By G. J. BRIDGE
In last week's issue, Catholic Conservative and Labour candidates in the General Eketion expressed their political views. This week a Catholic Liberal outlines what his party offers to the Catholic elector.
THERE is far too much -I. voting for parties these days—far too little em
phasis on the character and principles of the individual candidate. This is very important where the Liberals are concerned.
We are not likely to he ahle to form a Government after the election, hut the presence in the House of Commons of 50 Liberals could he the controlling factor in the conduct of State affairs over the next five years. If the other two parties remained fairly evenly halanced, Liberal votes would be decisive.
tlut whereas on, say. a nationalisation issue where opposition would he of the essence of Liberalism. the Liberals would vote together under the Whip, in a matter like financial aid for the denominational schools they would he free to vote according to their individual consciences. And no Liberal has ever opposed the claims of the Church schools yet.
Freedom of thought and religion is a fundamental tenet of Liberalism. The other parties have never wholly supported it.
1 he three party system may, in fact, he summarised as a safety valve for democracy.
VOTE FOR THE MAN WHAT could he more repugnant to the Catholic conscience than the indiscriminate application of the Whip as practised in the Labour Party and. to a somewhat lesser extent, the Conservative Party ?
Under this discipline Members of Parliament are bound to vote for numerous policies whether they he in sympathy with them or not.
The Liberal Whip is far less frequently applied—and never in a moral issue. For instance : Catholics of all parties would want to support amending legis
Winn to give to section 76 of the Education Act real force and meaning -some real protection for the wishes of parents in the education of their children—but a Catholic Liberal M.P. would stand the best chance of being able to do so.
He would never he stopped by his party Whip. A Tory or a Labour man might well be.
PEACE WITH TRADE ANY Liberal must by definition maintain a firm and constant opposition to Communism. But we must face realities. The Communist Government in China is there. and well-estahlished. There arc twice as many people with Chinese for their native tongue as there are English speaking people.
Therefore I advocate the inclusion of China in the United Nations for the purposes of legitimate co-existence.
The chinese are not naturally
warlike. In my view, neither
Russia nor China want war.
Their Governments are not conditioning their countries'
public opinion for it. But if somebody does make a false move, those two countries, numerically, will leave the rest of the world standing.
And it is absurd to say that in nuclear warfare numbers do not count. To make and drop one atom bomb calls for 20,000 men.
Maintain peace. not on the basis Iii strength and fear, but of economics. as one step towards the position for which the Holy Father prays—the identity of outlook based on Christian principle.
TN the intensification of trade relations between ourselves and the Communist countries the Liberal doctrine of Free Trade would be of immense advantage.
Freer exchange of people and goods would lead towards the Liberal ideal of world Government. A dream ? Perhaps. But the present position is a nightmare. The Labour alternative is world socialism—with its inevitable dangers of universal deification of State and '' society."
English Liberals correspond closely in many respects to the European Catholic parties. The Tories correspond to nothing abroad at all. Many Europeans would really like to see a Liberal Government here—and so would Australia which at present has one of its own.
SOCIAL PRINCIPLES REMEMBER that the social teachings of the Popes, including things like co-partnership in industry, are essential to British Liberalism. And it was the Liberals who gave us pensions. encouraged the trade unions. gave us a Beveridge, and in fact laid the foundations for the social services introduced by Labour, Finally, delegated legislation— the vast powers of individual Ministers to make laws and regulations dictatorially — is anathema to Liberalism. In theory it is anathema to Conservatives, hut they have done little to reduce it. This constitutes the most grievous threat to British democracy.
And with it. Liberals would substantially reduce the power of Whitehall to interfere in local affairs and the work of local authorities.