posted on Jun, 7 2020 @ 09:28 AM
I spent most of the morning stapling programmes for the lower school Sports Day in company with Barker, while Angel and Walker helped at times. We did
375 copies altogether, and the Secretary gave both of us a Cadbury’s Flake in reward for our labours. After dinner the lower school took out their
chairs. Mr. Taylor wanted some for the parents. “MySelf, you can organise that”, he said, quite casually. While some lower Sixth boys took a party
to the library to collect chairs, he sent me to Mr. Bartholomew to find out what table he wanted taking out. He wanted four tables from the
dining-hall, so I got those out with my four helpers. I saw Griffiths, Pott, and Street together among the rows of chairs, so I went over to see what
“Are you trying to steal my voters?” I demanded.
“Steal them?” said Griffiths. “You’ve got all of them!” He said his researches had shown I had a vast majority (though the fourth-formers
were not present, it has to be said, because they stayed indoors).
Wednesday June 17th
We had French literature this morning. This is the paper which is likely to bring down my grade, being the one most affected by doing little
preparation. I could write a good essay on the meaning of Antigone, and competently on the Malade Imaginaire, having read them both recently. I’ve
got the reputation in our set of being the only one in the group who can understand Athalie. However, since I haven’t looked at it since before the
Mocks, except perfunctorily, I did not know the text set. On internal evidence, I wrongly attributed it to Abner, and set out from there. I began
Mallarme, but changed my mind, and wrote about “my favourite stories” in Maupassant instead, which meant that I could pick my own.
There was a question meeting planned in 1Alpha, which was moved to the open air. The four of us (without Angel) had our chairs on the path with our
backs to the first-form rooms. The audience were on the grass, standing, or sitting if they had brought seats out. What would Labour do for
agriculture, was he in favour of Free Radio? Pott was asked whether he wanted us to go into the Common Market, and he said no, for the usual socialist
reasons. While other parties thought about big companies, he thought about the people. What reason did he have to think that the workers were
oppressed today? (This question was clapped) Because of their low pay ,below the £17 a week minimum which he was advocating. Where was the money
going to come from? From the vast profits of the companies which employ them. One boy asked me whether I was in favour of co-education. When I began
to answer, pointing out what the word meant, he changed his mind and asked about comprehensive education instead. Then Griffiths answered my thoughts
and we responded to each other. Pott, asked about wage inflation, said that unions should have the freedom to get their men higher wages. I commented
that he was arguing in favour of the unions’ right to commit anarchy.
A question from Linton to me on immigration was interrupted, or rather my thinking time was extended, when Fellows came on the scene through the
first-form room behind us. There was a general all-party chant of “Out! Out!” and he went and took his place in the audience. Pott was asked how a
Communist leader was compatible with the idea that all men were equal. He said that he did not think that Russia was a Communist country, but “take
Cuba for instance”, and he demonstrated that Castro was just the same as everybody else, or rather that he lived in exactly the same way. But he
said nothing about the unrestrained power of the leadership, which can be used to make a Communist country an unpleasant place to live in.
Fellows asked Griffiths if he could keep his chanting supporters quiet. Griffiths said they were nothing to do with him. Abbott asked Fellows to
kindly address his remarks through the chair. Fellows repeated his question, “through the chair”, and Griffiths answered that there had been no
chanting until Fellows came along, which brought another cheer. Linton asked me once again about immigration. I said that I wanted all British
subjects to be able to enter the country with the same freedom, but that we just did not have the room to allow this to all non-British subjects. Pott
asked me about the Irish. I said that I would count them as British, so he mentioned something about colour discrimination. I denied this. I said I
had claimed freedom of movement for all British subjects, which would include the famous Kenyan Asians, if that was what he was referring to, because
they had British passports. Then it became a useless exchange between Griffiths and myself on the voting rights of the Irish in British General
Elections. He was coming from a totally unexpected angle, criticising the privilege as illogical. I can accept it, because I’m familiar with the
history that lies behind it.
Mr. Abbott asked us all to say something to wind up. When Pott began, Robb made some comment about Communism. Then, when shushed by Pott, he said he
still had the right to express his opinion, the Communists weren’t in power yet, mate, which brought more clapping. Pott told them all not to vote
just as their parents did, but to consider their own opinions on the policies put forward by the candidates.
The general impression is that I will win. I was surprised to be told that my closest rival in one of the first forms is Pott. In 2A, where Hambidge,
Parr and their gang are going round campaigning for me vigorously, estimates of my poll in a recent vote have varied between “two-thirds” and
“everybody except two”. It’s been suggested that Fellows might have injured my vote, but I don’t agree. Ashman has conducted an opinion poll
with a small random sample. He converted the proportions of answers into percentages, then translated these into numbers of votes by assuming an
electorate of 400. This rather uncomplicated system, which would be frowned upon by professional statisticians, produces very credible results at
first sight. He predicts 140 votes for me, the same as at the last election, 100 for Griffiths, 60 each for Street and Pott. He found nobody
supporting Angel, but thought he had better predict one vote, because Angel would vote for himself. The normal abstainers would be accounted for by
the 10% “Don’t Knows”. There will also be absentees in the fifth form and upper Sixth because of exams, but this would probably increase my
majority by affecting my opponents more than it affects me. Personally, I shall measure my success by the amount that my total vote exceeds the Tory
vote of 1966.