SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1934. Volume 5. Number 6.
[letter to the editor]
The Editor, "Smad."
Not since the "Twisted Teaching" incident has there been such a wealth of baseless innuendo in 'Varsity circles as in the above letter from Mr. Hanmer Smith.
The scrutineers may reply for themselves as regards the ill-informed charges made against them. But as chairman of the meeting in question I must answer the cheap insinuations levelled by your correspondent as to the disregard of "the recongised canons of public meetings."
In the first place, Sir, one would have though! that no level-headed, non-partisan, right-minded, clear-thnking student such as "Mr. Smith' would have launched such a cargo of invective without some slight enquiry into the facts of the ease. But no, your correspondnt is content to rely on the allegations of those who surreptitiously collect and re-count the votes after the meeting, spread rumours that the election was invalid, decline to bring any definite complaint before either the Club's Committee or the Executive, and refuse even to produce the voting papers for inspection. Those who, at the meeting, took keen delight in nominating the Prime Minister and his colleagues for the Committee were the ones who originated the rumours about the voting. Mr. Smith may indeed be proud to champion tlie'r complaint about the conduct of the election. He may also be congratulated on concocting a charge of graft without one fragment of evidence to support it.
Your correspondent bolsters up this cooly-reasoned case with unanswerable logic when he shows that the Anti-War Movement, the Labour Club, and the page 8 Free Discussions Club are practically one and the same body. Although their respective aims are nominally poles apart, although the Committees are comprised of substantially different members, although their supporters are, in the case of the Anti-War Movement, far wider than that of the Labour Club, still it is difficult to resist the above conclusion, reached by Mr. Smith only after careful analysis.
On the question of the Club's affiliation, it is implied that this boon was sought from the Executive and too readily granted. Unfortunately for Mr. Smith's argument, however, the facts even on this minor point are against him. It was against the wishes of the Student Anti-War Committee and purely at the instigation of the Executive that a regular college club was thus formed and affiliated. On the matter of the Executive's scouting of the sponsors of new clubs, Mr. Smith apparently does not know the usual practice of the Executive in such matters. I have myself appeared before that body for a lengthy cross-examination as to the aims and activities of a proposed new club.
But not only does your correspondent write with the valour of ignorance. He goes further, and urges that in principle it is undesirable that these small clubs should be affiliated, bringing discredit as they do upon an otherwise rational body. Proudly Mr. Smith declares himself non-partisan. Let him then keep to his fence. In a society in which injustice is glaring enough, let the City Fathers never find him concerned in trying to right it. Let him remain spotless above the turmoil, in distant but dignified isolation. Let him not leave the muddy pool of conformity for the swifter currents of controversy; for around the social questions of the clay rages a contest into which, fettered as he is by such scruples for the good name of himself and his fellows, he is obviously ill fitted to plunge.
I am, etc.,
I. D. Campbell.