5 SEPTEMBER 1958, Page 6

I SEE there is speculation already as to whether the

Nationalist Party will split as a result of the com- petition for the premiership, and the fact that this was resolved in Dr. Verwoerd's favour. Or, per- haps, following some especially high-handed action on his part capable of uniting in wrath the various factions at odds with him. There is always some speculation as to whether the Nationalist Party is about to split—largely because South African parties invariably do so, sooner or later; but this time there is something new about the Nationalists' situation. For the first time in their history they have found themselves without a natural leader to move in. Hertzog, Malan, Strydom—each in his turn personified the Nation- alist passion and philosophy of his particular time. There Were some flaws in the picture in Mr. Strydom's case; he had fought under the Union Jack in the First World War (a young man's im- prudent whim, all reference to which was erased from his official party biography). But in the end his stern dedication, unusual in politicians any- where, led to his being accepted most fully. NO Nationalist could honestly claim that he regards Dr. Verwoerd in the same light.