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PRESS REACTIONS

ELECTION COMMENT Magnificent Chance To Exert World Leadership Rec. 10 a.m. LONDON, July 27. Britain has undergone a silent revolution, says the Manchester Guardian, in a leading article. The people have swung to the Left in the country no less than in the towns.

"When the people voted Left they, meant it," the paper adds. "They voted Labour and knew what they voted for. The Prime Minister tried to scare them in broadcast after broadcast but their marrows were not frozen. We enter a new political world though we (and the Labour leaders too) may shiver just a little at the thought of what lies ahead. We enter it with confidence. This is part of the European revolution. The British vote parallels the revulsion of feeling throughout Europe against old regimes and old habits of thought. There is encouragement in this for if our affairs are wisely managed we have a magnificent chance of exerting British leadership in 1 the desperately troubled world." The leading article pays tribute to Mr. Churchill's personal qualities, and says the attempt to make the election a personal plebiscite did him immense harm, while Lord Beaverbrook's efforts were a great disservice to the Conservatives. No one would dream of interpreting the crushing defeat inflicted on Mr. Churchill's party as in any wise bringing into question his place in history, in national pride or affection or in the gratitude of the people, says The Times in a leader. Even although the electorate has exercised once more its right to declare that gratitude belongs to history and not to politics, no shadow can fall across the name that is for ever a national possession. The Times, after examining the causes of the landslide, adds: "When all allowances are made for the emergence of a new generation of voters and a pendulum swing among the old, it is still necessary to seek an explanation of the Conservative defeat in the circumstances and conduct of the election itself. Mr. Churchill himself ' introduced the narrower animosities of the party fight, so that a great national programme was allowed to slip into the background, and Mr. Churchill's own stature was temporarily diminished."

The Times describes the virtual extinction of the Liberal party as a melancholy event, but adds that the tendency toward a two-party grouping was probably inevitable and healthy. "The supersession of Mr. Churchill," says The Times, "may lead to international perplexity, but there is no reason why the world should look for a revolutionary change in foreign, or indeed domestic, policy. British people stand where they stood throughout the war, and their new representatives will speak the same language as the old." Confidence In Britain The Daily Telegraph says we must make our account with the unpleasant and ineluctable fact that confidence in British steadiness and British influence in world affairs has to be justified afresh. The coming years will pass judgment on the electoral decision that dispensed with Mr. Churchill's services at a moment when the decision was at strange variance with the warm gratitude which every man and woman throughout the country felt toward him.

The Daily Telegraph adds: "It is safe to assume that many electors, beset by domestic problems which are the aftermath of war, cast their vote against the existing order without thought of the complete landslide which they produced, and there is little doubt that many are shocked at the realisation of the result, and given the opportunity would vote very differently next week." "To call Labour's victory remarkable would be an under-statement. It is staggering," says the Daily Mail. There will naturally be a full inquiry into the reasons for the Conservatives' defeat. An . overhaul of the existing organisation and methods will almost certainly be demanded. In some aspects of the election there is no doubt that Mr. Churchill was ill-advised, and his principal supporters seemed completely out of touch with the feeling of the country."

The Daily Express says a tidal wave has swept over Britain. It is a political debacle which will have the most profound and most farreaching effects upon the history of Britain and the world. The rejection of Mr Churchill's leadership i must present itself to the world as | an event of great disturbing signifi--1 cance.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450728.2.37

Bibliographic details

PRESS REACTIONS, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 177, 28 July 1945

Word Count
711

PRESS REACTIONS Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 177, 28 July 1945

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