" and described Maclean as "both beautiful and red" in his 1943 poem "Krassivy, Krassivy"[31] This was the inspiration for the title of Krassivy, a 1979 play by Glasgow writer Freddie Anderson.[32] Maclean was eulogised as "the eagle o' the age" and placed in the Scottish pantheon alongside Thomas Muir and William Wallace by Sidney Goodsir Smith in his "Ballant O John Maclean".[33][34] In 1948, MacDiarmid and Smith (among others) gave readings at a "huge mass meeting" at St. Andrew's Hall in Glasgow, organised by the Scottish-USSR Society to mark the 25th Anniversary of his death.[35] The Scottish Esperanto poet and novelist John Islay Francis (1924-2012)[36] in his novel La Granda Kaldrono ("The Big Cauldron") published in 1978,[37] describes different attitudes toward the first and the second world wars. Among the characters, John Maclean is the only actual one, and has an important role.[38]

Maclean is the subject of a number of songs. Hamish Henderson makes reference to Maclean in the final verse of his "Freedom Come-All-Ye" and his "John Maclean March" was specifically written for the 25th anniversary memorial meeting.[39] John Maclean was known as "The Fighting Dominie" and this forms the chorus of Matt McGinn's song "The Ballad of John Maclean". He is referenced in several of the tracks on the album Red Clydeside by folk musicians Alistair Hulett and Dave Swarbrick, and also in the song "Rent Strike" by Thee Faction.[40]

The bosses and the judges united as one man,
For Johnny was a menace to their '14 — '18 plan,
They wanted men for slaughter in the fields of Armentières,
John called upon the people to smash the profiteers

They brought him to the courtroom in Edinburgh town,
But still he did not cower, he firmly held his ground,
And stoutly he defended, his every word and deed,
Five years it was his sentence in the jail at Peterhead

— Matt McGinn, Ballad of John Maclean, 1965.

Maclean's life is celebrated in the play The Wrong Side of the Law by Ayrshire writer Norman Deeley, dealing with the political and personal struggles that Maclean faced in his fight to establish socialism in Scotland.

The Soviet Union (USSR) honoured Maclean with an avenue in central Leningrad[41] - Maklin Prospekt, which ran north from the Fontanka towards the Moika. It has now, like Leningrad/St Petersburg itself, reverted to its original name, Angliisky Prospekt (English Avenue). In 1979, on the centenary of his birth, the USSR issued a 4 kopek commemorative postage stamp depicting Maclean in a portrait by Peter Emilevich Bendel.[42]

Nan Milton

Without the tireless work of Maclean's daughter, Nan Milton, the memory of her father might have been lost.[citation needed] It was not just that she helped found the John MacLean Society and served as its secretary, she made the revival possible.[citation needed] At a time when no one was interested[citation needed], she copied out all her father's writings from his own and other publications in the National Library and typed them up. That was how Hugh MacDiarmid read his works and then championed his ideas[citation needed]. Her first husband wrote a biography of MacLean and lent the only copy of the manuscript to the West Indian Socialist CLR James, who left it on a London Tube train.[citation needed] Nan painstakingly reconstructed it for her own biography. Her devotion was remarkable because she hardly knew her father. He became separated from his wife and family when she was an infant because he had time for nothing except work.[citation needed]

See also

• James Connolly


1. Birth Certificate of John McLean
2. 1871 and 1881 Census
3. Knox, William, (1984) Scottish Labour Leaders 1918-1939: A Biographical Dictionary (Ed. Dr. William Knox), Edinburgh, 1984, p.179. ISBN 0-906391-40-7
4. Aldred, Guy A., John Maclean, Glasgow, 1940, p.17
5. John MacLean (1974), The war after the war, London: Socialist Reproduction, OL 25431964M
6. ... evolution/
7. Brian John Ripley and J. McHugh, John Maclean, p.28
8. Knox, p.181
9. Maclean, Forward
10. Red Clydeside: Key political figures of the Red Clydeside period
11. Strathclyde
12. McGuigan, "Govan School Board had their excuse to dismiss MacLean from his post as a teacher"
13. Thatcher, Ian D., (1992) "John Maclean: Soviet Versions", in History Vol. 77, Issue 251, p.424
14. The Times, Thursday, 28 November 1918, "Bolshevist Candidate: Mr. Barnes's Fight at Glasgow"
15. Aldred, p.21
16. Young, James D. (1991). "John Maclean, Socialism, and the Easter Rising". Saothar. 16: 23–33. JSTOR 23197125.
17. ... -entwined/
18. Milton (1973), p. 164
19. Milton (1973) p. 168
20. Milton (1973) p. 179
21. ... h-scot.htm
22. Maclean, John (1920) All Hail, the Scottish Workers Republic!
23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 25 January 2008. John Maclean, Radical Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University
24. Milton (1973) p. 178
25. BBC Television, Andrew Marr's "The Making of Modern Britain"; Episode 4
26. ... oct/20.htm
27. ... hn-maclean
28. ... 011103.htm
29. ... socialism/
30. ... emy-empire
31. MacDiarmid, Hugh, The Complete Poems of Hugh MacDiarmid, Volume I, (Eds. Michael Grieve & W. R. Aitken), Harmondsworth, 1985, p.485-487 and 604-605
32. GCU Research Collections > Publications Archived 2008-06-28 at the Wayback Machine
33. Smith, Sydney Goodir, Collected Poems, London, 1975, pp.45-46.
34. Broom, John, John Maclean, Loanhead, 1973, pp.196-197
35. Milton (1973), p. 11
36. Cf. John Islay Francis|his article in the Esperanto Wikipedia
37. Francis, John Islay, La granda kaldrono, Antwerp/La Laguna: Stafeto, 1978, 592p. (reedited as an ebook in 2017 by the Scottish Esperanto Association)
38. Sutton, Geoffrey, "Francis, John Islay (b. 1924)", Concise Encyclopedia of the Original Literature of Esperanto 1887-2007, New-York City: Mondial, 2008, pp. 222-227 (esp. pp. 224-225), readable online; Declerck, Christian, "Kontraŭmilita literaturo en Esperanto" ["Anti-militarist literature in Esperanto"], La Gazeto 151:1 (January 2011), readable online; Johansson, Sten "La granda romano" ["The Big Novel"], Originala Literaturo Esperanta, readable online
39. Referred to on this page on Scottish music site
40. ... WdEkk2ovcs
41. Thatcher, p.424
42. Michel stamp catalog Number 4871


• Anderson, Tom, John Maclean MA, Proletarian Press, Glasgow, 1930
• Aldred, Guy A., John Maclean: Martyr of the Class Struggle, Bakunin Press, Glasgow, 1932.
• Bell, Tom, John Maclean, Fighter for Freedom, Communist Party Scottish Committee, 1944.
• Broom, John, John Maclean, Loanhead, 1973
• Clunie, James, The Voice of Labour, Autobiography of a House Painter, Dunfermline, 1958
• Knox, William, Scottish Labour Leaders 1918-1939: A Biographical Dictionary (Ed. Dr. William Knox), Edinburgh, 1984, p. 179. ISBN 0-906391-40-7
• Maclean, John, In the Rapids of Revolution: Essays, Articles, and Letters, 1902-23 Ed. Milton, Nan, Allison and Busby, London, 1978. ISBN 0-85031-175-6
• McGuigan, Kenny. John Maclean: A Working Class Hero. Wellred Books, London, 2005.
• McShane, Harry and Smith, Joan, No Mean Fighter, London, 1978. ISBN 0-904383-24-5
• McShane, Harry, "Remembering John Maclean: Portrait of a Scottish Revolutionary", New Edinburgh Review 19, 1972, p4-10
• Milton, Nan, John Maclean, Pluto Press Ltd., 1973. ISBN 0-902818-38-4.
• Ripley, Brian J.; John McHugh. John Maclean. Lives of the Left Series. Manchester Univ Press. 1 December 1989. ISBN 0-7190-2181-2
• Sherry, Dave. John Maclean. Bookmarks, London, 1998
• Thatcher, Ian D., "John Maclean: Soviet Versions", in History, Vol. 77, Issue 251, pp. 421–429, October 1992
• Young, James D. John Maclean: Clydeside Socialist, Clydeside Press, Glasgow, 1992. ISBN 1-873586-10-8

External links

• John Maclean Internet Archive, Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved 30 Aug. 2009.
• "Red Clydeside:John MacLean". Glasgow Digital Library. University of Strathclyde. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
• Michael Byers (2002). "Red Clydeside:John MacLean". Glasgow Digital Library. University of Strathclyde. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
• Ian R. Mitchell (November 2003). "Red Clydeside:John Maclean's Pollokshaws". Glasgow Digital Library. University of Strathclyde. Retrieved 31 December 2007.
• John Maclean (26 September 1914). "The Attitude of the B.S.P." Letters. Forward newspaper. Retrieved 31 December 2007. image scan and transcript
• John Maclean: Socialist (1958) by Harry McShane
• ‘Scotsmen, stand by Ireland’: John Maclean and the Irish Revolution at History Ireland
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#2)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 21, 2020 8:52 am

Mary Docherty
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/21/20

Mary Docherty
Born: 27 April 1908, Cowdenbeath, Scotland
Died: 2 February 2000 (aged 91), Auchtertool, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish
Occupation: Dairy worker, dentist's assistant, domestic servant[1]
Known for Communist activism
Notable work: A Miner's Lass, 'Auld Bob', a Man in a Million

Mary Docherty (27 April 1908 – 2 February 2000) was a British activist and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Born to a working-class family in Cowdenbeath, Scotland, she was influenced by the communist beliefs of her father, a miner, as well as by the poverty she grew up in. She joined the Communist Party at the age of 18, and in 1929 traveled to the Soviet Union as a Scottish delegate to a gathering of young communists. She founded a local children's wing of the Communist Party, carried out a successful agitation to declare 1 May a school holiday, and worked for communist Member of Parliament Willie Gallacher. She retired from active politics at the age of 60, but continued to give talks and write her memoirs, published in 1991 as A Miner's Lass.

Early life and family

Mary Docherty was born on 27 April 1908 in the town of Cowdenbeath.[2] Her parents were Janet Todd, who worked in a theatre, and William Docherty, a miner.[1] She was the second of three daughters.[3] Her father had lost his job due to his political work with the Communist Party, and as a result was forced to sell firewood to support the family.[2] Due to the family's financial circumstances, they were often forced to subsist on cheap local herring, including when Mary's mother was pregnant with Mary. Docherty's small size as a baby was attributed to this diet.[4]

The county of Fife, of which Cowdenbeath was a burgh, was a stronghold of the Communist Party; Docherty later stated that "Fife was just as radical" as Clydeside, and that the local party had been asked to "slow down" by the party headquarters in London.[5] Docherty's father was a member of the Fife Communist Anarchist Group, and later a founding member of the Communist Party.[5] She was influenced by her father's political activism,[6] as well as by the poverty and hunger that her family endured.[5] Her father wrote political plays, in which Docherty would perform as a child.[5] She contracted tuberculosis at the age of four, due partly to the malnutrition her mother had experienced.[5] She later said that the strike of 1921, during which the British army was brought in to Cowdenbeath to support the local police, was very influential on her. She was 13 years old at the time.[5]

As a child, she attended a Socialist Sunday School which taught politics, science, and geography.[1] She later switched to the Proletarian Sunday School, which had a similar ideology,[1] and encouraged children to discuss politics.[7] Her academic record at school was good, and she passed an exam allowing her to enroll in "Higher Grade," but she dropped out of school in 1922.[3] Docherty remained single throughout her life, but played a maternal role in the life of her adopted younger sister Frances. She also took care of her mother until the latter died at the age of 100.[8]

Communist activism

Docherty's father joined the Fife Communist Anarchist Group, and was also a founding member of the Communist Party in Britain.[5] Docherty herself joined the Communist Party at the age of 18, the youngest age at which she was able to do so,[8] soon after the 1926 United Kingdom general strike.[2] She initially became a member of the Young Communist League, or YCL.[6] During the strike, she was involved in the "Local Councils of Action", which were inspired by the Russian Soviets, and helped coordinate the strike.[8] The miners' defeat in the strike was very influential upon her.[6] The Communist Party provided her with an adult education, during which she was one of two women among 48 men.[5] The other woman in her class was her mother.[9] While still a teenager, she became the literature secretary for the Cowdenbeath branch of the party, and was responsible for the production and sale of a number of weekly newspapers.[8]

While Docherty was still in her twenties, she organized a children's wing of the party in Cowdenbeath, known as the "Young Pioneers".[8] During propaganda meetings of the children's wing, she taught songs, poetry, and plays, and in 1928 organised an agitation to obtain a holiday for all schoolchildren on 1 May, or Labour Day,[4] which was successful in five different burghs, including Cowdenbeath.[1] She also organized a campaign against corporal punishment, and for free food for children while they were at school.[8] The use of the strap to punish children was eventually prohibited after the communists were elected to the Fife education authority and the town council in Lochgelly.[10]

Her affiliation with the party allowed her to travel to the Soviet Union in 1929 as a Scottish delegate to a gathering of young communists.[5] In the same year she had tried to join the National Unemployed Workers' Movement, but was told that women were not allowed to be members.[11] Docherty had a great love for the Soviet Union, despite what she saw as a political breakdown in that country.[2] Vladimir Lenin was an idol of hers.[2] During her time in Russia she spent three months in a sanatorium near the Black Sea,[5] recovering from tuberculosis.[2] She had had an operation on a tumor related to the disease before she left Fife, but was cured completely at the sanatorium.[1][4] She also visited a motor vehicle factory, and found it impressive, because "it [wasn't] for their sel', it was for everybody because everything belonged to them".[12] During her time in Moscow, she learned Russian, visited the Bolshoi, and took part in a parade on the 12th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.[5] Of her time in the Soviet Union, she stated:

I felt a different person, no worry about where the next meal was coming from, free to go where I pleased, everyone doing everything they could to make me happy. When I was in Moscow I would look around and say to myself 'All this belongs to the workers. No capitalist class'.[5]

In 1937, she volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War with the International Brigade; however, she was turned down, because she did not have medical experience. She took to fundraising for the Republican forces in the war,[4] participating in the "Aid Spain" campaign.[13] She became the treasurer of a women's group which raised funds for the wives of men who had gone to fight in the civil war.[3]

Docherty remained a member of the Communist Party for 70 years, at times working with Alex Moffat and Abe Moffat.[2] She campaigned for J. V. Leckie when he was a candidate for the Dunfermline Burghs constituency.[4] She worked for Willie Gallacher, the communist Member of Parliament for Fife, for several years, and in 1952 unsuccessfully ran for a city council seat.[1] At various points, Docherty held the positions of treasurer, Women's Group leader, and secretary for the Fife branch of the Communist Party.[1] She retired from active political life when she was 60 years old,[2]
but despite being crippled by arthritis, participated in fundraising efforts for the newspaper Morning Star.[8] She lived in a modest house in Cowdenbeath, and spent her time working on her memoirs.[5] She continued to give talks and participate in International Women's Day events nearly every year until her death on 2 February 2000.[2]


Docherty found work as a domestic servant at the age of 14, before moving on to working in a factory.[2] She tried to find a job after returning from Russia, but her travel there meant that people were unwilling to employ her. Thus she sold firewood along with her father for a while.[5] She eventually found work at the Leith Hospital as a cleaner, because that job did not require references.[4] She then worked as a servant for five years, before leaving to attend to her mother, who was ill. Back in Fife, she worked as an assistant to a dentist.[4] She stated later in life that when she attended rallies with the communist party, she had to lie to her employers about where she went.[5] When the Second World War broke out in 1939, she began working in the Crombie munitions factory,[14][15] before shifting to looking after children in Rosyth. The final job she held was at a cooperative bakery. She continued her work for the Communist Party while holding all of these positions.[15]

Notable works

In 1991, she published A Miner's Lass, an autobiographical book about the poverty and lack of opportunity among working-class women in her generation.[2] The book describes her experiences as a young communist woman in Fife,[16] including the impact of the Russian revolution in 1917,[5] and does not describe the ideology of the party in great detail.[16] It is dedicated to her father, demonstrating the importance of his influence on her identity,[13] and is unusual in being one of the few autobiographies of a working-class woman.[8] In 1996, she published 'Auld Bob', a Man in a Million, a tribute to activist Bob Selkirk, who had been her mentor.[2] When she was 91 years old she was among the speakers at an event called "Red Fife," about the contribution of Fife to the communist movement.[2]



1. Herald 2015.
2. Ewan et al. 2006.
3. Jackson 2003, p. 221.
4. Harrower-Gray 2014.
5. Braid 1992.
6. Rafeek 2008, p. 41.
7. Jackson 2003, p. 25.
8. Galloway 2000.
9. Worley 2002, p. 31.
10. Rafeek 2008, p. 42.
11. Annets 2014.
12. Rafeek 2008, p. 123.
13. Jackson 2003, p. 19.
14. Scottish Historical Studies 2005.
15. Jackson 2003, pp. 221–222.
16. Rafeek 2008, p. 6.


• Annetts; Jason; Law; Alex; McNeish; Wallace; Mooney; Gerry (2014). ""Forms of Protest"". Understanding social welfare movements. Policy Press. ISBN 9781447319818.
• Braid, Mary (14 August 1992). "No pie for the miner's daughter: Mary Braid hears how the coalfields of Fife glowed red with political fervour". The Independent. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
• Galloway, Susan (17 February 2000). "Mary Docherty, Communist activist and author". The Scotsman.
• "Mary Docherty". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
• Ewan, Elizabeth L.; Innes, Sue; Reynolds, Sian; et al., eds. (2006). The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 96–97. ISBN 9780748626601.
• Harrower-Gray, Annie (2014). Scotland's Hidden Harlots and Heroines: Women's Role in Scottish Society from 1690–1969. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473834705.
• Jackson, Angela (2003). British Women and the Spanish Civil War. Routledge. ISBN 9781134471072.
• Rafeek, Neil C. (2008). Communist Women in Scotland: Red Clydeside from the Russian Revolution to the End of the Soviet Union. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857711540.
• "Mary Docherty", Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, Edinburgh University Press, 24, 2005
• Worley, Matthew (2002). Class Against Class: The Communist Party in Britain Between the Wars. I. B. Tauris. ISBN 9781860647475.
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George Lansbury
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/21/20

The Right Honourable George Lansbury
George Lansbury in 1935
Leader of the Opposition
Leader of the Labour Party
In office: 25 October 1932[1] – 8 October 1935
Prime Minister: Ramsay MacDonald; Stanley Baldwin
Deputy: Clement Attlee
Preceded by: Arthur Henderson
Succeeded by: Clement Attlee
First Commissioner of Works
In office: 7 June 1929 – 24 August 1931
Prime Minister: Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by: Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart
Succeeded by: Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart
Chairman of the Labour Party
In office: 7 October 1927 – 5 October 1928
Leader: Ramsay MacDonald
Preceded by: Frederick Roberts
Succeeded by: Herbert Morrison
Member of Parliament for Bow and Bromley
In office: 15 November 1922 – 7 May 1940
Preceded by: Reginald Blair
Succeeded by: Charles Key
In office: 3 December 1910 – 26 November 1912
Preceded by: Alfred Du Cros
Succeeded by: Reginald Blair
Personal details
Born: 22 February 1859, Halesworth, Suffolk, England
Died: 7 May 1940 (aged 81), Manor House Hospital, North London, England
Political party: Labour
Spouse(s): Bessie Brine (m. 1880; died 1933)
Children: 12 (including Edgar)
Angela Lansbury (granddaughter)
Bruce Lansbury (grandson)
Edgar Lansbury (grandson)
John Postgate (grandson)
Oliver Postgate (grandson)

George Lansbury (22 February 1859 – 7 May 1940) was a British politician and social reformer who led the Labour Party from 1932 to 1935. Apart from a brief period of ministerial office during the Labour government of 1929–31, he spent his political life campaigning against established authority and vested interests, his main causes being the promotion of social justice, women's rights and world disarmament.

Originally a radical Liberal, Lansbury became a socialist in the early 1890s, and thereafter served his local community in the East End of London in numerous elective offices. His activities were underpinned by his Christian beliefs which, except for a short period of doubt, sustained him through his life. Elected to Parliament in 1910, he resigned his seat in 1912 to campaign for women's suffrage, and was briefly imprisoned after publicly supporting militant action.

In 1912, Lansbury helped to establish the Daily Herald newspaper, and became its editor. Throughout the First World War the paper maintained a strongly pacifist stance, and supported the October 1917 Russian Revolution. These positions contributed to Lansbury's failure to be elected to Parliament in 1918.
He devoted himself to local politics in his home borough of Poplar, and went to prison with 30 fellow-councillors for his part in the Poplar "rates revolt" of 1921.

After his return to Parliament in 1922, Lansbury was denied office in the brief Labour government of 1924, although he served as First Commissioner of Works in the Labour government of 1929–31. After the political and economic crisis of August 1931, Lansbury did not follow his leader, Ramsay MacDonald, into the National Government, but remained with the Labour Party. As the most senior of the small contingent of Labour MPs that survived the 1931 general election, Lansbury became the Leader of the Labour Party. His pacifism and his opposition to rearmament in the face of rising European fascism put him at odds with his party, and when his position was rejected at the 1935 Labour Party conference, he resigned the leadership. He spent his final years travelling through the United States and Europe in the cause of peace and disarmament.

Early life

East End upbringing

Plaque on the assumed birthplace of George Lansbury in Haleswoth, Suffolk. It incorrectly records Lansbury's death year as 1947.

George Lansbury was born in Halesworth in the county of Suffolk on 22 February 1859.[n 1] He was the third of nine children born to a railway worker, also named George Lansbury, and Anne Lansbury (née Ferris).[4] George senior's job involved the supervision of railway construction gangs; the family was often on the move, and living conditions were primitive.[2] Through his progressive-minded mother and grandmother, young George became familiar with the names of great contemporary reformers—Gladstone, Richard Cobden and John Bright—and began to read the radical Reynolds's Newspaper. By the end of 1868, the family had moved into London's East End, the district in which Lansbury would live and work for almost all his life.[5]

The essayist Ronald Blythe has described the East End of the 1860s and 1870s as "stridently English ... The smoke-blackened streets were packed with illiterate multitudes [who] stayed alive through sheer birdlike ebullience".[6] Interspersed with spells of work, Lansbury attended schools in Bethnal Green and Whitechapel. He then held a succession of manual jobs, including work as a coaling contractor in partnership with his elder brother, James, loading and unloading coal wagons. This was heavy and dangerous work, and led to at least one near-fatal accident.[7]

During his adolescence and early adulthood, Lansbury was a regular attender at the public gallery at the House of Commons, where he heard and remembered many of Gladstone's speeches on the main foreign policy issue of the day, the "Eastern Question". He was present at the riots which erupted outside Gladstone's house on 24 February 1878 after a peace meeting in Hyde Park.[8] Shepherd writes that Gladstone's Liberalism, proclaiming liberty, freedom and community interests was "a heady mix that left an indelible mark" on the youthful Lansbury.[9]

George Lansbury senior died in 1875. That year young George met fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Brine, whose father Isaac Brine owned a local sawmill. The couple eventually married in 1880, at Whitechapel parish church, where the vicar, J. Franklin Kitto, had been Lansbury's spiritual guide and counsellor. Apart from a period of doubt in the 1890s when he temporarily rejected the Church, Lansbury remained a staunch Anglican until his death.[10]


Migrants disembarking from a ship in Brisbane, c. 1885

In 1881, the first of Lansbury's twelve children, Bessie, was born; another daughter, Annie, followed in 1882. Seeking to improve his family's prospects, Lansbury decided that their best hopes of prosperity lay in emigrating to Australia. The London agent-general for Queensland depicted a land of boundless opportunities, with work for all; seduced by this appeal, Lansbury and Bessie raised the necessary passage money, and in May 1884 set sail with their children for Brisbane.[9][11]

On the outward passage, the family experienced illness, discomfort and danger; on one occasion the ship came close to foundering during a monsoon.[11] On arrival at Brisbane in July 1884, Lansbury found that contrary to the London agent's promises, there was a superfluity of labour and work was hard to come by. His first job, breaking stone, proved to be too physically punishing; he moved to a better-paid position as a van driver, but was sacked when, for religious reasons, he refused to work on Sundays.[12] He then contracted to work on a farm some 80 miles inland, to find upon arrival that his employer had misled him about living conditions and terms of employment.[13]

For several months, the Lansbury family lived in extreme squalor before Lansbury secured release from the contract. Back in Brisbane, he worked for a while at the newly built Brisbane cricket ground. As a keen follower of the game he hoped to see the visiting English touring team play but, as Lansbury's biographer Raymond Postgate records, "he learned that cricket watching was not a pleasure for workmen".[12][n 2]

Throughout his tenure in Australia, Lansbury sent letters home, revealing the truth about conditions facing immigrants.[12] To a friend he wrote in March 1885:

"Mechanics are not wanted. Farm labourers are not wanted ... Hundreds of men and women are not able to get work ... The streets are foul day and night, and if I had a sister I would shoot her dead rather than see her brought out to this little hell on earth".[13]

In May 1885, having received from Isaac Brine sufficient funds for a passage home, the Lansbury family left Australia for good.[12]

Radical Liberal

First campaigns

On his return to London, Lansbury took a job in Brine's timber business. In his spare time he campaigned against the false prospectuses offered by colonial emigration agents. His speech at an emigration conference at King's College in London in April 1886 impressed delegates; shortly afterwards, the government established an Emigration Information Bureau under the Colonial Office. This body was required to provide accurate information on the state of labour markets in all the government's overseas possessions.[15]

Having joined the Liberal Party shortly after his return from Australia, Lansbury became first a ward secretary and then general secretary for the Bow and Bromley Liberal and Radical Association.[16] His effective campaigning skills had been noted by leading Liberals, including Samuel Montagu, the Liberal MP for Whitechapel, who persuaded the young activist to be his agent in the 1885 general election.
[17] Lansbury's handling of this election campaign prompted Montagu to urge him to stand for parliament himself.[18] Lansbury declined this, partly on practical grounds (MPs were then unpaid and he had to provide for his family), and partly on principle; he was becoming increasingly convinced that his future lay not as a radical Liberal but as a socialist.[17] He continued to serve the Liberals, as an agent and local secretary, while expressing his socialism in a short-lived monthly radical journal, Coming Times, which he founded and co-edited with a fellow-dissident, William Hoffman.[19]

London County Council elections, 1889

The Metropolitan Board of Works building in Spring Gardens near Trafalgar Square, original headquarters of the London County Council

In 1888 Lansbury agreed to act as election agent for Jane Cobden, who was contesting the first elections for the newly formed London County Council (LCC) as Liberal candidate for the Bow and Bromley division.[20] Cobden, an early supporter of women's suffrage, was the fourth child of the Victorian radical statesman Richard Cobden.[21] The Society for Promoting Women as County Councillors (SPWCC), a new women's rights group, had proposed Cobden as the candidate for Bow and Bromley and Margaret Sandhurst for Brixton.[22][n 3] Lansbury counselled Cobden in the issues of greatest concern to the East End electorate: housing for the poor, ending of sweated labour, rights of public assembly, and control of the police. Specific questions of women's rights were largely avoided during the campaign.[23] On 19 January 1889 both women were elected; these triumphs were, however, short-lived. Sandhurst's qualification to serve as a county councillor was successfully challenged in the courts by her Conservative Party opponents on the grounds of her sex, and her subsequent appeal was dismissed. Cobden was not immediately challenged, but in April 1891, after a series of legal actions, she was effectively neutered as a councillor by being prevented from voting on pain of severe financial penalties.[24] Lansbury urged her, during the hearings, to "go to prison and let the Council back you up by refusing to declare your seat vacant".[25] Cobden did not follow this path. A Bill introduced in the House of Commons in May 1891 permitting women to serve as county councillors found little support among MPs of any party; women were not granted this right until 1907.[26]

Lansbury was offended by his party's lukewarm support for women's rights. In a letter published in the Pall Mall Gazette he made an open call to Bow and Bromley's Liberals to "shake themselves free of party feeling and throw the energy and ability they are now wasting on minor questions into ... securing the full rights of citizenship to every woman in the land".[27] He was further disillusioned by his party's failure to endorse the eight-hour maximum working day. Lansbury had formed the view, expressed some years later, that "Liberalism would progress just as far as the great money bags of capitalism would allow it to progress".[28] By 1892 the Liberals no longer felt like Lansbury's political home; most of his current associates were avowed socialists: William Morris, Eleanor Marx, John Burns and Henry Mayers Hyndman, founder of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF).
[29] Nevertheless, Lansbury did not resign from the Liberals until he had fulfilled a commitment to act as election agent for John Murray MacDonald, the prospective Liberal candidate for Bow and Bromley. He saw his candidate victorious in the July 1892 General Election; as soon as the result was declared, Lansbury resigned from the Liberal Party and joined the SDF.[30]

Socialist reformer

Social Democratic Federation

Henry Hyndman, founder of the SDF, was a key influence in Lansbury's early career.

Lansbury's choice of the SDF, from several socialist organisations, reflected his admiration for Hyndman, whom he considered "one of the truly great ones".[31] Lansbury quickly became the federation's most tireless propagandist, travelling throughout Britain to address meetings or to demonstrate solidarity with workers involved in industrial disputes.[n 4] Around this time, Lansbury temporarily set aside his Christian beliefs and became a member of the East London Ethical Society. One factor in his disillusion with the Church was the local clergy's unsympathetic approach to poor relief, and their opposition to collective political action.[33]

In 1895 Lansbury fought two parliamentary elections for the SDF in Walworth, first a by-election on 14 May, then the 1895 general election two months later. Despite his energetic campaigning he was heavily defeated on each occasion, with tiny proportions of the vote.[34] After these dismal results, Lansbury was persuaded by Hyndman to give up his job at the sawmill and become the SDF's full-time salaried national organiser. He preached a straightforward revolutionary doctrine: "The time has arrived", he informed an audience at Todmorden in Lancashire, "for the working classes to seize political power and use it to overthrow the competitive system and establish in its place state cooperation".[35] Lansbury's time as SDF national organiser did not last long; in 1896, when Isaac Brine died suddenly, Lansbury thought that his family duty required him to take charge of the sawmill, and he returned home to Bow.[36]

In the general election of 1900 a pact with the Liberals in the Bow and Bromley constituency gave Lansbury, the SDF candidate, a straight fight against the Conservative incumbent, William Guthrie. Lansbury's cause was hindered by his public opposition to the Boer War at a time when war fever was strong, while Guthrie, a former soldier, stressed his military credentials. Lansbury lost the election, though his total of 2,258 votes against Guthrie's 4,403 was considered creditable by the press.[37] This campaign was Lansbury's last major effort on behalf of the SDF. He became disenchanted by Hyndman's inability to work with other socialist groups, and in about 1903 resigned from the SDF to join the Independent Labour Party (ILP).[38] At around this time, Lansbury rediscovered his Christian faith and rejoined the Anglican Church.[39][n 5]

Poor Law guardian

"'You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours' was the basis of policy where jobs and contracts were concerned ... the slum owner and agent could be depended upon to create the conditions which produce disease; the doctor would then get the job of attending the sick, the chemist would be needed to supply drugs, the parson to pray, and when, between them all, the victims died the undertaker was on hand to bury them."

(Lansbury, summarising the extent of cronyism and abuse in the Poor Law system.)[41]

In April 1893 Lansbury achieved his first elective office when he became a Poor Law guardian for the district of Poplar. In place of the traditionally harsh workhouse regime that was the norm, Lansbury proposed a programme of reform, whereby the workhouse became "an agency of help instead of a place of despair", and the stigma of poverty was removed.[42] Lansbury was one of a minority socialist bloc which was often able, through its energy and commitment, to win support for its plans.[43]

Education for the poor was one of Lansbury's major concerns. He helped to transform the Forest Gate District School, previously a punitive establishment run on quasi-military lines, into a proper place of education that became the Poplar Training School, and was still in existence more than half a century later.[44][n 6] At the 1897 annual Poor Law Conference Lansbury summarised his views on poor relief in his first published paper: "The Principles of the English Poor Law". His analysis offered a Marxist critique of capitalism: only the reorganisation of industry on collectivist lines would solve contemporary problems.[46]

Lansbury added to his public duties when, in 1903, he was elected to Poplar Borough Council.[47] In the summer of that year he met Joseph Fels, a rich American soap manufacturer with a penchant for social projects.[48] Lansbury persuaded Fels, in 1904, to purchase a 100-acre farm at Laindon, in Essex, which was converted into a labour colony that provided regular work for Poplar's unemployed and destitute. Fels also agreed to finance a much larger colony at Hollesley Bay in Suffolk, to be operated as a government scheme under the Local Government Board.[49] Both projects were initially successful, but were undermined after the election of a Liberal government in 1906. The new Local Government minister was John Burns, a former SDF stalwart now ensconced in the Liberal Party who had become a firm opponent of socialism.[50][51] Burns encouraged a campaign of propaganda to discredit the principle of labour colonies, which were presented as money-wasting ventures that pampered idlers and scroungers. A formal enquiry revealed irregularities in the operation of the scheme, though it exonerated Lansbury. He retained the confidence of his electorate and was easily re-elected to the Board of Guardians in 1907.[52][53]

In 1905 Lansbury was appointed to a Royal Commission on the Poor Laws, which deliberated for four years. Lansbury, together with Beatrice Webb of the Fabian Society, argued for the complete abolition of the Poor Laws and their replacement by a system that incorporated old age pensions, a minimum wage, and national and local public works projects. These proposals were embodied at the Commission's conclusion in a minority report signed by Lansbury and Webb; the majority report was, according to Postgate, "an ill-considered jumble of suggestions ... so preposterously inadequate that no attempts were ever made to implement it." Most of the minority's recommendations in time became national policy;[54] the Poor Laws were finally abolished by the Local Government Act 1929.[55]

National prominence

Campaigner for women's suffrage

WSPU poster from 1914, denouncing the Liberal government's controversial "Cat and Mouse Act"

In the general election of January 1906 Lansbury stood as an independent socialist candidate in Middlesbrough, on a strong "votes for women" platform. This was his first campaign based on women's rights since the LCC election of 1889. He had been recommended to the constituency by Joseph Fels, who agreed to meet his expenses. The local ILP leadership was committed by an electoral pact to support the Liberal candidate, and could not endorse Lansbury, who secured less than 9 per cent of the vote.[56] The campaign had been managed by Marion Coates Hansen, a prominent local suffragist. Under Hansen's influence Lansbury took up the cause of "votes for women";[57] he allied himself with the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), the more militant of the main suffragist organisations, and became a close associate of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family.[58]

The Liberal government elected in 1906 with a large majority showed little interest in the issue of women's suffrage;[59] when they lost their parliamentary majority in the general election of January 1910 they were dependent on the votes of the 40-odd Labour members.[n 7] To Lansbury's dismay, Labour did not use this leverage to promote votes for women, instead giving the government virtually unqualified support to keep the Conservatives out of power.
[61][62] Lansbury had failed to win election as Labour's candidate at Bow and Bromley in January 1910; however, the continuing political crisis which developed from David Lloyd George's controversial 1909 "People's Budget" led to another general election in December 1910.

After H. H. Asquith succeeded to the premiership in 1908 Lloyd George replaced him as Chancellor of the Exchequer. To fund extensive welfare reforms he proposed taxes on land ownership and high incomes in the "People's Budget" (1909), which the Conservative-dominated House of Lords rejected. The resulting constitutional crisis was only resolved after two elections in 1910 and the passage of the Parliament Act 1911. His budget was then enacted alongside the National Insurance Act 1911 which helped to establish the modern welfare state.

-- David Lloyd George, by Wikipedia

Lansbury again fought Bow and Bromley, and this time was successful.[63]

Lansbury found little support in his fight for women's suffrage from his parliamentary Labour colleagues, whom he dismissed as "a weak, flabby lot".
[58] In parliament, he denounced the prime minister, H. H. Asquith, for the cruelties being inflicted on imprisoned suffragists: "You are beneath contempt ... you ought to be driven from public life". He was temporarily suspended from the House for "disorderly conduct".[64] In October 1912, aware of the unbridgeable gap between his own position and that of his Labour colleagues, Lansbury resigned his seat to fight a by-election in Bow and Bromley on the specific issue of women's suffrage.[65] The suffragettes sent Grace Roe to help with campaign.[66] He lost to his Conservative opponent, who campaigned on the slogan "No Petticoat Government".[67] Commenting on the result, the Labour MP Will Thorne opined that no constituency could ever be won on the single question of votes for women.[68]

Out of parliament, on 26 April 1913 Lansbury addressed a WSPU rally at the Albert Hall, and openly defended violent methods: "Let them burn and destroy property and do anything they will, and for every leader that is taken away, let a dozen step forward in their place". For this, Lansbury was charged with incitement, convicted and, after the dismissal of an appeal, sentenced to three months' imprisonment.[69] He immediately went on hunger strike, and was released after four days; although liable to rearrest under the so-called "Cat and Mouse Act",[n 8] he was thereafter left at liberty.[71] In the autumn of 1913, at the invitation of Fels, Lansbury and his wife travelled to America and Canada for an extended holiday. On his return, he devoted his main efforts to the recently founded newspaper, the Daily Herald.[72]

War, Daily Herald and Bolshevism

Further information: Daily Herald (UK newspaper)

Lansbury in 1920

The Daily Herald began as a temporary bulletin during the London printers' strike of 1910–11. After the strike ended, Lansbury and others raised sufficient funds for the Herald to be relaunched in April 1912 as a socialist daily newspaper.[73] The paper attracted contributions from distinguished writers such as H. G. Wells, Hilaire Belloc, G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw, some of whom, Blythe notes, "weren't socialists at all but simply used [the paper] as a platform for their personal literary anarchy."[74] Lansbury contributed regularly in support of his various causes, in particular the militant suffrage campaign,[75] and early in 1914 assumed the paper's editorship.[76]

A Punch cartoon of 22 September 1920, mocking Lansbury's denials of Bolshevist funding for the Daily Herald

Before the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Herald took a strong anti-war line.[77] Addressing a large demonstration in Trafalgar Square on 2 August 1914, Lansbury blamed the coming conflict on capitalism: "The workers of all countries have no quarrel. They are ... exploited in times of peace and sent out to be massacred in times of war".[78] Lansbury's position was at odds with that of most of the Labour movement, which allied itself with the wartime coalition governments of Asquith and, from 1916, Lloyd George.[n 9] In the prevailing jingoistic mood, numerous readers looked to the Herald—reduced by wartime economies to a weekly format—to present a balanced news perspective, untainted by war fever and chauvinism.[74] During the winter of 1914–15, Lansbury visited the Western Front trenches. He sent eye-witness accounts to the paper, which supported calls for a negotiated peace with Germany in line with President Woodrow Wilson's later "peace note" of January 1917. The paper also gave sympathetic coverage to conscientious objectors, and to Irish and Indian nationalists.[80]

Lansbury used the pages of the Daily Herald to welcome the February 1917 revolution in Russia as "a new star of hope ... arisen over Europe".[81] At an Albert Hall rally on 18 March 1918 he hailed the spirit and enthusiasm of "this Russian movement", and urged his audience to "be ready to die, if necessary, for our faith".
[82] When the war ended in November 1918, Lloyd George called an immediate general election, correctly calculating that victory euphoria would keep his coalition in power. In this triumphalist climate, candidates such as Lansbury who had opposed the war found themselves unpopular, and he failed to retake his Bow and Bromley seat.[83]

The Herald re-emerged as a daily paper in March 1919.[84] Under Lansbury's direction it maintained a strong and ultimately successful campaign against British intervention in the Russian Civil War.[74] In February 1920 Lansbury travelled to Russia where he met Lenin and other Bolshevik leaders.[85] He published an account: What I Saw in Russia,[4] but the impact of the visit was overshadowed by accusations that the Herald was being financed from Bolshevist sources, a charge vehemently denied by Lansbury: "We have received no Bolshevist money, no Bolshevist paper, no Bolshevist bonds". Unknown to Lansbury, the allegations had some truth which, when exposed, caused him and the paper considerable embarrassment.[86] By 1922 the Herald's financial problems had become such that it could no longer continue as a private venture financed by donations. Lansbury resigned the editorship and made the paper over to the Labour Party and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), although he continued to write for it and remained its titular general manager until 3 January 1925.[87][88]

"Poplarism": the 1921 rates revolt

Main article: Poplar Rates Rebellion

The Poplar Rates Rebellion Mural in Poplar commemorates the 1921 rates revolt.

Throughout his national campaigns, Lansbury remained a Poplar borough councillor and Poor Law guardian, and between 1910 and 1913 served a three-year term as a London County Councillor.[4][89] In 1919 he became the first Labour mayor of Poplar.[90] Under the then-existing financial system for local government, boroughs were individually responsible for poor relief within their boundaries. This discriminated heavily against poorer councils such as Poplar, where rates revenues were low and poverty and unemployment, always severe, were exacerbated in times of economic recession.[n 10] Under this system, Postgate argues, "The wealthy West End boroughs were evading responsibility, as though the desolate and silent docks were the results of a failure by the Poplar Borough Council".[91] In addition to meeting the costs of its own obligations, the council was required to levy precepts to pay for services provided by bodies such as the London County Council and the Metropolitan Police.[92] Lansbury had long argued that a degree of rates equalisation across London was necessary, to share costs more fairly.[42]

At its meeting on 22 March 1921 the Poplar Council resolved not to make its precepts and to apply these revenues to the costs of local poor relief.[92] This illegal action created a sensation, and led to legal proceedings against the council. On 29 July the thirty councillors involved marched in procession from Bow to the High Court, headed by a brass band. Informed by the judge that they must apply the precepts, the councillors would not budge; early in September, Lansbury and 29 fellow-councillors were imprisoned for contempt of court. Among those sentenced were his son Edgar and Edgar's wife, Minnie.[91]

The defiance of the Poplar councillors generated widespread interest and sympathy, and the publicity embarrassed the government. Several other Labour-controlled councils (including Stepney whose mayor was the future Labour leader Clement Attlee) threatened similar policies.[93] After six weeks' incarceration the councillors were released, and a government conference was convened to resolve the matter. This conference brought a significant personal victory for Lansbury: the passage of the Local Authorities (Financial Provisions) Act, which equalised the poor relief burden across all the London boroughs. As a result, the rates in Poplar fell by a third, and additional revenues of £400,000 was gained by the borough.[91][93] Lansbury was hailed as a hero; in the 1922 general election he won the parliamentary seat of Bow and Bromley with a majority of nearly 7,000, and would hold it for the rest of his life. The term "Poplarism", always identified closely with Lansbury, became part of the political lexicon, applied generally to campaigns where local government stood against central government on behalf of the poor and least privileged of society.[4]

Parliament and national office

Labour backbencher

"A few centuries ago one King who stood up against the common people of that day lost his head—really lost it ... Since that day kings and queens had been what they ought to be if you had them. They never interfered with ordinary politics and George V would be well advised to keep his finger out of the pie now."

(Lansbury's warning to the King shortly before the first Labour government took office in January 1924)

In May 1923 the Conservative prime minister, Bonar Law, resigned for health reasons. In December his successor, Stanley Baldwin, called another election in which the Conservatives lost their majority, with Labour in a strong second place. King George V advised Baldwin, as leader of the largest party, not to resign his office until defeated by a vote in the House of Commons. Defeat duly occurred on 21 January 1924, when the Liberals decided to throw in their lot with Labour. The king then asked Labour's leader, Ramsay MacDonald, to form a government.[95][96] Lansbury caused royal offence by publicly implying that the king had colluded with other parties to keep Labour out, and by his references to the fate of Charles I.[97] Despite his seniority, Lansbury was offered only a junior non-cabinet post in the new government, which he declined.[98] He believed that his exclusion from the cabinet followed pressure from the king.[98] At the 1923 Labour Party conference, while declaring himself a republican, Lansbury opposed two motions calling for the abolition of the monarchy, deeming the issue a "distraction". Social revolution, he said, would one day remove the monarchy.[99]

Inspecting the Neolithic village of Skara Brae, Orkneys, when First Commissioner at the Office of Works in 1929

MacDonald's administration lasted less than a year before, in November 1924, the Liberals withdrew their support; Blythe comments that the first Labour government had been "neither exhilarating nor competent".[96] According to Shepherd, MacDonald's chief priority was to show that Labour was "fit to govern", and he had thus acted with conservative caution.[100] The December general election returned the Conservatives to power; Lansbury maintained that Labour's cause "marches forward irrespective of electoral results".[101] After the defeat Lansbury was briefly touted as an alternative party leader to MacDonald, a proposition he rejected.[102] In 1925, free from the Daily Herald, he founded and edited Lansbury's Labour Weekly, which became a mouthpiece for his personal creed of socialism, democracy and pacifism until it merged with the New Leader in 1927.[103] Before the General Strike of May 1926, Lansbury used the Weekly to instruct the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on preparations for the coming struggle. However, when the strike came the TUC did not want his assistance;[104] among the reasons for their distrust was Lansbury's continuing advocacy for the right of communist organisations to affiliate to the Labour Party—he privately opined that British communists on their own "couldn't run a whelk-stall".[105]

Lansbury continued his private campaigns in parliament, saying "I intend on every occasion to ... hinder the progress of business".
[106] In April 1926 he and 12 other opposition MPs prevented a vote in the House of Commons by obstructing the voting lobbies; they were temporarily suspended by the Speaker.[107][108] During frequent clashes in the House with Neville Chamberlain, the Minister of Health responsible for Poor Law administration and reform, Lansbury referred to the "Ministry of Death",[109] and called the minister a "pinchbeck Napoleon".[110] However, within the Labour Party itself, Lansbury's status and popularity led to his election as the party's chairman (a largely titular office) in 1927–28.[111] Lansbury also became president of the International League Against Imperialism, where among his fellow executive members were Jawaharlal Nehru, Mme. Sun Yat-sen and Albert Einstein.[112] In 1928, short of money following the failure of the family business, Lansbury published his autobiography, My Life, for which he received what he termed "a fairly generous cheque" from the publishers, Constable & Co.[113]

Cabinet minister, 1929–31

The Hyde Park Lido, one lasting result of Lansbury's brief term of national office

In the 1929 general election Labour emerged as the largest party, with 287 seats—but without an overall majority.[114] Once again, MacDonald formed a government dependent on Liberal support. Lansbury joined the new cabinet as First Commissioner of Works, with responsibilities for historic buildings and monuments and for the royal parks. This position was widely regarded as a sinecure;[115] nevertheless, Lansbury proved an active minister who did much to improve public recreation facilities.[4] His most notable achievement was the Lido on the Serpentine in Hyde Park; according to the historian A. J. P. Taylor "the only thing which keeps the memory of the second Labour government alive".[116] A circular memorial plaque to Lansbury can be seen on the exterior wall of the Lido Bar and Cafe. Lansbury's duties brought him into frequent contact with the King, who as Ranger of the royal parks insisted on regular consultation. Contrary to the expectations of some the two formed a cordial relationship.[117][118]

The years of MacDonald's second government were dominated by the economic depression that followed the Wall Street Crash of October 1929.[119] Lansbury was appointed to a committee, chaired by J.H. Thomas and including Sir Oswald Mosley, charged with finding a solution to unemployment. Mosley produced a memorandum which called for a large-scale programme of public works; this was rejected by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Snowden, on grounds of cost.[120][121][n 11] At the end of July 1931 the May Committee, appointed in February to investigate government spending,[123] prescribed heavy cuts, including a massive reduction in unemployment benefit.[124][n 12]

Making a speech, c. 1935

During August, in an atmosphere of financial panic and a run on the pound, the government debated the report. MacDonald and Snowden were prepared to implement it, but Lansbury and nine other cabinet ministers rejected the cut in unemployment benefit. Thus divided, the government could not continue; MacDonald, however, did not resign as prime minister. After discussions with the opposition leaders and the king he formed a national all-party coalition, with a "doctor's mandate" to tackle the economic crisis. The great majority of Labour MPs, including Lansbury, were opposed to this action; MacDonald and the few who followed him were expelled from the party, and Arthur Henderson became leader.[125] MacDonald's move was broadly welcomed in the country, however, and in the general election held in October 1931 the national government was returned with an enormous majority. Labour was reduced to 46 members; Lansbury was the only senior member of the Labour leadership to retain his seat.[121][n 13]
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