Day 52: William Enters Politics

The facts

The dining-room in which William’s uncle was to hold his Liberal Party meeting had a hatch.
The hatch slowly opened. A dirty oval gilt frame appeared, and was by no means soundly attached to the top of the open hatch. Through the aperture of the frame appeared a snub-nosed, freckled, rough-haired boy with a dirty face and a forbidding expression.
William didn’t read sensational fiction for nothing.

  • Number: 4.12
  • Published: 1924 (same year in magazine form)
  • Book: William the Fourth
  • Synopsis: It’s election time in the village, and William discovers that the Liberal Party is going to make bread cheaper.


Enticed by the wholehearted Liberalism of his uncle, William spies on a meeting of the Liberal Party and discovers, to his deep shock and indignation, that while they want to make the price of bread cheaper, the “ole rakshunary Conservies” are going to make it more expensive.

He therefore makes it his mission to secure a victory for the Liberal candidate.

William gasped. “You?” he said. “The Conservies? But – if you’re both tryin’ to make bread cheaper why’re you fightin’ each other?”

His technique involves breaking into the house of the Conservative candidate and confronting him with the price-of-bread issue.

But then he makes a startling discovery…

This story obviously speaks from Richmal Crompton’s own disenchantment with the rise of valence issues in politics. She seems, essentially, to be using William as a surrogate for her own political journey of discovery.