Bertrand Russell the Passionate Skeptic: A Biography

By Alan Wood | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
Chelsea Candidate and American Lecturer

RETURNING from China, Russell married and settled down with Dora at 31 Sydney Street, Chelsea, where their two children were born. During the period of his second marriage, or roughly for the next ten years, he came much closer than before to orthodox Labour Party opinion, and Socialists took his criticisms of British Imperialism in China as atoning for his previous criticisms of Soviet Russia.

Russell stood for Parliament as Labour candidate for Chelsea in the General Elections of 1922 and 1923. Chelsea was a Conservative stronghold where the sitting member was Sir Samuel Hoare, later Lord Templewood.

The house at 31 Sydney Street was used as the Labour Party Committee Rooms. In the words of a visiting Times reporter, 'a select body of workers toil zealously in the basement'; while 'the surroundings are pleasantly marked by the owner's good taste'--a reference to Chinese furniture and rugs which Russell had brought back from Peking. Russell, announcing that he supported the Labour Party's policy on all points, opened his campaign with a triumphant meeting in the Chelsea Town Hall. He urged a capital levy and the nationalization of mines and railways, he opposed cuts in expenditure of education, and he criticized the Treaty of Versailles. There was tremendous applause when he addressed the meeting as 'my future constituents'. When he told them 'You will very probably be told by other people that I am unpatriotic', a voice shouted back 'You are a gentleman'. The cheers held up proceedings for some minutes.

Russell criticized the policy of financing 'reactionary adventures' in Russia, and said that the recognition of Soviet Russia

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