LDVideo: From the archives – ‘How Members of Parliament Are Elected (1945)’

by Stephen Tall on May 7, 2012

There now follows a public information film… During the 1940s, the British Council produced more than 120 short films ‘designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played’. They’re now available online, and here’s the Pathe-style feature on the 1945 electoral race in Kettering — or, as it’s described in the British Council Film Department Catalogue:

‘The film shows how the candidates, after completing the necessary formalities, plan their election campaigns with the help of their Agents and go round the district addressing the voters. What happens on Polling Day, how people vote, the precautions for secrecy, the counting of the votes and the declaration of the result are shown in detail. The film was made at Kettering in Northamptonshire during the 1945 election.’

The candidates featured are Labour’s Gilbert Mitchison, ‘Independent Christian’ John Dempsey and incumbent Conservative MP John Profumo, and it’s interesting to see the importance attached to public meetings, and the warnings — even after six years of war — of the danger of ‘apathy’.


(Available to watch here.)

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.