Politics on Agenda, 1910

As New Year opened on 1910, almost immediately after New Years Day, a full month of local politics happened in Blantyre. Indeed, it was practically all which appeared in the news in January 1910.

All three candidates in Blantyre quickly took up a schedule for their oratory, booking venues in the village and things were all set to get a bit lively, not just in the committee rooms and venues, but in everyday discussions in homes, workplaces and public houses.

One of the parties, (the Unionist party), were armed with a full body of ladies (wives and daughters) who went out canvassing door to door with leaflets. There may have been other reasons for this, other than assisting. One of the hot topics of this particular election was ‘votes for women’, which although still had not been achieved, was attracting attention nationally from the Suffragettes movement.

The previous year, 1909 did see a change in tactics by Suffragettes undertaking more violent acts, including attacks on property and law-breaking, which often resulted in imprisonment and hunger strikes. However, there was no hint of any violent campaign in Blantyre and the January election passed peacefully.

The suffragette campaign was suspended when World War I broke out in 1914. After the war, the Representation of the People Act 1918 gave the vote to women over the age of 30 who met “certain property” qualifications. Ten years later, women gained electoral equality with men when the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 gave all women the right to vote at age 21.

Picture: For illustration only. Not Blantyre.

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