VOL. 170 No. 5092





Considerations on a Manifesto


His Banned Pastoral and a Personal Impression

FOREIGN BROADCASTS Things heard from Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Salamanca

Full List o f Contents on page 796.

THE WORLD WEEK BY WEEK Major Attlee and His Company

After all the outcry of the Labour party about foreign troops in Spain, Mr. Attlee goes to Madrid to be complimented by the naming of a British “ Major Attlee Company” in the International Brigade.

Mr. A ttlee’s conduct in going out to Madrid, and making speeches that the policy of the British Government has not been endorsed by public opinion in Britain, deserves all the censure it has received. Mr. Attlee holds a great position under the British Parliamentary system. It is true that he has never known high official responsibility. He was for some months before 1931, Chancellor of the Duchy o f Lancaster and then Postmaster-General. His chance came in the party debacle o f the 1931 election. Today he is the official Leader o f the Opposition, with a salary, paid by the State, of £2,000 a year. He is, possibly, a future Prime Minister. He ought to behave with much greater moderation. The House of Commons today is the only remaining part o f the traditional British constitution which is effective over policy. The monarchy and the House o f Lords have been reduced to shadows. A monarch who reigns a long time, and whose character wins for him respect, comes to enjoy an effective influence through his long experience and his disinterestedness. The House o f Lords always contains some members of the Cabinet, and enjoys a subordinate legislative power. But the whole trend o f Democratic politics has been to diminish these institutions and to exalt the Commons, and in the Commons the Government o f the day.. The essence of the system is the alternation between office and opposition, and the Leader o f the Opposition has been salaried in order that he may not be distracted by the necessity to earn money, from the immensely responsible and exacting work which he has to do. The English political tradition is one o f the greatest treasures which the country possesses. It is a tradition, aristocratic in origin, which makes men regard the observance o f certain conventions in the interests of the system as of at least as much importance as the securing o f immediate party advantages. There is a tradition o f restraint in speech, and particularly o f not carrying politics into foreign countries. The audiences which have been cheering him in the three remaining centres of Red Spain must inevitably be deceived about Mr. A ttlee’s position and prospects. They cannot know how unlikely it is that he and Mr. Noel Baker will ever be allowed to reverse the policy at present being pursued. In the Spanish tradition, party politics have always been fought with a degree o f violence and unscrupulousness, happily outside our own experience. They are encouraged to hope th a t by some turn o f the wheel, some tricks of the political trade, Mr. Attlee and Mr. Noel Baker will soon come to power, and will then mobilize the might o f Britain on their behalf. Visits to Both Sides

According to the Yorkshire Post, Sir Archibald Sinclair has been playing with the idea of a visit to Madrid, only the Barcelona authorities declared that they could not guarantee his safety. That is the worst o f the present position. Mr. Eden may well say in the House that he wishes all English politicians would visit both sides if they go to Spain at all, but Left politicians are too bigoted to go to the secure areas of Nationalist Spain. And Right politicians, and even politicians o f mildly Left complexion like Sir Archibald Sinclair, can only visit Red Spain at grave, and indeed excessive, peril. Meanwhile Mr. Attlee has returned and will no doubt speak in the same wild vein at meetings at the Albert Hall and elsewhere. I t is very difficult for those Catholics in the Labour movement who disapprove of these outings to the scenes of so much profanation and murder, to command a hearing. The whole tendency is for party discipline to grow stricter, and for minorities to be expected to endure in silence. The Labour party life becomes more and more a profession unfitting a man for any other, should he fall foul of the majority and be extruded. Local and National Politics

It is a bad thing that the exceedingly difficult questions with which national and local politics are concerned