THE BIRTHDAY TRAVELS OF MISS ROBERTS
DIVISIONAL FRIENDS HELP HER TO CELEBRATE
AUDIENCES MAKE IT MEMORABLE
Miss Margaret Roberts, Conservative candidate for the Dartford constituency, was 26 on Saturday. To her delighted surprise she received bouquets of flowers at an informal presentation ceremony at the Conservative headquarters in Spital-street, Dartford, that morning.
Afterwards she made a tour of the Conservative clubs, meeting well-wishers who all did their best to make her birthday a happy one. The short respite from election cares now over, she is continuing with her programme of meetings in all parts of the Division.
Miss Roberts told the people gathered at the headquarters on Saturday that her agent (Mr. A. E. Allsopp) had ordered her to come along—without divulging any information about a presentation. As any good candidate should do, she had obeyed him. Mrs. Jenns, vice chairman of the Women's Advisory Council, presented her with a hat-box and week-end case from the women of the Division. There were also many birthday cards and greetings telegrams.
Given the hat-box, Miss Roberts commented, “I love hats, but I have never possessed a hat-box.”
Flowers were given her from friends in St. Alban's Ward, Brent Ward, and a family of eight Conservatives. Mr. Allsopp, on behalf of himself and his staff, gave her a bouquet of red roses, and one association member, looking at the colours of Miss Roberts' rosette, murmured, “Red roses for a blue lady!”
Sir Herbert Williams, former M.P. for Croydon East, spoke at St. Alban's Hall, Dartford, on Friday, to a packed house. He started by pointing out that the following day would be the anniversary of Miss Roberts birth. She would be the same age as Mr. Winston Churchill was when first elected to Parliament.
Every election was important but none had ever been more important than this one, said Sir Herbert. This was D-Day—a day of destiny for Great Britain. Unless a Conservative Government was returned Sir Herbert feared for the future of the country.
The first heckle from the audience came after Sir Herbert had started on the Persian and Egyptian questions. He had just asked “Can you imagine that the Persians would have treated us as they have done if Mr. Churchill had been Prime Minister?” and was going on to say that it was a favourite cry of the Socialists that the Tories would have gone to war, when just such a comment was made from the back of the hall. Sir Herbert said that Socialists had condemned the idea of the “imperialistic gun-boat!” Then why had they sent a cruiser? To be looked at? Of course the Conservative Party did not want war. They did not believe that the way to prevent war was to lie down and be kicked by every inferior creature who came along.
Sir Herbert said that had it not been for Britain there would never have been an independent Egypt, and it would have been a province of Turkey. Lord Cromer was the great man who had created modern Egypt. Disraeli had bought shares in the Suez Canal during Victoria's reign and since that day millions of pounds had come from those shares. If the passage through Suez were to be interrupted then the effect would be seen even in Dartford.
Our reserves of dollars and gold had undergone a serious decline. Unless something was done about it we were going to have a very unpleasant time. Civilised life could not be carried on unless there was a sufficiency of coal, electricity and gas. To-day the position with regard to electricity was deplorable. Administration had been incompetent—there had even been cuts in summer-time. The time would come when domestic and factory life would be affected not only by shortage of coal but most of all by shortage of generating plant and boilers.
When he commented “Everything that has been nationalised has been a flop,” a voice from the back called “What about the coal mines?” Said Sir Herbert, “Yes, what about them! They are producing less coal with more modern equipment than before the war under private enterprise.”
There was going to be a fuel crisis and even if the Conservatives could return to power within 24 hours there would not be time to stop it. Things were definitely going to get worse before they got better, Mr. Attlee having thought it better to get out before things got too bad. “They want to hand over the unwashed baby to us,” said Sir Herbert.
Turning to the question of Russia and what he described as “the complete failure of this Government to come to any terms with the Russian Government,” Sir Herbert said “Here we have first-class crooks in the Kremlin. We know they are crooks and that you cannot accept as accurate any statement made by a Russian statesman. And what blackguards these Communists are. They only take orders from Moscow. I understand that a certain number of fellow travellers are supporting the Socialist candidate for this Division.”
Sir Herbert referred to “the lies of the Socialists,” instancing those [end p3] statements which alleged that National Service would be increased to three years and that old age pensions would be taken away if the Conservatives got in. He then gave a short history of pensions in this country, finishing up by saying that the Labour Government as such did not even introduce family allowances, which had been approved by Mr. Churchill when he was Prime Minister in National Government.