Page 3, 3rd August 1945

3rd August 1945
Page 3
Page 3, 3rd August 1945 — A Catholic and Conservative

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Locations: Moscow, Crimea, Teheran


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A Catholic and Conservative


by Robert Seneourt

AS a Conservative, and a Catho

lic, I am convinced that life is at its noblest when the order of its unity is continueus, As a Conservative I refusee to vote because I judged it better for the country to let Labour face the present issues; why ? If I look abroad I think first of the dangers 01 the Bolshevik dominance, especially in Poland. in the Balkans. but also in France, ir Belgium. and there are ever renewed menaces in Italy and Spain

T cannot see how the Tories could

help at this juneturs in any of those areas. The whole East was bargained away lit leheTall, then in the Crimea. The situation had gone beyond epair. Not only could Moscow work her will, but there was a certain defiance in the way Stalin dealt with Churchill as the foe who had long since denounced him as a criminal. If there is any mercy or justice in the character at Stalin. Churchill was the last man to bring it out. But if. on the other hand. Attlee or Dalton argue a British case, Stalin would listen with a readier ear to them who for better or for worse had always been his supporters and allies . More Balanced Government

I see a yet more lavourable point in

these men having power. Churchill had long ruled Britain in the temper of absolutism and he took counsel only with those who would agree. Now the Labour leaders come into power, they will find in the fighting Services, in the Foreign Office; in the Embassies, in the Treasuly, in the whole Civil Service, in the banks, a body of functionaries who cannot net until their case has been disposed of. It will be supported by business. It can be argued again is Parliament by men of experience an ability. Everywhere 'the new Government will feel the weight of the nine million voters who supported the Conservatives and who represent the bulk of the educated. experienced and informed classes.

Nor is this all. The Government must always placate an America still in the hands of business men, who will not advance loans and credits without certain guarantees they consider essential. I do lint therefore fear any extreine moves from the overwhelming majority of Labour in the House of Commons. If they lend everywhere to support in Europe those patties of the Lett which go most with Russia, and least with the Church, they will do so as a party Government and not as a coalition: and if the game they want to play is extremely daegerous, }et it must be remembered that they tend to have sympathy with the common map, even if he is a German, a Pole, or a Danubian.

If British Lebow and Russian absolutism have certain revolutionary impulses in common, yet they are. quite distinct systems. And who can look at the mean streets of Britain without knowing that men were exploited tor decades in the interests of a class which did great harm in &nein and now has lost prestige ? Who can be surprised if the wheel, as it turns. makes a circle? Controls ate necessary as long as

necessities are -insufficient. Better to keep these than to unleash too quickly a business man whose religion is merely that of the public schools: for where religion does not restrain. then laws must do so: where there is no spirit there can he no freedom: there must be more compulsion.

No Principles The Tories showed in the election that they had neither principle nor programme. They were busy chiefly in denouncing their opponents and they were not always just or reasdnable in that. They could in no way reassure those who deeply questioned them. And they had long since forfeited the confidence and respect of the young soldiers and workers. There was a time not so long since when the labouring classes admired the gentleman and enjoyed admiring him. The upper classes were secure because even if envied they were respected. But in the sordidness, as in the horrors of war youth felt cynical arid disillusioned. There was a general recoil against social injustice. They know that snmethisig was very far wrong: they did not want things to go on as they were. The soldiers were tired of discipline: they were becoming more and more dubious about the cause in which they had risked their lives. What was the. inevitable result ? They voted for the party that seemed at least to offer a change, for they could not believe the world could take a more hideous turn than, they had Seen Mr. Churchill

If the Tories as a whole vette out of touch with modern youth, how did their leaders stand ! Perhaps of all the

leaSOGS fi Uu dowuilall, the petsouality of the Prime Minister was the most powerful. It was noticed of him as a young man that he was only too ready IC adopt the stand that was cOnventent. In 1940, his speeches swayed the whole people: hut as time went on, he lost his power. The speeches became banal and told little and a vague unexpressed instinct spread from the idealists and intellectuals into public opinion. It was the instinct that the war was long grip of principle, and was becoming an end III itself. The mere exertion of power mesmerises those who wield it. So it was with the genius of Winston Cluitch111, in its courage, its grip, its wealth of memories, its mighty decisions. Only from war with Germany could he have become Prime Minister and there came a limit to the blessings of even wet with Germany ! As that limit came near and grew distinct, the civiliane like the soldiers began to feel vaguely that a time would come when they bad had enough of old Winston. The mistakes that he made in these last election tactics sharply increased and widely spread, but they did not create that misgiving about his judgment wha,:h turned the vast majofity of the itr/fiy Ott to the opposing side in politics. Vague but deep was the instinct that smell-tin in a very greet and honourable man had gone awry.

The older people were naif. They followed the -newspapers : they voted for the victorious war leader. The younger people felt sonlething bitter in, the flavour of life: the war leader had long ceased to convince them that either living or dying for his cause was really worth their while : slowly, vaguely. sullenly they decided to look rather the unknown.

Results of: War

That there were weseknesses in the Churchill logic, who can deny ? The war Inught to lice Poland had but more deeply enslaved it ; if the Bolsheviks were all that Churchill fiad for twenty years insisted. then why make them the

indisputable masters of Europe ? if unconditional surrender of the enemy was the only aim of war, and one great result was the weakening and impoverishment of Britain, was the victory so desirable and the war leader so great a benefactor ? In earlier years Churchill had proved that modern war . is ruin to the victor just as clearly as Ito had asserted that Bolshevism is barbarism : he devoted as to a final end his every nerve to pursue a course that must spread barbarism and ruin Britain.

Furthermore, Ile had declared that democracy is totally incapable of dealing with the needs of modern economics. Having shown this, he fought a war against economic plenning. and won it by economic plauning. But at the same lime, to placate America and the Left, he had declared he was fighting lot democracy : and in the event he asked democracy to pass judgment. It was a wager with the irony of fate. For what in such a context is democracy ? It. is a system by which people who are told very little about the real issues of the affairs by 'which their lives are ruled are asked to pass judgment on the great subjects which they must find it difficult to judge, even when knowing the facts. But the masses of the people arc asked to pass judgment without being allowed to hear the evidente. This is the system for which Mr. Churchill fought, and to which he trusted. The' jury which was not allowed to hear his evidence declared him guilty, not by unanimous vote but by the Opinion of a million or two of inexperienced electors. On thia opinion his political future and the new turn in history is made to depend, and once again we sec that character is fate.

A New Epoch • A new epoch begins : and it begins in that disastrous condition of the world which five years of Ma Churchill's war leadership have left it. Of where and how battles were fought we know a good deal, but few of us have yel seen bombed Germany. And the secrets of Mr. Churchill's conversations with President Roosevelt are welt kepi. We know no more of the Crimea and Teheran than we know Of the moves which provoked Japan IQ war, But if war is not an end in itself. if the enconditional surrender of the enemy may mean tuin to the victors, it may be well for us all that at fact there. has come an end to the absolutism which wages war for democracy. Had he never been Prime Minister, had he never been a great war leader, the task could hardly he heavier than that he now bequeaths to his successors. They have yet to learn the whole meaning of what Mr. Churchill has done for democracy; —and to learn, also. what democracy has now in its turn done for labour. No one can envy the government that has to face the weight of the years immediately before us.

As I began by saying, it is because I am a Catholic and a Conservative that I welcome Labour's new advent to power.

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