ifiy Michael de its liedogere
nNE of the most intelligent articles on party politics which we have read for a Ions time appears in the current Economist under the title ' Left or Right."
The article indicates the superficiality of those who imagine that one can safely take up a final " Right " or " Left " position, and stick to it through thick and thin. On the contrary, it is the general economic situation of a country which dictates whether at any given time a " Right " or a Left " trend is desirable, and it is even argued that this economic, situation should govern the real policy of whichever party happens to be in power, whether in a " rightward " or a " leftward ' direction.
Thus, between the wars. the position of chronic deflation and emergent over-production, the lag in taking up the problem of moper distribution of wealth acquired in the past, and the low cost of primary products, all these dictated a leftward " trend in party politics. even though nominally Consersative parties were in power. And it was this " Left " pressure which burst into the triumph of Labour after the war. But now the situation is exactly the opposite. We are in i position of inflation and under-production, with high costs of primary products and the time-lag on problems of dietribution and security has been largely taken up. In a period like this a country needs enterprise, deflation, realism and saving—ii II qualities associated with a." Right " political trend, and indeed these are the policies for which Sir Stafford Cripps contends as against the " Left " pressure. The fact that Conservatism before the war looked " leftward " and a Labour Chancellor to-day tries to look " rightward " indicates that such an analysis does not mean that we should necessarily switch our votes. What it does mean is that the danger to the country lies in that type of die-hard party politician who insists on riding his political hobbyhorse in defiance of economic and social trends and needs.
The Middle Way THE whole of this wise analysis
really supports the view that has been consistently taken in these columns in regard both to this country and to countries abroad, namely that wisdom lies with the Centre parties.
Where the system of party-polities allows of Centre parties or coalitions, there is everything to be said for supporting this "Third Force" which will be in a position, first, to express the dominant political trend and so obtain its confidence, and, second, to temper and direct it along the realistic channels which the country's economic situation indicates. Unfortunately, human nature, being what it is, such a "Third Force.' is unlikely to command the enthusiastic following of the masses whom extremists can so easily deceive; and because of this the " Third Force," instead of leading, is only too apt to try to govern or make progress by a series of weak bargains with the extremer wings. Thus it is that too often weak government goes with the soundest policy. The British position is much more flexible, and therefore likely to prove more satisfactory. Here we make our choice between two parties, each so dominant as to exelude the practical possibility of a third emerging into power, and. whether or not we switch from one to another, we can. if we are wise, work for a tempered expression of the political taste of the one we happen to be supporting. But to do this with real intelligence we need to understand something of these basic economic positions.
In the next General Election, the most important question will not be whether the Tories or Labour are
returned to power. It will be whether the party returned to power (with a sufficient majority—small majorities are never satisfactory in our system) has the intelligence and courage to be guided by the real social and economic trend. There is perhaps little danger that the Conservatives would go too far either to the Left or to the Right; but there is certainly a very considerable danger that the wiser heads in the Labour Party will be unable to control their extremist wing.
CARRYING THE WAR INTO RUSSIA THE complete and spectacular failure of Moscow to prevent the people of the Western zones of Berlin from declaring their faith in uncomfortable freedom and rejecting any propaganda allurements of tyranny raises again the question as to whether the time has not come when the cold war cannot be carried into the enemy's camp.
We have every reason to believe that in all the European countries where the tyranny of Moscow reigns enormous majorities, were they free to vote as the Berliners have voted. would make a similar choice. And though we should not underrate the power of virtually "conditioning " the human person possessed by modern tyrants. it is still probable that in Russia itself the majority would still rebel, if it could, against the Moscow dictatorship.
If this is so, it is high time we did something about it. in one respect at least a very great deal could be done. and that is to give hope and encouragement to the millions of Christians who are suffering an intolerable persecution that blatantly offends the ideals proclaimed by all the victors of war and by the United Nations. We have yet to hear a word of protest by any Western statesman of the first rank—or indeed of any rank— against the persecutors of the Church in Hungary and its heed, the Cardinal Primate. Whs.?
THE DEAD HAND GUIDING STATESMEN nNE can only ask readers to
consider again, against the surely not very far-fetched background of the last note, the folly of our British insistence on destroying the buildinp on Eekernfoerde Bay connected with the German Government's torpedo testing-station. The sole reason given for this demolition is the rfact that
this station wits a serious threat to British security in two wars. Was a threat. Are statesmen and military people totally incapable of judging matters in terms of the present and probable future? Must they always determine their action in terms of the past, however dead and guneLWhether we consider, as the German workers do, that these buildings can be used as factories to give needed work and increase production, or whether we even go so far as to note that a ste,tion of this kind can be of valuable. military use tomorrow to a Europe that must rearm for its own security, the destruction is equally senseless and wanton. How often is a political commentator tempted these days to resort to the old cliche of the gods first making mad those whom they want to destroyl IS GAMBLING A VICE?
GAMBLING is said to be becom
ing so grave a national vice that the Government is thinking of setting up a Commission to inquire into the matter. The non-Catholic communions have played a considerable part in the general propaganda againet gambling, and therefore it becomes a subject which Catholics in this country must carefully study. It would be wrong for us, especially in these days of a needed Christian moral and social co-operation, to sneer at this sincere Christian effort.
Yet it is hard for us to feel that where there are so many social evils and such blatant rejection of the plain letter of the Christian law, for example, in marriage. this question of gambling is a really urgent one. Our view would surely be that gambling as such is not a great evil, nor even necessarily evil at all. It only becomes evil in the fight of its possible effects or because it is indulged in in excess. Thus Stock Exchange gambling can -very well be a form of robbing one's neighbour, or gambling can so get hold of a person's nature as to blind him to other vital considerations. But even if the whole nation spent a portion of pocket money in football pools and small bets, little moral harm might be done, except quite accidentally, even though the aggregate gambling figures were enormous. The dangers We see are two: first. the publicity associated with gambling can make many people gambling-Mad; second, the amount of money involved offers great temptations to those who make it their business to exploit commercially the national taste. It is not very difficult to think of ways of avoiding these dangers without the intervention of the State.
I ALL SORTS Fr. Bernard Basset, S.J.I The Old Month THE bloodless revolution is now almost complete. It began with the New Catholic Herald many years ago and after altering the style, shape and matter of most Catholic papers it has now changed the Month. The Month seemed as monumental as the Albert Memorial and almost as old. Let es salute a great periodical which first published " the Dream of Gerontius and which, for fifty years gave Fr. Thurstona learning to the world.
The New THE new Month is to be a mag nificent affair, first-class, seconds out of the ring, and third programme. The American Commonweal tells us that it is to be " the meeting place for religious and literary discussion by leading American,. English and Continental writers."
Christopher Dawson, D'Arcy. and linnet]. Prince, Danielou, Coppleston, Marcel.
Stories by Waugh and Graham Greete one gets, All for the price of fifteen cigarettes.
What More Could You Want 7
VOU may he contented with this
buti would like to sec some mole low-brow stuff of the same excellence; an illustrated magazine of the Picture Post style: Fr. Dan Lord's pamphlets in their American jackets and more support for the new Children's paper, Playtime, which could fill a longfelt need for a Christian comic.
Meet Your Fellow Catholics AT Weston-Super-Mare Catho
lies compensate for lack of numbers by initiative and zeal. This is not surprising when one discovers that many of the oldest inhabitants come from parishes like English Martyrs, Preston, The Holy Name, Manchester; St. Mary's, Clapham, etc. The parish priest of St. Joseph's was educated in Liverpool. St. Joseph's Church, Weston,
has been painted and cleaned, a plain chant choir is in action and a Catholic Association has been formed. Now this active parish wants to contact prospective holiday makers from Bristol and Birmingham who might like to join in the singing and in the social life of the parish while on holiday by the sea.
Two Dates to Note January 16, for the North nN Sunday, January 16 at Loyola 1-tall there will be a grand reunion for ex-R.A.F., ex-Service men and others who are working in Action cells. Men and women who are interested will be very welcome and details will be sent to you if you send a card. Write early as space is limited and catering in these days
is a had joke. We'll tell you what is planned to happen and how to arrive in time.
January 22-23 In the South
THE S.O.S. South Kensington Group are staging a similar week-end rally and reunion for their friends. Meetings will he at the Cenacle Convent, Hampstead and the week-end will include informal discussion with two eminent leaders and a Demonstration Group. Mr. Douglas Hyde has promised to attend the reuniim on Saturday, January 22 so that is a date to note. Full details for both these meetings will be given in this column later but the main thing at the moment is for you to book the date. January 16 at Loyola Hall; January 22-23 in the Cenacle Convent, Hampstead.