14 FEBRUARY 1970, Page 25

The demo-mobsters

Sir: During the Springbok rugby tour Mr Hain and his committee appeared (a) non- violent in action as well as in principle; (b) always careful not to provoke clashes with police; (c) very successful in drawing at- tention to the fact that the Springboks represent white South Africa and that British hospitality to them is a condoning of apartheid. To have judged otherwise (7 February) Mr Gale either did not follow the tour or was antagonised by Mr Hain's success.

I do not personally believe that the battle

of South Africa will be won on or off the playing fields of Twickenham. When, however, the question is put 'how can we in England show our disapproval of apartheid?' support for the 'Stop the '70 Tour' campaign provides an immediate suggestion.

Nor do I know Mr Hain himself but have

before me a cutting from the Cape Times of 1 April 1965: 'At 5.30 this morning John Harris was hanged in the Pretoria Central Prison . [Two hours later] members of his family attended the funeral service which was read by [fifteen-year-old] Peter Hain, son of Mr Walter Hain, the banned former Liberal party chairman who was refused permission to read the service ...' Harris was executed for sabotage and murder. The Hains were loyal members of the non-violent Liberal party of South Africa.

Peter Hain is indeed a 'characteristic child of our time' in Mr Gale's sneering phrase.

Randolph Vigne 3 Macartney House, London sE10