Page 4, 16th May 1947

16th May 1947
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Page 4, 16th May 1947 — UESTIONS OF THE WEEK
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UESTIONS OF THE WEEK

Michael de la Redo yere

Ramadier's Socialist Leadership

WE wrote last week of the cry

ing need for Socialists and Centre Christian parties to call the Communist bluff and to put an end once and for all to this idea that government without the heip of the Communists was impossible. In this connection it is interesting to read the comment of Francois Mauriac on the French political crisis, the first round of which the courageous Socialist leader, Rarnadier, has won: " Faced with the choice between duty and self-interest, the Socialists invariably chose the former. Beaten in the elections, they emerge the victors in our political life. At election times. Frenchmen are apt to think in CV tremes. Afterwards, however, cornmonsehse again prevails and the middle road is taten. A few months ago Ramadier's name was practically unknown, yet to day he is found to possess all the virtues 39,000,000 Frenchmen expect from a leader. He does not usc the working class as a ladder, but serves them. For once, the interests of the working and the middle classes coincide. The Specialists are doing all in their power to save the franc and the Empire."

One should not, of course, underrate one's oppogents. and the Communists on the Continent have been allowed a very long innings, during 'which they have done an infinite amount of harm. It is not to he expected that they can he quickly Or easily repulsed, even though they are caught in an awkward dilemma. If they make industrial trouble now, they will prevent economic recovery

and earn great unpopularity. If they hold their hand, they will give the Socialists and Centre Parties the chance of regaining lost ground. But we need not weep over their dilemma. It is the opportunity of the Socialists once and for all to free themselves from the fatal policy of making a common workers' cause

with the Communists, This is a spiritless and defeatist (as well as an out-of-date) policy which must harm them as well as harm the

country. Indeed, far more dangerous than the activities of the Communists is the irresolution of the Socialists, so many of whom cannot bear to make the decision to incline Right rather than Left. Yet that decision alone can iecover for them in time leadership of the ssorkers and recovery for the country.

De Gasperi's Resignation THE moral applies elsewhere,

and notably in Italy. It also has its application to the rather different conditions in this country.

In Italy, the Communists, brilliantly led by Togliatti, have made striking progress. The alliance between the Communists, a section of the Socialists and the Christian Democrats. has proved to he a very uneasy one, and no one can be surprised at de Gasperi's resignation. Yet the Christian Democrats lack the strength and resolution to lead the country. This is a result of the great difficulty of running a democracy in a country like Italy and the failure of the British and the Americans to give de Gasperi the practical support he desperately needs. The Communist discipline and political trickery recalls the Fascist era. and however much the Communists themselves may be disliked, many of the Italians. who almost unanimously suppported Mussolini, feel that they understand this simple method of governing and getting things done. In order to offset these advantages, it is imperative that the 'Christian Democrats should be able to offer to the people solid advantages in the way of industrial and financial recovery and in some colonial arrangement which will allow emis gration and an Italian responsibility in colonial administration. These matters depend on the statesmanship shown in London and Washington.

If the way is opened to make it possible for de Gasperi to offer real hope to the people of Italy, we need not despair of the future of the new Italian democracy. Practical help for Italy in this sense is fully as urgent as help for Greece and Turkey. There are only a few months left before the elections and Togliatti is making a very serious bid for power.

"Keep Down the Centre of the Road"

IN this country the Communist question does not arise in the obvious Continental form, but much the same problem, stated in other terms, has to be faced.

The question is whether the Left wing or the Right wing of the Labour Party will win the day in the coming tussle between them. Though it is true that the majority of those who support the Left wing are very far from being Communists

or Communist fellow-travellers, he political and social discipline of the British people is such as to elay very easily into he herds of doctrinaire Left leaders, should they ob tain the decisive influence in Inc Party. On the Continent menerally any government is looked upon as the natural enemy of the people, and consequently there is an obvious limit to any government's power to impose its will. at any rate by constitutional means. Hence. on the Continent, Communist or extremeLeft government. unless it is prepared to provoke civil war, may not in fact prove more dangerous than our "Pinks" who can count on the " fair-play " quality of our people to enable them to put over very dangerous policies. Internally they can carry to its logical conclusion the class appeal of Socialism, as expressed by Shinwell. while, externally. they can do lust as much I arm as any Communist in appeasing Russia under the plausible formille of acting as mediator between he two Big Powers.

There is some danger at present in the Foreign Secretary's apparent

readinees to come to terms with Poland and to initiate a ble trade deal with Russia itself. The danger does not reside so much in these acts which may be necessary and useful in themselves, but in ilie weakening of the solidarity of the Labour Right wing, of which Mr. Sevin himself has proved to tie sc commanding a personality. As is suggested In an adjoining leading article, Britain to-day needs above all a mobilising et all its resources under a high moral !Aimu!us in order to ensure its economic recovery which is the uecesitry condition of its retaining influence in the critical international situation. This can only be done by the solid Labour leaders who still retain the loyalty of the mass of working eeopie and the respect of the greater part of the middle classes. But this healthy situation will rapidly change if the influence of a Zillitetis in foreign affairs causes Mr. Bcvin to change his mind and the influence of a Shinwell frightens Messrs. Attlee and Morrison. Keep Left is not the call to-day; it is " Keep Down the Centre of the Road " The New Crusade ALEXANDER Clifford must ' have considerably startled the readers of Frank Owen's Daily Mail with his hammer and sickle decorated article last week.

" Make no mistake, THIS IS A CRUSADE such as the world has not seen since Mohammedanism rose." (What, by the way. would Frank Owen have said to this k of thing when he was editing he Evening Standard during the .var?)

It is perhaps a good thing that the public should be startled into a realisation of what is at stake by this kind of article, even though it does happen to contain a foolish libel against Catholic teaching, by stating that the Council of Constance taught that Catholics need not keep

faith with heretics. The curious reader is requested to look up the Council in the Catholic Encyclopaedia. And it is certainly a good thing that the British torrespondems in Moscow, some of them with Labour sympathies, should have been so forthright in their descriptions of the extreme social inequalities and the extreme lack of anythine remotely resembling democratic freedom which they saw for themselves.

At the same time, we shall never make real progress against the danger of Communism by mere negative action. A crusade implies not only a heretic to be warded off but crusaders with a positive faith and policy in the name of which to fight. " Is there a faith in the world to-day strong enough to withstand this new universal reli

gion ? " asks Clifford The question whether there exists such a faith is not a question to be put to the Church, the different Christian Communions and other religious bodies; it is, above all, a question to be t et to the politicians and publicists.

Unless these begin to realise that both the supernatural and natural goodness in men and institufioas has to be mobilised and re-orientated in the direction laid down by the Christian Revelation. religion as such cannot play its full part. This " crusade " has to be fount, not only by prayer and fasting and Christian examele and leadershie; it has to be fought in the marketplace and in parliaments and in

chancelleries and in facteirles. lit order to win we must all be in ti, and a Labour Government like miss has an enormous responsibility in providing the right lead.

"Problem Number One" ONE often gets the impression that in modern government it makes very little difference who the individual members of a gov ernmental team are. In more normal times this may be to some extent the case. Then cabinets decide as a body and ministers carry out decisions. But to-day matters are very different. So complex and diverse are the issues that a very great deal depends on the intelligence and energy of individual ministers on to whom a high degree of responsibility is thrown.

We have to-day a very clear example of this. For months a gentleman whose name was hardly known to the public was responsible for the administration of the British zone in Germany. He worked from London. and, from time to time, reported optimistically to Parliament, even though everyone on the spot realised how unrealistic these re ports were. In his place we now have Lord Pakenham, whose name is constantly in the Press headlines and whose energies have been expended since his appointment wholly on the spot.

Instead of the empty reassurances of the Flynd regime, we get the following front Lord Pakenharn: "Think of the effects on human beings for years to come of this food shortage. Germans, after all. are human beings. Your country and mine put money into Germany to feed these people, and we want to get it back. No matter from what angle you look at it, whether from the economic point of view or from the consideration of trying to prevent a future ear, the food crisis should be problem number one in the minds of all of us." That was said in Berlin. In Dusseldorf, Lord Pakenham went to see for himself how the people lived, and he declared that conditions, typified by a farnih with seven children, were appalling."

" Appalling," too, are the difficulties that face Lord Pakenham and the British and American Governments in remedying a situation that has been growing progressively worse these two years. For we must remember that undernourishment grows progressively worse, even though rations themselves may not greatly diminish. The urban population of Germany must be nearing the end of its endurance, with the consequence that there is no energy left either to produce or to make the poliecal and administrative efforts required to imnrove the situation. Lord Pakent;am has taken over a desperate job, but if work, goodwill and intelligence can remedy matters, they will be freely spent by him.

It is a lesson to the Government, too, to appoint intelligent and zealous ministers in all posts instead of being content to appease the old hands and the jobbers who possess political weight, but no other.




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