Monday, October 26, 2015

Glasgow Street Scene (1943)

From the October 1943 issue of The Western Socialist

[The following are extracts from a personal letter from the organizer, Glasgow Branch, Socialist Party of Great Britain, describing a street meeting recently held at Glasgow.]
Picture one thousand people at the corner of Blythswood and Sauchiehall Streets. There was a large sprinkling of American soldiers and N. C. O's. Two looked like generals . . . they looked as if they were going to shout "Fall in," at any minute. They were amazed at the crowd and their troops (they came when the meeting was well on). In a few minutes they, too, were just members of the audience 

Now to some of the questions after Tony (Comrade Tony Turner) had exposed the war, he pleted into American capitalism and, of course, all capitalists.

Turner knew the Americans were going to have a go and that's what he was angling for.

An American officer asked this question: "I agree with what you say but is it not possible that you may sell yourself to a Government and smother your ideas."

Here is Tony's answer: "Yes. I may sell myself, but I am not trying to sell myself to you. I am trying to sell an idea, etc. etc. Are you satisfied with the answer?"

"Yes," says the officer.

"Do you wish a supplementary question?" says Tony.

"Yes. Have you ever been in America?"

Tony repeats the question and says, "The answer is a brief one — NO! Now what is the implication?" 

"Well. I don't think that you are entitled to claim a superior knowledge of America when you've never been there."

Tricky Tony hesitated for about one minute (long time at a meeting), pretending to be lost. All of a sudden he pointed to the officer and said, "Brother, I take a long shot. I know more about America than you do, and you have just come from there. To test this I will begin by an examination of the Constitution, important events in American history, the domestic scene, statistics relating to wealth production and distribution, etc. etc." Tony did all this and more. The officer remained silent for the rest of the meeting.

He handled drunks in a masterly fashion. One of the beer-sodden hooligan type got the spanking of his life. Tony pointed to him and said, "Look at the poor little fellow — his wee belly full of beer and he wants to fight. Should you see him tomorrow morning, he will make a mad gallop to the factory and start saluting, saying, "Yes sir! Yes sir! Three bags full." And Tony kept saluting as he was saying this.

He tanned the Scottish Nationalists, the Labour Party, the Independent Labour Party and the Communist Party.

Three husky CPers were crushed like mice before his devastating attack and exposure. How the people laughed when he said, regarding the present friendship of Stalin and Winston, "Churchill's song today is: 'You made me love you and I didn't want to do it, Joe'."

Literature sales were £4-13 — a record; collection £3. Turner was publicly thanked by members of the audience for his brilliant address. Tony got a smashing write-up in the (Glasgow) Evening Times by a special correspondent . . . I will try to get you a copy and send it on.

Angus McPhail

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