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March 14th, 1938
Mr. GALLACHER: We are facing in this country, and in Europe, the most serious situation since the evil days of 1914, a situation that demands understanding on many questions, only one or two of which I shall be able to touch upon. It is a situation that demands courage, and it is a situation that demands especially the unity of the peace and progressive forces in this country and in Europe. I am very happy to say that I agree entirely with the concluding remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill)—his remarks about the collective security. I can say that with the greater sincerity, because he agreed with me when I put forward the same proposition a year ago. But we are faced with the fact that Austria is invaded, is lying under the jackboot of German militarism. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) said that the Austrian people were not prepared to fight. The people of Austria were prepared to fight, but they were
left entirely without leadership. Resistance will grow; the Catholics, the Socialists, the Communists will gather more and more together and find some means of asserting themselves; but the thing that has to be understood above everything else, if we are to appreciate what has happened, is that the gates into Austria were opened by traitors within Austria itself. The agents of Germany, traitors to their own country, deserted their people and opened the gates to the invasion of Austria.
But do not be under any illusion, the invasion of Britain has begun. It is no coincidence that three weeks ago Hitler demanded a change in the British Cabinet; he demanded the removal of the late Foreign Secretary, and the late Foreign Secretary was removed. No one can tell me that the Prime Minister lives in a vacuum. Who were the people around the Prime Minister who persuaded him to the course that led to the removal of the late Foreign Secretary at the demand of Germany and Italy? Not only was the late Foreign Secretary removed, but, when it came to the appointment of a new Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister did not say, "Messrs. Hitler, Goering, and Goebbels, please tell me who you would have in my Cabinet", but if he had spoken out before the world and asked that question, they would have answered with one voice "Lord Halifax". Then, the Prime Minister, to make subservience completely plain and demonstrated, when he has to add another Member to his Government, selects — whom? He selects a man from those benches whose only qualities in this House have been blatant and brutal support for every atrocity committed by the Fascists. It may be that right hon. Members treat this as something which is coincidal, but let me put this to them. An emissary from Germany comes over last week. He has many friends in this country, he discusses these matters with them, and he conveys to the German Government what the opinions of those many friends are; and the German Government, in putting forward questions for discussion, puts down as a question for discussion German control of the British Press. Is that correct or is it not? I ask the House whether in this country 12 months ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, at any time, it would have been possible to mention such a question?
Last night I was speaking at great demonstrations in St. Andrew's Hall and the City Hall in Glasgow. Both halls were packed to capacity, and there was a great overflow meeting outside of each. I could feel there, as I have felt going about during the week-end, that the people of this country are shocked. They do not trust the Government. They feel that there is a situation that demands something very definite and clear. I want to appeal, not to the Government, but to this side of the House, to the Labour party, [f they are prepared to take the situation in hand and to go to the country and to break through the rules and regulations that are constantly used to hamstring the movement, let them go out to the people and call upon them to rise in their might and put an end to the Government that has steadily destroyed the League of Nations and brought about the unspeakable situation that now exists in Europe; and to put in their place a people's Government. Let the Labour party understand clearly the situation which exists, and what is needed for it, and I am positive that they can get the masses of the people of this country to rally to their cause, and to put an end to the intolerable situation which exists, and to the Fascist gang which sits on the other side and which will betray this country when it thinks its profits are at stake. Let the Labour party go fearlessly out among the people of this country, and in a very short time we can get a Government which, with the Governments of France, Soviet Russia and Czechoslovakia, can build up a peace encirclement of the aggressor States which will change the whole face of Europe. (W. Gallacher, Speeches in Parliament, 1938)