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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, No. 24. October 1, 1968

Of pride and prejudice

Of pride and prejudice

Dear Nevil,

(As writers to the Dominion would say), I write to tell you that the title of your book review, Chuff exposed, is indeed appropriate—if you keep your political prejudices in your chuff.

Suffering as I do from the appelation "Right Wing commentator", it might seem odd for me to be defending a British Labour MPS writings against your criticisms. However, though never admitting this fact on the Vic campus, I realise that even a Labour politician may have occasional moments of sanity with regard to foreign policy. Moreover, (and as you, with some amazement, admit) the man is actually honest.

The Labour movement has for long characterised itself as the only true repositry of eternal honesty, without examining this myth over-closely. I admit the discomfort it must cause you, Nevil, to find a Labour MP who did not just talk honestly, but really practised it, even to the detriment of his political career

You mention John A. Lee in your review. And you were right to do this. For was he not the conscience of the party who was sacked for this? And was he not the only man who dared to point out the imperfections in the lately deified, but long mummified, Walter Nash?

I cannot, of course, nor would I want to, defend the socialist ideals of Desmond Donnelly. But it was a relief to find that you consigned his book to perdition along with his "appalling books on communism, The March Wind and Struggle for the World," for then one has the key to your dislike.

Perhaps if you looked around the world a little, you would realise that socialism is not inconsistent with awareness of a threat from communism. The Swedish Social Democrats, for instance, have combined a highly advanced social welfare state with an equally high level of well applied defence spending.

Unlike so many well-meaning but unrealistic socialists, Donnelly points out that communists will not be deterred from attacking a state merely because it has a sort of half-cooked abortion of an economy brought about by the fumblings of Wilson's pair of former university professors. Nor, as we have recently seen, is one communist state reluctant to attack another communist state, for communist foreign policy inevitably implies complete subjugation in the end.

And finally, Nevil, with a cynical comment you disparage Desmond Donnelly's hope of remaining attractive to the voters, vis a vis the failure of Harold Wilson's P.R.O.'s.

The answer, I think, lies in the behaviour of Donnelly's own constituency party, after the organisers from London went down to Pembrokeshire to try and disestablish him. His support has strengthened in the constituency since the failure of the party machine to discipline him, proving perhaps, that while doerinaire socialism when put into practice looses adherents, honestly, however unfashionable, will gain them.

I remain, etc.,

James H. Mitchell.