Candidates Withdraw from Election

 

1904 Parish Council Offices wmA particularly unusual occurrence took place in early December 1928 in the County and Parish Council Elections for Blantyre.

Four candidates whose names appeared on the ballot papers and after month’s of separate campaigning, suddenly issued a joint manifesto, just before the election asking for the people of Blantyre NOT to vote for them!

The Candidates Hugh McKerrell, James Stoddart, John Ross and John Sturton were the nominees for the “Unemployed Workers Committee and the Communist Party”. However, since they started their campaign in Summer 1928, considerable changes took place in the party due to the breakaway of over 400 workers at Auchinraith Colliery favouring the Lanarkshire County Miners Union.

Its likely the candidates thought that their votes would be hugely affected by losing 400 prospective voters and had either given up or knew they would not win. The workers had formed their own branch union. Of course the candidates names were still to appear on the ballot paper and it is interesting their excuse noted on the manifesto of the growing divide between communist attitudes:

“We, the undersigned repudiate the action of the Unemployed Workers’ Committee, with whom all were associated at the outset of the local election campaign having now declared that they are not the representatives of the unemployed workers but are representatives of the communist party only. We therefore ask the electors to refrain from voting for us, as we have no desire to participate in the elections under such conditions, and as our names will appear on the ballot papers, we take this step to notify the electors.”

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

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