By F.S. Northedge, Audrey Wells

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The government, reliant on Liberal support, was to survive for nine months and ended in a way closely connected with Russia and fear of a revolution on the Russian model in Britain. This occurred when the government decided to drop the prosecution under an Act of 1797 against J. R. Campbell, then the acting editor of the Workers' Weekry for publishing an article on 25 July urging soldiers not to use their weapons 'in a class or military war'. The Campbell case was used by the Conservative Opposition (and Liberals in the Commons supporting the government largely acquiesced) to press their longstanding argument that the Labour party was 'soft' on communism and would open the floodgates to revolution if entrusted with power.

Because British politicians, in their ignorance, looked to the Liberals to help them with the problems of the war, the seizure of power by the Leninists in November and their brutal dispersal of the Liberal regime came as a shock. It went far to determine the future of British relations with Soviet communism. In British ears, the word 'Liberal' was homely and Gladstonian, 'Bolshevik' a monstrous neologism. Members of Lloyd George's War Cabinet, like Bonar Law and Curzon, knew nothing of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, or their outlandish ideas.

The ring of the capitalist world was closing round Russia in 1927. This could not fail to make Stalin's point for him - that in Russia's besieged situation she could not afford decadent Western freedoms; that, as far ahead as one could see, there could be no future in Russia for the Marxist idea of the 'withering away of the state' so long as enemies thronged the gate; and that Stalin's iron rule, so far from being allowed to mellow as the years elapsed, must be strengthened and made harder. For on that iron rule depended all Russia's hopes of surviving the combined attack from the capitalist world which the events of 1927, and especially the breach with Britain, had shown to be not textbook logic but a practical certainty.

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