23 JULY 1954, Page 4

Preparing for Scarborough

The resolutions from the Labour Party's annual conference, , coming mainly from the constituency parties in which Bevan. ites and fellow-travellers toil like lonely beavers, all too seldom give an impression Of intelligence and responsibility. But this year's batch surpasses all its predecessors in truculent non- sense. A stranger presented with these resolutions, and ignorant of the peculiar workings of the Labour Party, might well suppose that a general revolt was in progress against the leadership. One resolution after another opposes (' irrecon- cilably," uncompromisingly,' or even ` firmly ') the idea of a South-East Asian Treaty Organisation. German rearmament is still more extensively and unanimously deplored. So are the Government's colonial policies. So are hydrogen bombs. There are more than four hundred resolutions, and, almost without exception, they are expressions of that woolly state • of mind in which Communism and its little cousin Bevanism flourish most freely. America is always somewhere in the background as the villain, and one would never gather from reading this document that Russia and China have on occasion shown signs of hostility towards Britain and Britain's friends. The resolutions which deal with home affairs are a little more sensible, but, here too the lunatic fringe is flapping about. Huyton's contribution is too good to pass by. According to this, the national executive must formulate a plan to nation- alise all commerce and industry without compensation and that complete workers' control be established.' Of course it is a convention that local parties should have their craziest fling O n this occasion, and one need not take the pure nonsense too solemnly. But the resolutions on Germany and South-East Asia are another matter. They are a clear indication that the party leadership, for all its support by the big guns of the big unions, will not have an easy time at the conference. The party is deeply divided. Mr. Attlee and his colleagues will no doubt emerge triumphant from their autumn ordeal in Scarborough; but, in the absence of miracles, the party's decline into weakness and confusion will continue.