Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Workers' Republic (Author: James Connolly)

Chapter 35


The College Green Election is over, and John Dillon Nugent sits as representative of that Division in the British Parliament. What more can be said on the matter? The electors of that constituency made it pretty clear to all who think, that they deeply resented the attempt of the United Irish League and its wirepullers to foist upon the Division so deeply detested a man as Mr. Nugent. But they also demonstrated that against a well oiled and smoothly working machine a mere sullen, sulky protest is not sufficient. There were more abstentions in the College Green election on Friday, June 11th, than the number of the combined poll of Nugent and Farren. These abstentionists had not the public spirit needed to send them to the polling booth to register their votes, hence they are represented to-day by a man whose public life has been spent in furthering everything that they detest.

It is an object lesson in the value of organisation, and also of the great danger of such an organisation to public liberties when it is in the hands of thoroughly unscrupulous men.

The Labour candidate did not win because the electors were not sufficiently imbued with labour principles to rally to his aid, and until the electors are so imbued the seat does not properly belong to labour. On the other hand, although Nugent had at his command all the secret forces of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (Board of Erin), all the secret and public forces of the United Irish League and all the money needed to buy a horde of corrupt and corrupting scoundrels to debauch the ballot box, his real vote was so ridiculously small that he has not yet established any moral claim upon the constituency. The College Green Division is still open to any candidate of any party to fight for it at the first opportunity.


And it may be taken as certain that at the first occasion labour will again marshal its forces for the fray. As the popular saying has it the seat is only ‘lent’ to Mr. Nugent. On this occasion our opponent was in the field a week ahead of us in his own person, whilst his organisations were busy getting their forces in order long before the death of Mr. J. P. Nannetti. Between the actual nomination of Mr. Thomas Farren and the day of the election there were only three clear days; between the legal nomination of Mr. Farren and the election there were only two days and a half. Handicapped in this way, and hard pressed for money all the time, the Labour Party did wonders. It has set its claim upon the constituency; it has now to so educate the voters that when next the battle is on, every worker in the division will be polled. When that is done we have no fear but that the victory will be ours.

  • Workers Republic , June 19, 1915.

  • p.363