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10 December 2015

The Returning Officer: Suffragettes VI

In 1909, Helen Fraser led a suffrage propaganda tour of Scotland. 

By Stephen Brasher

In 1909, Helen Fraser led a suffrage propaganda tour of Scotland. The speakers travelled in a caravan called “Curlew” (built by the educationalist Louisa Lumsden). In Inverness, Fraser – a constitutional suffragist – argued with Adela Pankhurst, who was conducting her own tour; each contended that the other’s approach had not changed the government’s mind.

Fraser was the Liberal candidate for Glasgow Govan in 1922 and Hamilton in 1923. According to the Yorkshire Post, she used “such long words . . . that her audiences at the docks may be pardoned for humming through them”. She emigrated to Australia in 1939 and became president of Women for Canberra, trying to get more women to stand for office.

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This article appears in the 02 Dec 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Syria and the impossible war