John Strachey 1941
Source: Chapter V of Victor Gollancz (ed), The Betrayal of the Left, published in 1941 by Victor Gollancz Ltd, London. Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.
The main effort of the Communist Party of Great Britain has been directed during the past six months to organising the ‘People’s Convention’, which met at the Royal Hotel, London, on 12 January 1941. And for some time in the future the main effort of the Communist Party will be directed to popularising and spreading throughout the country a movement which, it is hoped, has been initiated at that Convention.
When it is said that it is the Communist Party that is organising the Convention, and is now conducting a drive to create a movement around the Convention’s decisions, this does not mean that all the people who attended the Convention, or who may now take part in the movement, are Communists. Nor does it mean that there was anything wicked or sinister on the part of the Communists in organising this Convention and attempting to spread this movement. The Communist Party had a perfect right to organise the People’s Convention and to attempt to persuade non-Communists to take part in this work with them. But it does mean that the Central Committee of the Communist Party decides, wholly and solely, the policy of both the Convention and of the subsequent movement – the forms of organisation, the tactics and the leadership which are employed throughout. This may seem a somewhat sweeping statement, but no one who has experience of present-day political life can question it. Again, this statement is not in the nature of an accusation against the Communist Party. On the contrary, it is a considerable tribute to its energy, persistence, power of managing men and movements. But the leadership which at the beginning was given to the Convention, the methods adopted for its organisation, the publicity conferred upon it in the columns of the Communist Party’s official organ, the Daily Worker, all leave not the slightest doubt that it is a fact.
The Convention is led by three men, Mr DN Pritt, Mr Harry Adams and Mr Squance. I have not the faintest idea whether these three men are members of the Communist Party or not; but it is certain that they completely identify themselves, in all essentials, with the present policy of that party, and that their leadership of the Convention is based on this identity. It may be asked whether the non-Communist members of the Convention, if they disagreed with the policies proposed by their Communist colleagues, could not, being, as they no doubt are, a considerable majority, overrule the Communists, capture the Convention and determine its policies. Experience of several similar movements organised by the Communist Party shows that, on the contrary, if this were to happen (and it is possible, though very difficult, that it might be done), the Communist members of the Convention would not hesitate for a moment to cripple or wreck it rather than let it get out of their control; nor is there any doubt that they hold positions, such as organisers, secretaries, members of executive committees, etc, to enable them to do this. Moreover, they are, from their point of view, quite right in maintaining so tight a control as to enable them to destroy any united-front body (as these bodies are called) rather than let it get out of hand.
All that this means is that it is utterly impossible for us to determine our attitude to the People’s Convention without determining our attitude to the Communist Party and its present policies. For in the long run what the People’s Convention does or attempts will be wholly determined by what the Communist Party desires it to do or to attempt. On the other hand, the policies and pronouncements of the People’s Convention will not be put in identical words, nor will carry an identical sense, to those of the Communist Party. There would, indeed, be little object in organising such a body as the People’s Convention if this were so. The object of the creation of the People’s Convention is to have what is called a broad body; it is organised, that is to say, because the leaders of the Communist Party realise that the vast majority of the British working class will not accept the Communist Party as it is organised today, nor, above all, the present ‘revolutionary defeatist’ policy of that party. If these leaders believed that there was any chance whatever of the masses directly joining the Communist Party itself, and consciously accepting the revolutionary defeatist policy, then they would not dream of organising any such bodies as the People’s Convention. But since they know that it is quite impossible to induce the mass of the British working class to adopt, and above all to carry out, the revolutionary defeatist policy (as that policy has been described and defined in these pages),  the necessity of a broader united-front body of this type arises.
The objective of the organisation of the People’s Convention, for example, is, precisely, to induce a decisive mass of the British working class to carry out, in actual practice, the revolutionary defeatist policy of the Communist Party, without it being necessary for them to realise what they are doing. If we turn to the six-point policy adopted by the Convention we shall see how the matter has been arranged. The six points are as follows:
i) Defence of the people’s living standards.
ii) Defence of the people’s democratic and trade-union rights.
iii) Adequate air-raid precautions, deep, bomb-proof shelters, rehousing and relief of victims.
iv) Friendship with the Soviet Union.
v) A People’s Government truly representative of the whole people and able to inspire the confidence of the working people of the world.
vi) A people’s peace that gets rid of the causes of war.
Let us analyse these points. We may take i and ii together – namely, the defence of the people’s living conditions and the defence of the people’s democratic and trade-union rights. Now, no one within the labour movement can possibly object to these two demands; indeed, we shall all feel the strongest possible sympathy with them. It is only when we come to consider, not that these two points are included in the demands of the People’s Convention, but that certain other points are not included; it is only when we come to consider the period and situation in which these points were adopted, that we shall come to feel very differently about the matter.
If the reader will look back at the six points, the first thing which he will be struck by is that nowhere is there the slightest mention of there being any necessity to prevent the conquest of the British people by the Nazis. Now, the Nazis, as the Communist Party frequently affirms, are the fanatical representatives of German monopoly finance capitalism. Hence the omission must seem remarkable. Yet the reader may feel that it is not particularly significant. Perhaps the need to prevent a Nazi conquest is taken for granted, and the Convention merely concerns itself with those other issues which non-working-class bodies neglect?
But let us recollect the situation in which these six points were adopted. They were adopted by the signatories of the original manifesto issued last July, ‘in accordance with the views expressed at the London Conference of 7 July 1940’. Let us particularly notice that date, July 1940. It is the plainest possible statement of fact that in July 1940 the British people stood in greater danger of total conquest and enslavement by the ruthless representatives of a foreign monopoly capitalism than they have ever before stood in their history. At that moment, the Nazis, having destroyed the French Republic, were completing their conquest of Continental Europe. The British Army had escaped, disorganised and disarmed, from the continental debacle; the criminal neglect of earlier governments had left this country almost fantastically short of even the most elementary weapons of war; our Air Force faced an extreme disparity in numbers; our cities were within twenty minutes’ flying distance of the nearer German airfields stretched along the whole western borders of the Continent; Hitler was announcing, as the last of a series of prophecies every one of which had up to that time been fulfilled, that he would enter London on 15 August; the Daily Worker had itself just announced that ‘the situation facing the British people was ghastly, nerve-shattering’ and that ‘Britain was threatened with invasion’.
It was in that situation that the six points of the People’s Convention were adopted, without any mention whatever of there being any need to prevent the subjugation of the British people to German monopoly capitalism. 
We must ask, then, what is the meaning of omitting, in such a situation as that, any mention whatever of the need to prevent our subjugation to German monopoly capitalism? We must also ask what is the meaning, in such a situation, of putting the defence of the people’s living standards as the first demand of a new policy? Perhaps we may be able to see what the effect of such a demand must be, and is intended to be, in such a situation, by comparing it with the policy adopted by the Communist Party in relation to another people faced with the danger of Fascist conquest.
Now, the Chinese people are facing as great, but probably not greater, danger of total subjugation to a Fascist conqueror, in this case Japan, as do the British people today. (The danger of a total Japanese conquest of China is, I should estimate, very considerably less than was the danger of a total Nazi subjugation of the British people last summer when the six points were adopted.) Moreover, the Chinese people are governed by a leader, Chiang Kai-Shek, in some respects comparable to Mr Churchill. But Chiang Kai-Shek and his colleagues have records of reaction which it would certainly bring me within the laws of libel to attribute to Mr Churchill and his colleagues. After all, we cannot say that the members of the present British government have executed many thousands of leading British Communists in cold blood, or have sent eight separate armed punitive expeditions against the British Communist Party. The present leaders of the Chinese government have done both these things to the Chinese Communists. In spite of this fact, the Chinese Communist Party, perfectly rightly in my view, supports with all its strength the struggle of Chiang Kai-Shek and the present Chinese government against the Japanese invaders.
Now, what should we say if somebody in China, say the famous Eighth Route Army, which is organised, staffed and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, suddenly gave up fighting the Japanese and held a ‘People’s Convention’, in which its first demand was the defence of the Chinese people’s living standards? It is perfectly clear, and admitted by everyone, that the necessity of defending China against the Japanese invasion has demanded sacrifices from the Chinese people, including a lowering of their living standards. These sacrifices have, indeed, been almost unimaginably greater than any which British workers have endured. And yet, again rightly in my view, the Chinese Communists have actively collaborated with and supported the government which has had to impose these sacrifices on the Chinese people; for the only alternative was surrender to Japan. Therefore, should we not know just what the Chinese Communists were doing if the Eighth Route Army suddenly turned round and, in this situation, demanded that the Chinese government should raise the living standards of the Chinese people? Should we not immediately know that for some reason the Chinese Communist Party had reversed its present policy of supporting all resistance to Japan, and had adopted the alternative ‘revolutionary defeatist’ policy of attempting to thwart in every possible way the war effort of the Chinese government?
Exactly the same thing is, of course, true in the case of Great Britain. If, in a moment of supreme crisis in which the independent existence of the people itself is at stake, you put forward, as your leading demand, the defence of the people’s living standards, and if you do so without one qualifying word as to the necessity of preventing that people’s subjugation to their foreign Fascist foe, you are, for good or ill, ranging yourself behind the revolutionary defeatist policy.
The hard fact is that, for those of us who think that it did matter whether or not Hitler entered London on 15 August last, too large, and not too small, a proportion of the British productive effort was at that time going into peace-time consumers’ goods as against armaments. It is a grim fact that has to be faced that if we really mean to prevent ourselves from being conquered and enslaved, we have got to go without a great many things. A certain limited number of ships can import into this country either meat from the Argentine or steel, aeroplanes, machine-guns and tanks from the United States, but not both. If you demand that the standard of life, including for example the normal consumption of meat, of the people of this country must be ‘defended’, that is, maintained at all costs, you are definitely demanding that fewer aeroplanes, fewer tons of steel, fewer machine guns, fewer tanks should be brought to this country. It may be that you will continue to demand your meat; but if so you must, unless you are totally reckless of all consequences, have decided that the conquest of this country by the Nazis does not matter.
All this does not mean, of course, that vitally important issues of who is to bear the sacrifices necessary to the prevention of conquest of this country, do not arise. The question of whose belt is to be tightened, the question of whether, and to what extent, the indispensable sacrifices cannot be put on to the richer sections of the population, who can bear them well, the question of whether the poorest sections of the population cannot perfectly well have their standard of life, not only defended, but actually raised, and whether such a raising would not actually increase our war effort, are quite another matter. In my opinion the labour movement ought to be putting up a more vigorous struggle than it is putting up on precisely these issues. But the fact that it is not doing so is by no means wholly the fault of the Labour members of the government and the other leaders of the Labour Party. It is, above all, the fault of the Communist Party and the other supporters of the People’s Convention. They have chosen to direct their great energies into a campaign which no one but a dolt could fail to recognise as part and parcel of their general effort to secure the defeat of this country at the hands of the Nazis by hampering our war effort, in the fatuous belief that having then seized power they will be able to defend the ‘Socialist Fatherland’ from the Nazis, or combine with the German Communists to overthrow the imperialists everywhere, or negotiate a peace with Hitler which could in fact be nothing but capitulation. The demand that, in principle, and without qualification, the British people must be asked to make no sacrifices in order to turn resources on to the job of fighting the Nazis, is unquestionably a well-directed attempt to further that object of securing defeat. Anyone who does not realise that the first point of the People’s Convention is put forward with this objective is deluding himself.
The third demand is for adequate air-raid protection, deep bomb-proof shelters, rehousing and relief of victims. Here, at any rate, is a demand with which we can agree, nor is there anything necessarily defeatist about it. On the contrary, proper air-raid protection of this type would have been an immensely valuable contribution to the resistance of this country to air attack. Moreover, it is a bitter comment on the lack of initiative, drive and resolution shown by the rest of the labour movement that the voicing of this demand has been left so largely to the Communist Party. The result has been that the demand for shelter has been largely associated in people’s minds with a defeatist policy. The demand for shelter was voiced for nine months by a party whose other principal demand was ‘Stop the War’, and which today, though it does not now voice that demand, is pursuing a policy which is designed to ‘stop the war’ by producing our defeat, and so enabling it to negotiate a peace with Germany.
The fourth point is friendship with the Soviet Union. Here again is something with which all of us can agree. But the way in which this demand is voiced profoundly misrepresents the actual situation in which we find ourselves. For obvious reasons the Soviet government is profoundly hostile to Great Britain and has leant heavily on to the German side throughout the war. It may, of course, be claimed that this is entirely because of the reactionary character of the British government and the anti-Soviet policy which that government has, undoubtedly, pursued; that the appearance of a new government in Britain would immediately change all this. Even if we agree, however, that a new British government could secure a far more friendly attitude on the part of the Soviet government, there remains the question of the policy of the Soviet government in regard to Nazi Germany. Ten-year treaties of peace and friendship, extensive commercial agreements involving long-term contracts of every description, have now been entered into by the Soviet government with the Nazi government. I do not pretend to know of the extent to which a complete reversal of all this on the part of the Soviet government, for the sake of a left-wing government in Britain, would be practicable or conceivable. All this is no reason whatever for not struggling for the establishment of an administration in this country which would pursue a very different policy to the Soviet Union from that pursued by successive administrations till now. But it is a reason for looking at the question very differently from the way in which it is approached by Communists.
The fifth demand reads: ‘A People’s Government truly representative of the whole people and able to inspire the confidence of the working people of the world.’ Here again is something upon the desirability of which we may all agree. Here the only difficulty is one of omission. The character and the mode of establishing such a government certainly need clarification. According to the only evidence available, that of a recent Gallup Poll, Mr Churchill’s leadership of the government and the nation is supported by over 80 per cent of the adult population. This is the highest percentage of support for a leader of a government that the Gallup Poll has ever discovered in any investigation ever taken in any country in any circumstances. It may be, of course, that this support is quite mistaken, and the Communist Party has a perfect right to try to persuade the British people to withdraw their support. But the implication of the demand for a People’s Government is that the entire British people is straining to overthrow the present administration and replace it by one formed from, presumably, the leaders of the People’s Convention. This does not appear to be the case.
We now come to the sixth and crucial demand: ‘A people’s peace that gets rid of the causes of war.’ There is no explanation of this demand in the original manifesto, but Mr DN Pritt, in his pamphlet Forward to a People’s Government, gives us some important information as to what is meant by this demand. He writes:
A People’s Government in Britain would know that its first duty to the people was to secure the earliest possible termination of hostilities by a peace that was neither one of conquest nor one of capitulation, but a peace that safeguarded the interests of the peoples and enabled them to build a new world without war and economic crises.
It would therefore immediately propose such a peace to the peoples of the world, on the terms: ‘No annexations of any country by any country. No indemnities by any country to any country. The peoples to determine their own destiny and form of government.’
This is the only indication of the peace terms which such a People’s Government would propose. If Mr Pritt’s statement ‘No annexations of any country by any country; no indemnities by any country to any country; the peoples to determine their own destiny and form of government’ means anything, it must mean, amongst other things, the evacuation on the part of Germany of the countries which she has annexed since the beginning of the war. (I do not quite see how Germany could not be asked to evacuate the two countries, Austria and Czechoslovakia, which she annexed before the beginning of the war also, but let that pass.) These countries are Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and two-thirds of France. Therefore, what Mr Pritt is in fact proposing is that a future British government should state that it would make peace if and when Germany evacuated all these countries and returned to her 1939 borders.
The only comment necessary on this statement is that nine out of ten sane men in Britain will agree that we ought to make peace immediately that we could get such terms. Of course we ought to make peace instantly, if and when Germany renounces all her conquests and goes back within her own borders. As a matter of fact it is frequently stated that this is precisely the answer which Mr Churchill and the present government gave to the peace feelers which were put out by Hitler at the end of last summer, and in the early autumn. It is said that the British government’s reply to these messages, which were sent through Madrid and Sweden, was that the British government would immediately agree to an Armistice and a Peace Conference if and when the German Armies retired from their European conquests.
But, of course, the Nazi government would not dream of agreeing to peace on these terms. (This may be, indeed I think it is, a very good reason in favour of the British government stating publicly that it would agree to a cessation of hostilities on these conditions, but that is another matter.) Do Mr Pritt, the Communist Party and other supporters of the People’s Convention tell us that the fact of a leftward change of government in this country would make the renunciation of all their conquests more acceptable to the Nazis? What Mr Pritt would answer is indicated on the next page of his pamphlet. He goes on to say that the British government must not only demand this evacuation of its conquests from Germany, but must itself free Ireland and India. Here again is something with which I for one agree. Mr Pritt then proceeds:
When a People’s Government had offered peace on these terms, and proved the genuineness of its intentions by applying the terms at once to those countries under its direct control, is it not clear that Hitler and the ruling class of Germany would be unable to persuade their workers to carry on the war against a British government which no longer held any menace for them, which had no imperialist aims, and was offering an immediate and just peace? Is it not almost certain that such action on the part of the working people of Britain, and the prospect of such a peace, would at once release all the pent-up hatred for the ruling class of Germany that has been growing among the German workers since long before the Hitler regime was set up? Is it not almost certain that the coming to power of a People’s Government in Britain would be the signal for decisive action by the French, Austrian, Czech and other workers to throw off their oppressors? Would not the German government, even if not immediately succeeded by a German People’s Government, be compelled to accept the armistice and the terms of the peace proposed, or face immediate and widespread revolt among the German and all other peoples whom it now rules?
The answer to this series of questions is ‘No’. It is not clear that ‘Hitler and the ruling class of Germany would be unable to persuade their workers to carry on the war in these circumstances’. It is not ‘almost certain’ that (to put Mr Pritt’s questions in other words) a revolution here would produce a parallel revolution in Germany, or would be the signal for decisive action by the French, Austrian, Czech and other workers under German domination. If these things were ‘almost certain’ instead of improbable to the point of impossibility, then indeed the revolutionary defeatist road would be a practicable one.
The reasons why it must be clear to everyone of us who has not lost his capacity for calm judgement that there is no possibility of this synchronised revolution, as we may call it, in all the belligerent countries today, have been given in detail elsewhere in these pages. Briefly, this prospect of synchronised revolution is based on a profound underestimate both of the capacity of a Fascist government and the potency of modern military weapons and methods.
The unescapable fact is that the outbreak of revolution, with its inevitable accompanying civil war in this country, would be the signal, not for a popular revolt in Germany and elsewhere against the Nazis, but for the instant, and instantly successful, total conquest of these islands by the Nazi Air Force, Fleet and Army.
The German people would hear of the outbreak, first of all as great strikes, then of rioting, then of actual civil war in Britain, wholly and solely through Dr Goebbels’ propaganda machine. They would hear of it wholly and solely in the form of the long-expected crack-up of British resistance. Are we then to be told that in that moment of final and absolute Nazi triumph, when every promise of successful conquest which Hitler had ever made to the German people was being fulfilled, when the Nazis were in the very act of becoming the overlords of the whole world, the German people, who so far have stood everything, would rise in revolt?
It is perhaps a little more conceivable that the outbreak of revolution in Great Britain would encourage the peoples of the territories already conquered by Germany to wish to revolt. Mr Pritt says in the next paragraph of his pamphlet that the People’s Government in Britain ‘would have the most powerful allies in Europe – the working class of every country’. But unfortunately it is mere words to say that the working class of Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and occupied France is the most powerful ally which we could have in Europe. These people are wholly and totally disarmed; they are helpless in the face of German tanks and bombing aeroplanes. Millions of men can be held down today by a hundredth part of the armed forces which it took to do so even twenty-five years ago, before the development of modern weapons of war. Moreover, it is, as a matter of fact, very doubtful whether the majority of the conquered peoples would in fact regard a revolution in this country as a signal for them to attempt to revolt. Is it not more probable that they would regard it as what their German masters would tell them it was, the death agony of the last effort at organised resistance to German domination?
It may be, however, that Mr Pritt would answer that all these considerations are based on a misrepresentation of his case. He may say that it is not the case that he proposes that his People’s Government should come to power by means of revolutionary action, that is, by means of strikes in war industries, outbreaks in industrial cities, mutinies in the armed forces, leading up to civil war. He may tell us that his People’s Government is to come to power in some constitutional way, which will induce both the Conservative and Labour Parties, which now maintain the present government, to resign power into the hands of the new People’s Government without a deadly struggle which must tear to pieces our capacity for resistance to the Nazis. No word is anywhere said as to what other means except revolution could be conceived of as bringing the People’s Government to power. Indeed, it is almost impossible to think of any such means by which a movement led and inspired by the methods adopted by the Communist Party for the organisation of the People’s Convention could come to power. Or do the leaders of the Communist Party now tell us that the governing class of Britain will resign its power to them without an armed struggle? This would indeed be the most extraordinary reversal of all the reversals of attitude which they have ever made. Hitherto, at any rate, they have laid it down as an axiom that no governing class will yield power without pushing the conflict to the point of civil war.
In my opinion they have oversimplified the real prospect in this respect very greatly, but they would certainly make an equal and opposite error if they now told us that, in the midst of a desperate war, the British governing class would yield power, without the most bitter struggle imaginable, to a Communist movement.
For my part, I believe that it would, and ultimately will, be possible for the people’s forces in Britain to assume more and more power without precipitating revolution and civil war in the face of the enemy. But in order to do this they must make an almost exactly opposite approach to the task to that being made by the Communist Party by means of this People’s Convention. The British workers and people’s forces must, above all, make it clear that they are not less, but more, determined than the ruling class to resist Nazi domination of the world. In other words, they must adopt the original ‘War on Two Fronts’ policy. They must lead and direct their agitation against many of those who are at present in power, just because they are hampering and thwarting our struggle against world Fascism. They must expose the undoubted fact that the sympathies of many key men in the ruling class today are, to say the least of it, divided; that a victory over Germany and every other form of Fascism is to them an unwelcome thing in many respects; that men such as these are worse than useless to us for the purposes of the present war. Again, they must show that every piece of exploitation, profiteering and injustice in the factories must be fought against, exposed and ended, precisely because it is helping to produce a Hitler victory. They need not hesitate, even, to encourage and support strike action in particular places, in order, for example, to end intolerable conduct on the part of particular managements. It is better to hold up even munitions production for a short time, if by doing so intolerable conditions are ended and the opportunity for really wholehearted work obtained: but that is totally different from holding up munitions for defeatist ends.
If the struggle were undertaken in this way and in this spirit, then indeed it would be possible to carry with us the whole people, including the armed forces, to an ever greater extent. Along these lines it is possible to see the perspective of a people’s movement so united, so wide, so all-embracing, that it will be able to take over, first in this respect and then in that, effective power in this country, without there ever being occasion or opportunity for the outbreak of civil war in the face of the enemy. It is only if that kind of approach is made that we shall ever obtain the support of the mass of the British workers themselves. It is quite true, of course, that the support of tens of thousands of workers can be obtained for the type of agitation proposed by the People’s Convention. But it is equally true that millions of workers, both inside and outside the armed forces, will have nothing whatever to do with an agitation which, however much they may sympathise with its actual demands, seems to them (and rightly) to have as its inevitable consequence the defeat of this country by Hitler. Therefore the People’s Convention type of campaign, even if it could succeed in producing revolutionary conditions in this country, could only do so with the working class profoundly and irrevocably divided – the one situation which Lenin and every other great revolutionary has always regarded as absolutely fatal to success.
The conclusions to which we are driven by this analysis of the People’s Convention are, then, as follows.
First, that the People’s Convention is an integral part of the general revolutionary defeatist work now being undertaken by the British Communist Party.
Second, that the pursuance of a revolutionary defeatist policy cannot possibly lead to a Socialist Britain; that it can only lead to a Nazi-dominated Britain. Anyone who supports the People’s Convention and its campaign, whatever their intentions may be, is then ‘facilitating’, in Lenin’s words, the defeat of Britain at the hands of the Nazis.
The Communist Party of Great Britain, of course, is well aware that the campaign of the People’s Convention is designed for this purpose. It does not mind, because it believes that a British defeat would not mean a Hitler victory but a Communist victory. But this delusion has been exhaustively exposed. However, a number – not a very great number perhaps, but still a number – of first-rate, extremely sincere, energetic and very influential shop stewards, trade unionists and other members of the labour movement are supporting, or may be induced to support, the campaign of the People’s Convention without for one moment realising that the effect of work directed along these lines can only be to produce a Nazi Britain.
1. This refers to Victor Gollancz’s articles ‘Where Are You Going?’ and ‘“Revolutionary Defeatism” and Its Development in CP Policy’, Chapters I and IV of The Betrayal of the Left – MIA.
2. I am aware that the present leader of the Communist Party, Mr Palme Dutt, now tells us that the danger of German invasion and conquest last summer was all our imagination, or rather that it was a scare put about by Mr Churchill in order to induce the British workers to work long hours turning out armaments in the factories. He, no doubt, tells us that all the reports of British reconnaissance and bombing pilots that the ports of Europe, from Narvik to Bordeaux, held flotillas of boats whose only possible purpose was to transport troops to this country, and that the main striking force of the German Army and Air Force was concentrated on the springboard of the Channel ports, were fakes written up in No 10 Downing Street. After all, we did not see those boats with our own eyes. One only waits for the next development of Mr Dutt’s views, when he will no doubt announce that all the air fighting which took place over London and the Home Counties was a stage display between rival British aircraft, designed to impress our foolish minds, and that the bombs which, in our innocence, we thought we heard dropping amongst us were mere figments of our imagination, overheated by Mr Churchill’s delusive oratory.