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New Left Review I/1, January-February 1960


Christopher Farley

CND after the Elections

it is a new situation for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The General Election marked the end of the Campaign’s first phase of life, and further meaningful existence depends considerably on whether the new situation is recognised as such. In less than two years the emphasis in the CND has changed markedly from that of a moral and anti-political movement to that of a pressure group on the Labour Party. One doesn’t easily forget the applause in the Central Hall in February 1958 for A. J. P. Taylor’s denunciation of the politicians. “Cynical references to the Labour Party,” J. P. W. Mallalieu observed in that week’s New Statesman, “were applauded as heartily as references to the Tories.” By contrast, a speech a few weeks later from Frank Allaun at the close of the first day of the Aldermaston march showed how far some people had anticipated the mood of the Campaign. His invitation to marchers to “come on in” and join the Labour and trades union movements met with a coldness bordering on contempt. But all that was long ago. From then until the Election, the CND became increasingly concerned wich the Labour Party. The aim was to “convert” the Party and return a Labour Government, preferably in that order but not necessarily so. Many rank-and-filers believed that the arrival of a Labour Government would be half the Campaign’s victory won. Well before October 1959 the CND was seeking first the kingdom of Labour in the hope that all Campaign things would be added unto it in office. Indeed, those who dared to suggest that Campaigners should vote for their own policy and not that of the Party received negligible support and much abuse.

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