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162   .___________________________________________-
of that was that there was no country, except the aggressor
country, which was ready for war/ "
MR. ALEXANDER : " The real reason was given on i2th
November, 1936—that he was afraid to tell the country the
truth lest he should lose the Election."
THE PRIME MINISTER : " I am not going into an argument
as to what my right hon. Friend meant by the statement
which he made. It has nothing to do with this argument,
which is as to the reason why collective security failed. The
present policy of His Majesty's Government is perfectly con-
sistent with the statement of our intentions regarding Abys-
sinia made at the time of the General Election of 1935. The
criticisms that are made by hon. Members opposite can mean
only one thing. They can only mean that hon. Members
opposite think that what we ought to have done was the thing
that we said we would not do, namely, to act in isolation.
That is a policy which is all the more remarkable in a party
which has consistently voted against the Estimates for the
Defence Services. So much for that part of this precious
Motion calling for a General Election.
" The right hon. Gentleman said that it was not for him to
produce a policy and I agree that, in normal circumstances, it
is not part of the Opposition's function to produce alternative
policies. But when an appeal is made to the public the
Opposition cannot rest upon mere criticism of the Govern-
ment. They have to produce a policy of their own, and if the
right hon. Gentleman is going to ask for a General Election
now, he has to tell us what policy he is going to propose as an
alternative to the one which has been stated on behalf of His
Majesty's Government, and which has received the approval
of almost the entire world. I hoped the right hon. Gentleman
was going to tell us, but he said very little about it. I can only
assume that the few words which concluded the last fraction
of his speech were intended to give an outline of the policy
which is set forth at considerably greater length and with
equal obscurity of verbiage in the manifesto issued by the
National Council of Labour—in the drawing up of which, I
think I detect the right hon. Gentleman's master hand.
** I have carefully studied this document in view of the