Red Clydeside: A history of the labour movement in Glasgow 1910-1932


Letter from The Reconstruction Society to Lord Weir, 12 Sep 1919

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The fear and suspicion of a Bolshevik inspired revolution on British soil was widespread within the political establishment of Britain from 1916 onwards. William Weir, with his upper middle-class background and his experience as a major employer and as a Government minister, was to prove himself a willing and able participant in the propaganda battle to prevent the growing influence of Left-wing political ideology and trade union strength.

According to the Lord Weir's private correspondence, between August and September of 1919 there occurred a flurry of activity aimed at attracting his membership to and financial support for, right wing anti-socialist propaganda groups. Weir's correspondence from this time details moves made by 3 groups to solicit his support. These three groups being The Reconstruction Society, Freedom of Britain Movement an unnamed grouping headed by Conservative MPs Edmund Talbot and F.E.Guest.

Weir's correspondence on these matters shows that he rebuked the offer from The Reconstruction Society, citing that he felt that their strategy and tactics overlapped with the work of similar groups. Weir felt that if the work of several groups with the same aims was uncoordinated all the work done could possibly be wasted and would lead to greater difficulties. Weir seems to have come down on the side of the Freedom of Britain Movement, telling Edmund Talbot in his reply of 19th August 1919 that on the matter of his support for anti-bolshevism propaganda he was inclined to lend his support to a “very large organisation which has recently been formed”