1 JANUARY 1965, Page 13

Labour's Left

Sts,—Mr. Alan Watkins' may well be right when he points out (December 18) that the main weakness of the left in the Labour Party has been our pre- occupation with questions of 'defence and foreign policy since 1951. He fails to mention, however, that the major issues in British politics during this period hang been in the field of international affairs, includ- ing the speed of rearmament in the early Fifties, German rearmament, nuclear tests, the development of Britain's nuclear weapons, Suez, the Common Market. Cuba. and now the MLF.

On these issues the left has expressed its concern at British policy and ensured public awareness of the real problems involved. With few resources such groups as the Labour Peace Fellowship, the Move- ment for Colonial Freedom and CND have, in their differing ways, tried to tell the electorate that issues' of foreign, defence and colonial policy arc as vital as bread and butter issues. We have been right on many occasions.

Mr. Watkins was obviously at the Brighton meet- ing arranged jointly by the LPF, MCF and CND. It is surprising therefore that he omits any reference to the speech of Fenner Brockway, who defined clearly the faith which inspires the left in the Labour movement. We are not doctrinaire but we do seek to uphold the principles of socialist internationalism. Like so many analysts of the Labour Party Mr. Watkins makes the mistake of believing that we are concerned with promoting individuals to positions of leadership. We are con- cerned with policies and principles not personalities.


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