28 MAY 1948, Page 2

Nemesis in Czechoslovakia

There is no turning back from the road on which Czechoslovakia embarked in February. Every day makes it more difficult for the anti-Communist majority to express itself except by flight. The news of the campaign leading up to the elections to be held on Sunday is all bad. Canvassing by the Communist-dominated National Front is barely disguised intimidation, euphemistically called "concentrated personal persuasion." The protection offered to independent voters by the secret ballot is being rapidly removed by Communist pressure. The legitimate point that voting need not be secret if the individual voter does not wish it (after all, vast numbers of British voters make no secret of the way their votes will go) has been twisted into an assertion that screens round polling booths should be removed. That means that every voter can be watched and even the option of secrecy taken away from him. This is, of course, a perfectly typical Communist device—as typical as the accusation of " traitorous " relations with the West, the incor- poration and subsequent suppression of all Socialist g,roups to the right of 'the Communists, and the transformation of elections into organised demonstrations of Communist "solidarity." The whole miserable process must now be gone through. A certain amount of idle interest attaches to the percentage of the total votes which the Communists will give themselves, and that is all. There is still plenty of sympathy for the people of Czechoslovakia, who, but for a fatal moment of weakness three months ago, would now undoubtedly be returning a free and non-Communist Government. The only qualification must be that at that moment the sequence of events which is now being gone through must have been as obvious to any thinking citizen of Czechoslovakia as it is to the rest of the world.