Politics in the Train
Maoriland Worker, Volume 13, Issue 10, 7 March 1923, Page 14
Politics in the Train
When I am not trying to i finish ai column of "copy" during my.train; journeys, or when I have left;behind on ihy desk, what I was determined to read on myjo-urney, I taka a keen der lights in flourishing the "Herald"?**- the "Morning Post" in the face of my nearest fellow passenger, in an ''effort to draw him. (I haven't the courage to.do it to a "her"!) into a discussion on politics. Time was when I shared the Englishman's characteristic shyness, and would go the whole length of" a long journey in cqmpcmy with one or more fellow-passengers without speaking a word. But during recent jWrs I have enticed hundreds pf victims, into political discussions, which have had the effect of shortening the journey, and have often been of real value from a propaganda point of view.
My method is simplicity itself. , First, I select my victim. Then I size him up before deciding which paper to flourish. If he is obviously a common or garden.working man, I flourish the "Herald," in the hope that he will give mc a word or a glance to Confirm my bope that he i 3 also a "Labour man." If my victim is obviiiosly "something" in the city," or a 'half-pay officer, or a Tory parson, then, of conise. 1 flourish the "Morning Post." I have lured many victims into a regular Bolshevik trap, with tho "Morning Post" as* bait! And I have exchanged many helpfulthoughts' with-a. good comrade,:-who was unknown to mc before I. flourished the '•Herald'" in his face|
' But thaYre arc times when I get Stuck —horribly stuck. There are -tini'es, when. I have'- flourished the ''Herald" when-it should have been the "Morning Post"!
I was* fd.nck that way on the day. after polling day. I was returning homo in n fast train in company .with t*vo- elderly workmen, who looked LABOUR ail over. I wanted to know what;' they ■ were thinking about-the. election- results. So I flourished the "HDiMld.": and waited hopefully; But T waited iv vain for any sign of recognition. B&fore- I could Intake up my mind ayont ray next move, one »? them ptMlcd-a local Tory evening .paper .out-of hist pocket, and turned •to she 'spiriting page.
■" ; What won the three o'clock?" asked his companion, and on receiving th? required information, he Swore .audibly.but not too luridly.
■"Down'again?", queried" the man with the paper. • ..-
The other nodded, and knocked the ash out of" his pipe rather savagely.
The man with the. paper grinned. "Lucky for mc, "I hadn't a bob, or I should have backed the same dud," he said.
"Excuse mc," I ventured, "how do ttie parties stand up to now? I ■couldn't get an evening paper on the Station."
'. "The parties ? Oh, you mean, the election results," was his reply...
He turned over the pages, studied the results for a minute or two, and then burst out with: "Thank Gawd!' The Conservatives are well away for a good majority over the bloody Socialists."
"That's the stuff to gi'c 'cm," said hi;* companion, gleefully, forgetting hi-a had luck oh the "three o'clock." "That'll.teach 'em that we don't want auy o' tho;i- Bolshie tricks in this country.''
I "opened out".' on them, one at n time, and they bit back at mc together. "They were good law-abiding Conservatives, they %vere; they .believed in 'fair play all round/ and in giving agitators, the option of being shot or deported--—we couldn|t do without, the capitalist, and "this ere capital levy, busiaes- is blasted robbery"—and 'so oa- right through -the long list of stock "arguments," c.l up from the Tbry papers dtir)h§ f.Ue campaign. I copfess that I was hopelessly beaten.- I had a cold,, and I couldn't make my r'eplies'fiteard above their doublerbarreilcd discharges. I was so disgusted? that I f«M,red my usually placid temjper would not inst out the jouraey. ; W/tth a big" effort, I managed to close the debate by ma kin*- a "peace offering" 6i cigarettes, and begging a, match. Before Ive reached our destination, I had learnt that they wer<V builders' labourers and that both w?r_ over*6o ye_rs of age.— W. - J» Ciutmb*rlftin,. In tbe "Crusader,"