20 DECEMBER 1940, Page 2

Communist Agitators

The Labour Party has always stood for giving a fair deal to Russia. Before the war it always favoured reasonable working arrangements with the Soviet Government whether in the economic or the political sphere—though for very good reasons it long ago refused to admit Communists to the Party or to suffer interference by their leaders. But the events of the last eighteen months have convinced it that Russia, under Stalin, is no more to be trusted than Nazi Germany, and that Communist agents in this country may be as malignant as Germans. Mr. Ernest Bevin has the great rank-and-file of British labour behind him when he refuses to stand nonsense from Communist agitators. Interrupted by a group of them at Edinburgh last Saturday, he roundly declared that orders had been issued, preparatory to Hitler making a peace offer, to the Communists of this country to disturb meetings with a view to creating the impression that the workers are disunited ; and he went on to say that Hitler's next strategic move was to get his friends to talk peace, and to try and deceive us into listening to peace talk, whilst he was preparing his next blow. Whether Hitler is in a position to make use of British Communists seems doubtful, but there is clear evidence that Communists are out to create disaffection, particularly in air- raid shelters. They must be closely watched.