15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 2

Sense About Spain

The Minister of State, Mr. Hector McNeil, showed praiseworthy courage in talking straight sense about Spain to a Labour audience at the North Paddington by-election. It is perfectly true, as he said, that no one will remove Franco except the Spanish people. It may be added with equal truth that no one has any right to remove Franco except the Spanish people. Whether any regime that succeeded Franco would possess any elements of stability, or show itself much more indulgent to its opponents than Franco has to his, is a debate- able question. But it would be reasonable to hope for better things from professed Republicans than from the present dictatorship ; for that reason a change, if it could be effected without external inter- vention, should unquestionably be welcomed. But for pressure by this country there would be no shadow of justification. Totali- tarianism everywhere is detestable, but as a matter of hard fact Spain is no more totalitarian than Soviet Russia, and enthusiasts who urge action against Franco Spain, which happens to be weak, and suggest nothing of the kind in connection with the U.S.S.R., which happens to be strong, do not evoke very profound admira- tion. That Mr. McNeil should have sad, or implied, all this to his Labour audience is very much to his credit.