The Spike or Victoria College Review 1942
I — Introductory
I was requested by the Editor to compose an epitaph for the clubs with intellectual tendencies, or rather the non sports clubs of Victoria College. As I received replies from some of the secretaries to whom I wrote for specific information, it appears that the secretaries (in as far as they are not flowering in secret like the violet) still are all aloof—the lonely barren remnants of a once blooming garden.
I fulfil with reluctance the clause in my commission that my article should be "critical rather than straight reporting of event". I lack the right wavelength, I fear, to rebuke my comrades for their apathy (one needs some special wavelength for that), and it also seems that those remaining at college in wartime should not emphasize that it is so dull. However, intellectual activity such as there was has not been healthy.
The Manifesto was published in pamphlet form and successfully attacked imported prejudice; it gave a kind of centre to the student world. The large group of neutrals filling every society shifted from a superficial dislike of socialism to an even more superficial support. A great change took place; the Red point of view was no more that of the attacking adventurer, it became a recognised view in words if not in implications. This difference calls for a difference in policy such as is necessary whenever a revolutionary movement begins to become accepted. The public is getting near to the doctrine and the sincere academic approach is again desirable. The crude heralds who had eliminated their individuality lose their influence.
Victoria did not change: instead of the confidential tone of people saying the things they mean to people who are their friends, we have still, as in the earliest period of socialism, the oratical hollowness of people shouting their borrowed ideas to what they simply consider a mob to be converted.
"This is not a good society" I heard at one debate. "This is a bourgeois society," and "We can go safely to bed to-night for Stalin is watching over us." Such remarks are out of place. I even feel some bluff, some insincerity in them. So I do with the passionate outcry in Salient against Fascist suppression of liberties when the Council decided to have Capping in C3, and even with the pugnacious promise in the same periodical to raise a glass (the Editor's) for Victory.