MARCH 5 — MARCH 9
AT HOME ABROAD
Developments in the Farnham byelection include a definite split in the Conservative forces. Mr. Godfrey Nicholson, former M.P. for Morpeth, is to be the National Unionist candidate, while Mr. Linton Thorp, K.C., is to stand as a Con servative. There will also be a Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Pain, a local barrister, and an Independent from Woking.
At Tonbridge Sir Adrian Baillie, former M.P. for Linlithgow, will be the National
Conservative candidate. Mr. T. Borlase Matthews will be the Liberal standardbearer, while Mr. Harold Smith will be the Labour candidate. The last Conservative majority was 14,055 and a Conservative victory is certain, with a reduced majority. Polling will he on March 23.
Three candidates were nominated for the Combined English Universities vacancy— Sir Francis Lindley, the former Ambassador to Japan (Cons.), Sir Henry Brackenbury, the distinguished physician (Ind.). and Mr. T. Edmund Harvey, former Warden of Toynbee Hall (Progressive). A forecast is extremely difficult in the case of a University seat, but it is thought that the fight will be between Sir Francis Lindley and Mr. Harvey.
The only candidate in the field at Central Wandsworth so far is Major Nathan (Lab.), former Liberal M.P. for N.E. Bethnal Green. The seat has been won by Labour and a close contest is anticipated. There is also a vacancy about to fall due for the Stalybridge and Hyde division of Cheshire, where Mr. P. Dunne (Cons.), the sitting member, is resigning his seat. The present Conservative majority is 5,081, but Labour has held the seat and there is every likelihood of a stiff fight.
Famous Actor's Tragic Death
Mr. Frank Vosper, the famous West End actor and playwright, disappeared in mysterious circumstances from the French liner Paris when the latter was nearing Plymouth on the return journey from New York. He is thought to have fallen into the sea after a party held on board, but no light has so far been thrown on the mystery. Mr. Vosper, whose age was 37, was noted for his sensitive performances and fine character acting, as well as outstanding play-writing. and his premature and tragic death will be a great loss to the London stage.
Labour's Programme of Action
The Labour Party has issued a programme for application during a full term
of office, when returned to power. The main items include the strengthening of democracy, collective security and the League of Nations, control of the Bank of England and investments, as well as of City finance, land reform, co-ordination of transport, nationalisation of the mines and public utilities, a living wage for agricultural workers, the guarantee of adequate food for all, extension of pensions and social services, and drastic measures for the Distressed Areas, as well as Lancashire.
At the triennial London County Council elections Labour was again returned with 75 seats to the Municipal Reformers' (Conservatives') 49. Labour lost a seat at West Fulham and Peckham and both seats at West Woolwich. Labour gains were recorded for both seats at North Kensington, Stoke Newington, and North St. Pancras, and Labour gained single seats at North Islington, Central Wandsworth, South-West St. Pancras and East Fulham. All the Fascist candidates were unsuccessful, as also were the Liberals. The result strengthened Labour's majority, despite a tremendous campaign on the part of the Conservatives to regain control of London. Forty-two per cent. of the electorate voted as compared with thirty-three per cent. in 1934.
Foreign Policy Debate in Lords
Lord Arnold's isolationist motion with regard to foreign policy was discussed at length in the House of Lords, among the main speakers being Lord Lothian, Lord Cecil and Lord Ponsonby, the last of whom made a trenchant speech advocating isolation with pacifism. Lord Cecil maintained that the pacifist case was negative and not realist, while Lord Lothian pleaded for more understanding of the German position. and argued that collective security in the long run merely meant the extension of war far beyond the necessary limits.
The Military Estimates are approximately thirty million pounds in excess of those for last year. This figure does not take into account the four loans provided for under the Defence Loans Bill, amount ing to £80,000,000. The Air Estimates include provision for the creation of ten special units of the Auxiliary Air Force for operating a balloon barrage for the defence of London. Provision is now made for 70,000 officers and men for the Air Force and Air Estimates for the first time exceed Army Estimates.
Commons Outcry Against Government " Gagging "
Interest was displayed in the House of Commons when the Labour and Liberal Opposition secured the backing of many Conservatives in a vigorous attack upon what was claimed to be an abuse of procedure by the Government, in attacking a money resolution to the Special Areas Bill and thereby stifling amendments. Vigorous criticism of this procedure was expressed by Mr. Lloyd George (Lib.), in a fiery speech, Mr. D. Foot (Lib.), Viscount Wolmer (Cons.) and Captain MacNamara (Cons.). Finally, after a speech by the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General agreed to an eventual inquiry into procedure by a Select Committee.
French Financial Difficulties
After a lengthy Cabinet meeting, the French Government has decided not to resort to fresh devaluation. (The franc has, however, fallen to 107 to the £1. An appeal is shortly to be made for a national defence loan, and meanwhile M. Blum has modified his financial programme. Various economy cuts in expenditure are to be introduced, which will affect public works, advances to local authorities, and improvements to the railways and the Post Office. The Government's programme of expenditure is accordingly to be drastically cut and some disapproval, though mild, has been voiced on the Left. So far the Communists, though critical, have not shown signs of any violent reaction.
Italy to be on War Basis
The Fascist Grand Council has elaborated a plan for the complete militarisation
of Italy on a war-time basis. The programme consists of five points---an armaments increase, an extension of the Corn
missariat for War Manufactures, complete militarisation of the active forces from 18 to 55, economic self-sufficiency. and technical and scientific collaboration to achieve this aim. The Council sent cordial greetings to General Franco and underlined the progress of Italo-German collaboration.
Czech Appeal To Hitler
The Czechoslovak Foreign Minister, Dr. Krofta, speaking to the Czech Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission, made a moving plea to the German Chancellor to stop the anti-Czech campaign in Germany, which has led to such grave tension between the two nations. He emphasised Czechoslovakia's hostility to Communism and that the pact with Russia was purely defensive and within the framework of the League of Nations. Czecho-slovakia intended, he declared, to remain loyal to democracy, and emphasised to what extent Czech, democracy looked to British democracy.
Nazi Attack on England
German Economy, an official Nazi paper, created much feeling both in Germany and elsewhere by a bitter attack upon Great
Britain, declaring that British armaments were directed solely against Germany and that British policy aims at making Germany economically dependent upon the British Empire. England, the paper goes on to say, refuses Germany all colonial concessions, and Germany's answer must inevitably be the strengthening of a Central European bloc destined to escape from the all-embracing British economic yoke.
Hungarian Plot Foiled
Grave fears of a putsch by the Arrow Cross (Nazi) movement, aided by certain Right-wing extreme elements that nominally support the Government, have led to a tense situation in Hungary. The moderate Premier, M. Daranyi, has, however, taken steps to counteract the intense agitation from these quarters., which have started an anti-government campaign among the peasantry in the more poverty-stricken districts, This campaign is said to be financed and inspired mainly from Cicrmany.
Oslo Powers Confer in Holland
The seven signatories of the Oslo Convention calling for closer trading relations with each other and a real effort to return to Free Trade have terminated a conference at The Hague. The countries in question arc Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Finland, Belgium, and Luxemburg. In the official communique issued it was stated that efforts would be made to coordinate the economic policy of these countries and follow up, where possible, the consequences of Dr. Colijn's move for Free Trade. It is possible that some modification of the Oslo Convention may result from this conference.
Spanish Civil War
No great progress has been made during the last week by either side. Fierce fighting has continued to rage in Oviedo, but without appreciable alteration of the position. Fighting has also continued in the Jarama sector of the Madrid front. No movements are reported on the Aragon or Andalusian fronts. It is expected, however. that a large-scale mass attack is shortly to be launched upon Madrid again.
Despite the application of the measures of the Non-Intervention Committee, violation of these measures still appears to be occurring. Mass landings of Italian volunteers are reported from Cadiz and Russian material also appears to have been landed. Meanwhile the naval control scheme has come into operation and Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain are each guarding, a zone. France and Great Britain are controlling the Atlantic zone, France the Moroccan zone, Great Britain the Mediterranean zone as far as Malaga, and the remainder of the Mediterranean zone is divided between Germany and Italy. British observers are watching the Portuguese frontiers,
Raw Materials Conference at Geneva
Sixteen countries have sent delegates to the committee appointed to examine the
position as regards raw materials. Germany and Italy were invited to do so. but
have refused. Sir Frederick Leith-Ross, the chief British delegate, opened the discussion and stated that transfer even of large territories would not affect this problem. He considered that the crux of the problem lay in currency, quota and trading restrictions, and emphasised that many of the countries now calling for a better distribution of colonies and raw materials were largely to blame for their own legislation strangling international trade.