Page 5, 20th March 1964

20th March 1964
Page 5
Page 5, 20th March 1964 — IN MY VIEW

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People: Alec Douglas, Brodie
Locations: Exeter, Delhi


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Is Britain a grandma' in her dotage?

I WAS in the West Country last week when Sir Alec Douglas Home had to cancel his tour there in order to attend to the Cyprus dispute. Inevitably, there was a certain amount of disappointment among law-abiding and peaceful West Country. men when they learned that their claims had been subordinated to those of some unruly Cypriots. The only positive result of Sir Alec's interest in the Cyprus scene so far seems to have been that his portrait was solemnly burned by Greek Orthodox priests. Another outrage occurred jn Delhi last week when demonstrative socialists chipped the nose and ears off a statue of Lord Halifax, afterwards covering it with tar.

No doubt these vicarious expressions of are as harmless as they are undeserved. The burning of our embassy in Cambodia last week was slightly worse, of course, but the British embassy in Indonesia is busily rebuilding after being burned down a few months ago.

Perhaps it is part of our maturity as a nation that we do not seem to resent any of these offensive gestures. Certainly. I have seen no reports that Archbishop Makarios was publicly burned in effigy by the clergymen of Exeter. But our acceptance of this state of affairs surely suggests also acceptance of the fact that we are an adult nation in a world of near children.

The only other interpretations would be that we are a righteous nation in a world of delinquents, or a sane one in a world of maniacs, neither of which. I fancy, would find much support among our policy-makers or foreign affairs experts.

And if we arc to be an adult nation in a world of nearchildren, shouldn't we be concerning ourselves to bring them up? Instead, we fulfil our obligations by increasing their pocket money and giving them dangerous toys to play with. It seems to me .we do not play the part of a mother to these young countries so much as that of a foolish old grandmother in her dotage.

THE ENGLISH HIERARCHY looks forward to a return to the Council of Christians and Jews at an interesting time, when the Jews are themselves split into "liberal" and "orthodox" factions to much the same extent that Christianity has been for ages, and at a time when wishful thinkers are even trying to see a division on these lines inside the Catholic Church.

I have not read the work of Rabbi Jacobs, leader of the "liberal" wing, but they have been compared by those who wish to present them in their most favourable light with the work of the Anglican Bishop of Woolwich. Dr. Brodie, leader of the "orthodox" wing, is a man whose humanity and learning are already well known.

It is tragic that this religion, with which we share a common ancestry, should now suffer martyrdom to the divisions that rend the world, which represent, basically, no more than the known fact that every boy and every girl born into this world alive is either a little Liberal or lelse a little Conservative.

The broadest kind of ecumenicism 1 can envisage is one that embraces both conservatives and liberals. But the division between the man who instinctively sides with the cops and the one who instinctively sides with the robbers, is deeper, I think. than any doctrine on the divinity of Christ and the validity of Anglican Holy Orders.

IF MR. HEATH has to resign over his advocacy of resale price maintenance abolition it will signify the end to any claim the Conservative Party may ever have had to be the party of modernisation. If they go to the country as the party of incompetent small shop-keepers and idle, over-protected industries, all championed under the heading of "traditional values", I do not suppose it will make much difference to their chances.

But it would also be the end of the Conservative party as a body in which any thinking man could believe, Modernisation is inevitable in a healthy society. Government by party should offer a choice of the lines on which we are going to develop.

To those who do not equate social justice with Marxist theory It is plain that Man is a competitive animal. While a socialist government tries to deny the forces of competition, a Conservative government should try to harness them to serve the common good. With an enormous majority, the present Government could have countenanced any amount of revolt among its muddle-headed supporters if it had any idea of the direction in which it wanted to go.

Yet Conservatives do not seem to believe in capitalism any more than they believe in socialism or anything else. By continuing to exact surtax on investment income over £2,000 they riot only discourage investment but make it seem somehow disreputable.

I have never owned a stock or share in my life and probably never would not know even how to set about acquiring one. But if I suddenly found £100,000 in my Christmas stocking, I should certainly spend it, perhaps buying some pictures for my children. There would be no point in paying 15s. hd. in the pound on whatever it produced, and I am quite happy the way I am, but how on earth would the economy prosper as a result?

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