The East End Interviewed
By a Staff Reporter If the East End may be considered representative of working-class opinion in .this country it is clear that over the Spanish issue Catholic Labour is overwhelmingly pro-Franco.
The Catholic men's clubs in East London parishes show a disappointing lack of dialectical interest. but the oneness and The obvious sincerity of their views is very encouraging. They look on the Spanish war entirely as a religious war.
Franco is fighting for the Catholic faith, they hold, and the Government is trying to destroy it.
Their religion comes before their politi cal principles. When their religion is threatened they must sacrifice their Labour or Socialist views and protect their Church. " A mates religion comes first, then his country, and then his sweetheart." 1 was told this week by one with whom I spoke in an East End parish.
" What makes you think that this is a religious war?" I asked of several dockers, and was met by indignant assertions that it was so.
"If it isn't why did they start on the Church? Why did they burn churches, kill nuns, etc?"
When Sympathy Alters
"You're Labour men," said I through the catalogue of atrocities which were stilt being hurled at me. "Aren't you?"
They said they were.
" Then you would, in all probability have voted for a Labour group had you been a Spaniard. You would. before the outbreak of the war, have been a supporter of the Government? Or would you have supported the Catholic party?"
Some dubiously agreed that they would have voted for the Government because they were Trades Union men and always had been.
" When would your sympathies have changed from the side of the Government to support General Franco?"
Here they were all agreed. As soon as it became clear, they said, that the Government was condoning the anti-Catholic outrages in Catalonia and not taking adequate steps to ensure the protection of Catholic churches from the anarchists, then it was time to withdraw their support from the Government, which, although it represented their political principles, was really out to destroy their Faith.
Right and Wrong
The clear demarcation between the rights and wrongs of the question is realised fully by Catholic Labour. There seem to be very few Catholic working men who find themselves uncertain. The number who are inclined to follow Mr. IWGovern or Miss Monica Whately are very small. especially among the labourers and dockers.
Those who admitted doubts on the subject also admitted their ignorance of the facts.
What impressed one more than anything was the earnestness of the younger people. Some of the older folk entertained me with dissertations on Harry PoIlitt and atrocities; but Youth spoke with feeling and knowledge; they say that they must fight for their Faith, and in order to secure the freedom of their religion they will forego tainly experience demand once the public everything else. recognise the substantial improvement that