19 APRIL 1963, Page 4

Fanatics and the Law

That spies and psychopaths should exist is natural enough. But there is more to it than that. Not merely the odd deviant, but a whole group of people, overtly setting themselves against the law and society, is involved. These people have now reached the stage of finding it natural to decide for themselves what laws they shall obey. Nor is it a question of the personal injustice of one law or another, but of abstract policy, lead- ing up to a conscious attempt to undermine and destroy our entire democratic order.

For the Government and the courts, the matter is simple. The time has come, with whatever liberality one expects the law to be interpreted, to come down firmly for its enforcement. For the Labour Party, left and right, a major decision of conscience arises. Those of them who continue to attack the administration for failures in law and security, while at the same time conniving at breaches of it, must take their stand one way or the other. Those who show themselves so obsessed with their hostility to the Government that they are prepared to see the principles of our democratic society sacrificed to that end, must be exposed as unfit to govern.

As to the CND itself, we know that the greater part of the movement, including its responsible leaders, are as shocked as the rest of the com- munity. But they are bound to suffer, by associa- tion, in the public eye: and though this is unfair, it is not wholly unfair. The responsibilities of a political movement have not been faced. The fact that anyone who calls himself so is automatically a member of the CND has meant that some responsibility for the actions of the lunatic fringe groups attaches to the leaders willy-nilly. If the movement is to survive, organisation, formal membership and clear responsibility must he introduced.

Therefore, when the original source of the document is brought to justice, let us have no cries of 'martyrdom' from Labour left or CND moderate. The actual secrecy of the plans may have been exaggerated, but there is no doubt that the intention was wantonly and deliberately to break the Official Secrets Act. There is no compulsion for anyone to break the law, or to betray the particular confidences entrusted to him. Using as their excuse a supposedly greater dislike than that of the rest of us to having nuclear bombs dropped on this country, a group of men have tried to put themselves above the law. Their excuse can no longer serve. We have made all sorts of allowances for these anti-nuclear pharisees. It is time for the law to take its course and for all supporters of freedom and order, democracy and law, to dissociate themselves, not ambiguously but totally, from these exhibitionists.