The attempt to draw lessons from West Islington follows the
attempt to draw lessons from Edge Hill. It can't be much of an attempt at best, for only sx per cent. of the electorate voted, and it by no means follows that a 70 or 8o per cent. vote would have given the same result—though in point of fact it probably would. Liberals claim that the fact that the Conservative vote in 1947 was almost identical with the Conservative vote in 1945 shows that the 2,459 electors who voted Liberal this time must have voted Labour last time. It may well be so, the conclusion, I suppose, being that the intervention of a Liberal does not split the anti- Socialist vote, but takes votes from the Socialists. Even so, I am afraid West Islington gives little satisfaction to the Liberals. They may derive more encouragement and inspiration from the self- sacrificing example of Lord Samuel, who at the age of 76 is entering on a campaign of .twelve platform speeches at centres from Plymouth to Scotland in the Liberal cause. But age, as I have always insisted, is not to be measured by calendar years—certainly not in Lord Samuel's case. And I observe that the Prime Minister has invited Mr. Arthur Greenwood, who is 67, to make way for a younger man. Lord Addison, the very active Secretary for Commonwealth Relations and Government leader in the House of Lords, is 78.
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