15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 1

Frustration for France

The frustrations of French politics are apparently endless. Last Sunday's election of Deputies to the National Assembly, while giving the Communists a bare majority over any other single party, greatly reducing the numerical strength of the Socialists, and leaving the M.R.P. slightly weaker than before, did not eliminate the need for an alliance between these three parties. The Socialist leg of the tripod has grown steadily shorter in recent months, but the tripod has not yet collapsed. Possibly sheer desperation may produce a Government of the Left or Right in the next few weeks, out it is rather more likely that prudence will produce another ill-assorted combination of Right, Left and Centre. Since the French Socialists are apparently going to share the melancholy fate of the British Liberals and slowly fade away, it appears to be a matter of indiffer- ence whether they sink their identity in the Communist Party or " betray the working class," as the usual phrase goes, by combining with the M.R.P. Neither will give France a strong and stable Government. The combination of Marxist dogma with what survives of the revolutionary mystique in the French Communist Party makes it impossible for the remaining parties either to allow the Communists to govern or to challenge it to oppose. Neither of these things would solve France's economic problems. There is still a little time to think, while the Council of the Republic and a President are elected, but after that France must arrest inflation aria regularise the distribution of goods. Very little more time can be spared for political manoeuvres.