RIR Kingsley Wood has introduced a .""' Budget which gives a very fair picture of the country's wartime finances. The new taxation has for its chief object the reduction of consumption which itself is dictated by the limitation of imports and the vital need to concentrate on production for the war effort and for exports. Evidently the Budget is yet another step on the way towards a virtual economic control by the State, the money in the pockets of the people having little value for the time being except for the purchase of essentials rationed at artiecially lowered prices and for the minimum interchange of services. The most difficult problem in fact is not wartime finance in itself, but how to ensure some kind of continuity between the present and a more normal future by preserving claims that bear some relation to the division of wealth and work of the past. The new principle introduced to tackle this problem is compulsory saving without interest by ear-marking a proportion of present taxation for refund after the war.
The Budget of 1941 begins to face these realities. The Budget of 1942 will doubtless fully face up to them. The two needs are, Cu-at, an absolute orderliness and fairness in the distribution of necessities to-day, and, second, the timely checking of attempts to create for privileged individuals unjustified claims when the time comes for a return to a more normal economy.
A RAY of Christian light—or, for that matter, of elementary humanity—was shed on the war this week by the tribute paid by the Duke of Aosta to the British protection of women and children in Addis Ababa, "demonstrating," as the Duke said, " the strong bonds of humanity and race still existing between the nations." But the strong bonds of humanity and race do not only apply to the .mc tection of women and children in semi-civilised countries. It was the Duke of Aosta's cousin, the King of Italy, who, at the bidding of the Duke of Aosta's master, Mussolini, sanctioned the original invasion of Abyssinia, ordered the invasion of Albania on Good Friday, assaulted Greece last year, and at the beginning of the present Holy Week associated himself with the German attack on Yugoslavia.
It would seem that this last step was not taken with good heart, but Greek resistance, the loss of Cyrenaica, the destruction of the East African Empire and, above all, the increasing domination of Germany were responsible for these new-found doubts about whether inhuman war pays. Yet there must be many in Italy this week who arc wondering whether it pays after all to divorce statecraft from elementary Christian morals and the "strong bonds of humanity and ra e."
But once you start on this line, it is no easy matter to escape the consequences. Germany saw to it that Italy did not hesitate about Yugoslavia, and she will see to it that pity does not escape from the trap until they both go down together.
Now is the time for the Christian voice to make itself clearly heard in a country of Catholics. There may be immediate risks, but in any event the deluded people of Italy have a perilous and unappetising future in front of them. And in the end nothing is as likely to save the Italians for the arts.of peace and civilization in a better order than a great response to a fearless proclamation that God cannot be mocked.
BRITISH WAR AI MS
0NE of the most interesting disclosures of British war-aims was recently given by John Cowles in the Minneapolis Star Journal. The writer accompanied NN illkie during his visit to England, and these aims may perhaps be taken to be very much what Winkle gathered from his conversations. They include the following points: no reparations and no indemnities; the re-establishment of German trade-unions; the abolition of German armaments and civil air fleet; an international air police force; the restoration of Czechoslovakia and Poland (in the latter case over Ruesian annexations as well as German); some kind of new League of Nations; and the establishment of a free trade area in Europe. This list is about as sensible as any we have yet seen. It gives the broad lines, and yet leaves plenty of room for adjustments, and, no doubt, the phrase a " free trade area " can cover the vast amount of economic control that will be needed if the peoples of Europe are to benefit equally from this formula. If these aims really represent the views of Whitehall, there is every reason to publish them. Strangely enough the German press has already commented on them, but its condemnation does not ring very true. We suspect that the official proclamation of the points covered in this rough resume would immensely strengthen our position.
EXPERIENCE TEACH ES
IN recent broadcasts by the Queen of Holland and the Polish Prime Minister there have been welcome insistences on the point that the future of their respective countries depends even more on the people still living in those countries than on their exiles. Queen Wilheimina in particular noted that it will be necessary for her to make herself fully acquainted with Dutch wishes and desires as soon as she can return. She added: "it is beyond all doubt that, in reshaping political institutions, we will have to take into account the changed circumstances and the experiences of recent times." General Sikorski has said " 1 judge that the present hard school of life has taught the Poles not a little; that it has forced on them the ability to unite diverse tendencies without falling into the errors of which Poland has been a witness during recent years,"
Experientia docet. There is always the temptation for exiles who have had the
good fortune to escape the consequences of mistakes in the past to wish to impute all present troubles to the malice of the enemy and to imagine that history can be resumed to-morrow where they left off yesterday. All history proves the fallacy of this attitude. To-morrow is inevitably being shaped by the events of to-day and it is the people on the spot who must be the vital agents in the process of change. In the case of German and Italian exiles the interval is often so long that the exiles have sometimes become hopelessly out of touch with reality. For this reason it is wise to be slow in taking the advice and interpretations of these unhappy people while ensuring that the future will at least make up to them for what they have suffered generally for the highest motives. In a fascinating article in the current Dublin Bernanos indicts contemporary France and the "Old Man of the Armistice," but one cannot but remember that the Old Man went through it all, while Bernanos decided to exile himself at the time of Munich.
THE Government was urged last leek to make more extensive use of the compulsory powers already granted them and this paper has always expressed its sympathy with the principle implied. Mr. Bevin, however, made some good points about the actual application of these powers. The great bulk of industrial war work at present being performed requires a certain minimum of elementary training and skill. It would be disastrous to have it undertaken by men and women who approached their task reluctantly or through mere compulsion. Further, industry is neither educated nor equipped to exercise the special kind of authority by means of which an army lives. Obedience and discipline must in an army he absolute. But to carry this operative principle successfully into effect the army has behind it centuries of tradition and its officers and non-commissioned officers are appointed after an arduous entitle of training and selection. The fortuitous and haphazard promotions of industry are something entirely different and to invest the average charge hand or works foreman with quasi martial powers would be calamitous. The principle of compulsion in industry which should apply to employers as well as employees must be articulated in a novel way which it is Mr. Bevin's business to discover, Thus an overhaul is urgently needed of the methods of treating absenteeism and similar offences. The present system of fining the culprit a few shillings for such an offence is ridiculous. As Mr. Stokes pointed out in the House last week many cases of absenteeism are due to bad management, in particular to the working of hours which are consistent neither with health nor productivity. In such cases the offender should obviously not be fined at all. On the other hand when cases arise of clear and culpable slacking and irresponsibility the punishment should be a great deal heavier. Men entering industry for war work should have it impressed upon them that they are playing a vital part in the nation's effort and that they are, as far as in them lies, expected to prove themselves worthy of the privilege.
WAR-WORKERS' CAN TEENS
venture to plead for a more scien tific management of war workers' canteens. We do not believe that there are many canteens that are definitely bad. Were that the case the workers would, we feel, not be slow in letting the authorities know about it. But that does not mean that all canteens are performing the service for which they are designed as efficiently as could be wished. It is not a case of bad or unpalatable food being served but rather of a too liberal concession to the peculiarities of popular taste. The sausage and the tuppenny pie were all very well as snacks in peace time to supplement an Otherwise adequate diet. They are hopeless if promoted to the rank of dietetic mainstays. Further, we venture to doubt from evidence available whether there has so far been any rapprochement whatever between the canteen manager and the skilled dietician, for the glaring nutritional defects of English cookery arc still all too often in evidence. The traditional and celebrated kindness of the English to the lower orders of animal creation is unfortunately. largely offset by the atrocities they cornMit on vegetables which, despite the chatty advice of innumerable newspaper columnists, are still served after having all the goodness boiled out of them. And what is the good of Lord Wootton' young gentlemen crooning at us through the microphone to eat the skin up on our potatoes when establishments that work, if not directly under the Government, yet at least under Government auspices, send them forth naked into the consuming world. Surely the existence of scarcity makes it doubly necessary to make the very best use of the means at our disposal, and if this means a certain reforming of tastes and habits, we shall have to put up with it.