Gerald Bullett oversees this competition, which asks for an extract from Earle’s Microcosomography (you can read it here). This is the second time it has been used as the basis for a competition (it was used by Anthony Bertram in 170B). The idea is to come up with a denunciation of rearmament, and arms manufacturers (and by the by, to come up with a term of abuse for them). Rearmament had started to become a major issue with the failure of the Zurich arms conference in 1933, and Hitler’s rise to power – and his refusal to be part of the League of Nations. Macdonald’s government hads a huge majority, but he himself was now becoming ill. New Statesman and Nation was vocal in its antipathy to rearmament, thereby siding with the Labour Party in opposition (and Lloyd George’s Liberals and a few other Liberals). Baldwin, effectively the prime minister, began planning a growth in armament, and was harried by men like Churchill for moving too slowly. It is worth remembering that there was quite a feeling in favour of peace, as was suggested by the ‘Peace Ballot’ held later in 1934 – which found the population far from decisive about armament, and split 50:50 on the subject. There is a good outline here.
Bullett is aggrieved that no-one has come up with a good word; but he has no uncertainty about the direction to be taken by the prizes. In this still relatively rare political competition, it seems appropriate that the conscientious objector Allan M. Laing should grab the first prize. L.V. Upward is second. Redling is commended for the word ‘gunster’.