Document A

A. D. Lindsay’s election address, October 1938

Copyright Lord Lindsay of Birker. Reference: Gordon-Walker Papers, GNWR 2/1

“… I wish to stand as the representative of the men and women of all parties who are profoundly disturbed at the outlook before us and the policy which the present Government seems disposed to follow. I shared the universal relief when, in a desperate situation, war was for a time averted; shared the admiration felt for the determination which Mr Chamberlain showed in that desperate situation; rejoiced at the spontaneous outburst of enthusiasm for peace which was evoked among the people in Germany and Italy as well as in other countries. Yet along with men and women of all parties I deplored the irresolution and tardiness of a Government which never made clear to Germany where this country was prepared to take a stand. I am unable to forget the intolerable harshness of the terms imposed on Czechoslovakia. I am dismayed by the evidence accruing every day that our Government is not seeing to it that even this humiliating settlement is respected. I look with the deepest misgiving at the prospect before us.

All of us passionately desire a lasting peace, and would do anything to exorcise this horrible evil of war from the world. But we want a sense of security, a life worth living for ourselves and our children: not a breathing space to prepare for the next war. I see no hope of such a peace in the course pursued by the present Government. …

The only foreign policy on which this country can unite is this. Rebuild the League, and in the meantime act upon its principles. Do not pay lip-homage to the League while making the actual effective decisions in Europe by means of a Four-Power Pact. Be neither against Bolshevism nor against Fascism, but for Democracy. Certainly negotiate with powers that threaten war, but co-operate actively with all powers (whoever they be) that work for peace. Do not ratify the Anglo-Italian agreement without a complete withdrawal of intervention in Spain. And at least make a loan to China.

Only a profound sense of our destiny and purpose as a great democratic people can unite us in the efforts required of us. There is no room in the world to-day for nations who rest on their traditions and customs and act only on fear of change. We are confronted by powers inspired by passionate devotion to ideals which are not ours. In such a world we can only play our part and find our place if our faith in democracy and freedom is as united, as ardent and constructive, and, at need, as self-sacrificing as any of the faiths that are at work in the world….”