Book Review: Commonwealth of Nations: Purpose in Power

Publication Date01 June 1967
DOI10.1177/002070206702200227
Date01 June 1967
AuthorD. J. Heasman
SubjectBook Review
332
INTERNATIONAL
JOURNAL
PURPOSE
IN
POWER.
Selected Speeches
by
Harold
Wilson.
1966.
(London:
Weidenfeld
&
Nicolson.
Toronto:
Ryerson
Press.
xi,
194pp.
$7.00)
These
speeches cover
the first thirteen
months
of
Mr.
Wilson's
premiership.
Priority
number
one
was
to
demonstrate,
especially
with
regard
to
the
struggle
to save
the
pound,
that
"Labour
Government
Works"-the
slogan
of
the
election
campaign
four
months
later
which
was
to
increase
his
majority from three
to ninety-seven.
Of
course,
he
had
agreed
entirely with
that
overwhelming
majority
of
citizens
who
were,
as he
put it,
"sick
and
tired
of
manoeuvring, and
Press
gossip
about
an early
and unnecessary
election"'
So
the
present
book
ends
with
a
section
entitled
"The
Year
Ahead"
consisting
of
his
programme
for
the
parliamentary
session
which
he
was ever
so
reluctantly
about
to
terminate.
"We
[Britain]
are
a
world
power
and
world
influence
or
we
are
nothing.
Even
though
as
a punch-line
this
was
clearly
meant
to
be
quoted
out
of
context,
it
is
good
to
be
reminded
of
what the
context
was:
a
sensible
tribute
to
both
the
Commonwealth
and
the
United
Nations
as
instruments
of
peaceful
revolution.
In
view of
what
he
rightly
describes as
Britain's
prodigious
and unparalleled
record
of
decolomza-
tion,
it was
unfortunate
that
Rhodesians
thought
it
necessary
to
defy
the
course
of
history
For
one
thing, this has
led
Britain
herself
to
be
put
in
the
dock,
within
both
the
Commonwealth
and
the
United
Nations.
Certainly,
nothing
could
have
been
more
irrelevant
to the
problems
which
the
Labour government
were
elected to
tackle.
Yet
in
giving
Mr. Wilson
the
chance
to speak
for
Britain
in
a
crisis,
nothing
could
have
been
better
timed
for
the
purpose
of
building
up
that
prime-mins-
terial
image
which
he
was
later
to
deploy
in
gaining a
fuller mandate
for
tackling
them.
His
television
address
on
Rhodesia
was
persuasive.
Many
who
saw
it
thought
it
impressive. The
general
reaction
of
his
government
towards
the
unilateral
declaration
of
independence
of
November
1965,
and
to
the
assertion
of
white supremacy
that
went
with
it,
could
scarcely
have
been
very
different-except
in
one
crucial
respect.
His
castigation
of
those Rhodesians
whose
loyalty
to
Britasn
he
regarded
as
merely
"professed"
betrayed a
lack
of
insight
into
the
Rhodesian
predicament
which
made
it
not
at
all
"incredible"
that
agreement
was
not
reached.
It
was
all
very
well
for
him
to
talk
of
bringing
the
"people"
(or was
it
"peoples"
as
in
his preceding
sentence?) back
to
their true
allegiance
as
subjects
of
the
Queen.
The
truth
is
that
allegiance
was-and
is-
the
means
for
phasing itself
out.
Whereas
the
problem
of
whites
and
negroes,
in
say
the
American
South
will
continue
to
be
dealt
with
within
the
present
allegiance
of
both,
Rhodesia's "mission"
is to
become
Zimbabwe.
Rhodesia as
such
is
to
disappear.
Britain
would
then
be
entirely
external
to
its affairs
and any minority
whether
their
loyalty
to
Britain
be
professed
or
real,
would
be
naive
on
past
performance
to
expect
from
Britain
those gestures
of
oneness
which
alone
make
sense
of such a
loyalty
People
who
are
rooted
in
a
country
whose
existence,
indeed
whose
character,
is
taken
for
granted
can
scarcely
be
expected
to
understand

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