MT 60 Yrs – 2nd Year No 58 – Friday – 16th September 1955
A year ago, NMU publicly proclaimed his scrupuleux regard pour la verité (scrupulous regard for the truth). How do specific statements of his measure up to that bold claim? Let us look at Opinion du jour in Le Cernéen of June 3rd, where we can read Après la guerre, le Gouvernement Churchill qui venait de sauver l’Angleterre, a été renversé bêtement et injustement… (After the war, Churchill’s Government, which had just saved England, was ungratefully and unjustly overthrown). How does this measure up with a “scrupulous regard for truth”. We will see.
Certainly Churchill led the wartime Coalition Government which was formed after Dunkirk, in 1940. But – the Government was supported by members of all parties, Labour and Liberal as well as Tory. It was the all-party Coalition Government, headed by Churchill as Prime Minister, which saved England.
When in 1945 the war in Europe ended, the Labour and Liberal members of the Government resigned. Churchill remained as Prime Minister and for a week headed a Tory Government – the “Caretaker” Government, as it was derisively known. This Government lasted the few weeks to the Dissolution of Parliament which was of course followed by the General Election. At this election, as is well known the Labour Party gained its resounding victory. People were not unjust or ungrateful – they wanted a break with the past, with the old ways of life. They saw in the Labour Party a party of hope and vision and progress, offering a new way of life; contrasting with the Tory Party which still in 1945 stood for privilege and the power of Mammon. Incidentally, a majority of Tory MP’s had opposed Churchill and voted for the continuance of the Chamberlain Government in 1940! And, during the war, Churchill had been a great national leader; but the General Election campaign of 1945 revealed him as a mere party Cheap-Jack.
In 1945 the Churchill Government was renversé; but it was a Tory Government pure and simple. It was not the Government which venait de sauver l’Angleterre (had just saved England). An all-party Government saved England during the war; a Labour Government saved England and restored her prosperity after the war. The five years of Tory rule that have followed the Election of 1951 have undermined that prosperity so that Britain now faces a financial crisis which the Tories will deal with in their traditional time hallowed way – unemployment, restriction of the social services, short-time in industry.
No, NMU’s boast of a scrupulous regard for truth falls down in the connexion. But further – in the same Opinion du jour we read that l’évolution de la doctrine travailliste la porte inexorablement vers l’état de l’âme communiste (the evolution of Labour doctrine leads inevitably to the Communist state of mind). In this connexion, NMU refers to l’exemple de Bevan (the example of Bevan). Perhaps NMU is unaware of Aneurin Bevan’s implacable anti-Communism; of Bevan’s statement, in the foreword to Denis Healey’s The Curtain Falls, that “The Communist Party is the sworn inveterate enemy of the Socialist and Democratic parties. When it associates with them, it does so as a preliminary to destroying them.”
This statement of Bevan’s is borne out by postwar events in Hungary and Czecho-Slovakia, to name but two countries where the communist parties have destroyed the social democratic parties. It was precisely because Czecho-Slovak and Hungarian social democracy was not leading to communism that the Czecho-Slovak and Hungarian Communist Parties engineered coups d’état and seized power.
Once again therefore we find that the facts belie NMU’s boast of the scrupuleux regard pour la verité.
(MT 16 September 1955)
* Published in print edition on 18 March 2016