3 SEPTEMBER 1943, Page 2

Labour and the Next Election

Members of the Labour Party will do well to ponder the words of Mr. A. M. Wall, general secretary of the London Society of Com-

positors, who this month's Typographical journal goes to the heart of the tactical problem which stares the Labour Party in the face. He sees, what everyone can see, that at the end of the war Mr. Churchill will be at the pinnacle of his career and in a political position unassailable. Is the Labour Party at that critical moment, by continuing to support a National Government, to have Mr. Churchill on its side, or will it, by a return to party politics, throw him into the arms of the Conservatives and leave to them the sole effective voice in shaping the peace terms and the whole post-war policy of reconstruction? Mr. Wall reproaches the Labour move- ment for not seizing the opportunity to find out the practical contents of the four-year programme outlined by the Prime Minister but March. In the light of these remarks it is worth considering the possible courses of action open to the Labour Party at the next General Election. A return to 'party politics, involving opposition to Mr. Churchill, would lead to its decisive defeat. That appears to be the worst course open to it. A continuance of National Govern- ment and electoral truce in the constituencies would leave .Labour with a voice in policy but a minority in Parliament.. But there is yet another possibility, shown by the example of Sweden in 1940 not to be outside the range of practical politics—that the National Government should remain in being under the Prime Minister, but that parties should be free to nominate their candidates in the con- stituencies. (The constituencies orMinisters of Cabinet rank would have to be an exception.) It is pretty certain that Mr. Churchill, who will probably feel it his duty to remain in office in the first years of reconstruction, would prefer to be at the head of a National rather than a party- Government. His genuine instinct for, demo- cracy would incline him to a course which would make freedom to elect a reality. No true democrat can desire a repetition of the Coupon Election of 1918.