Dear Comrade,

I much regret that I have to take issue with the article by Tom Nairn in nlr No 69. Having for so long appreciated the scholarship of nlr you may realise how appalled I was to see Mr Nairn making the following statement: ‘Inside, the editor Richard Clements outlined the long history of the left’s opposition to the Common Market. As a cold-war, capitalist conspiracy, the actions contrast strikingly with those of the neutral and socialist Britain we have enjoyed since 1945.’ (my italics)

I understand that Mr Nairn may have some difficulty in building his case against Tribune without bricks which he can hurl; but surely he does not need to manufacture the straw as well. Nowhere in my article did I suggest that the choice was one of a capitalist Europe or a ‘neutral and socialist’ Britain. The nearest I got to such an interpretation (outside Mr Nairn’s fevered imagination) was to argue that if the gadarene rush towards the Market was stopped it would pose for the British people economic questions which would almost certainly have a socialist answer. That I am supported in this view by no less a person than Michael Barratt Brown (see Tribune October 1st) makes me feel that there was at least some justification for my argument.

I am sure it is not necessary for comradely socialist argument to sink to gross distortion.

Yours fraternally, Richard Clements