15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 3

Thunder on the Left

The challenge to the Government's totalitarian tendencies in the form of an upheaval from the Left has its interesting features. It has not hitherto been very clear what the number of the potential rebels on the foreign policy issue was. It now appears that there are more of them than was generally supposed, for some forty odd put their names to an amendment to the Address demanding the adoption of an ideological instead of a national foreign policy. Their arguments are familiar, and they leave the great bulk of the Labour Party unmoved, and on any such issue Ministers have, of course, the whole-hearted support of the Opposition. The Prime Minister's strength of feeling on the subject is intelligible, for to move an amendment of this kind is a highly critical, not to say a hostile, act, and Mr. Attlee was naturally at some pains to impress that fact on new Members who might not have fully appreciated it. One effect of the effervescence may be to tighten up party discipline, which is not in itself a good thing. By deciding to keep their amendment on the paper, but not press it to a division, the rebels have from their own point of view made the worst of both worlds. Their action is not calculated to disturb the equanimity of the absent Foreign Secretary overmuch.